WaPo: Candidates Making the Wrong Impression

3 February 2011 at 4:09AM Leave a comment

Washington Post Staff Writer Michelle Singletary has a NotJobs worthy article titled, “Job candidates who made a strong impression, but the wrong impression.” Singletary’s article details the results of nationwide survey of hiring managers conducted by CareerBuilder. The article definitely provokes a “what were they thinking” response.

According to the survey, here are a few things that job candidates did (see the article for the full list):

  • Provided a detailed listing of how a previous employer made him mad. The positive spin: The person won’t be afraid to speak up to improve the work environment.
  • Answered every question only after referring to a detailed binder of notes. The positive spin: Won’t make a move without doing a lot of research.
  • Arrived for the interview accompanied by a parent. The positive spin: The woman didn’t want to be late and her mother is always on time.

Interestingly – we had this last one happen today. (It was a test, not an interview, but Mom was there.)

Singletary continues:

CareerBuilder asked hiring managers what they consider to be the most common interview mistakes:

  • 71 percent said answering a cellphone or texting during the interview. I have no positive spin on this. It’s insanely rude, and I would end the interview immediately. One hiring manager said a candidate walked into the interview session texting.
  • 69 percent said dressing inappropriately.
  • 69 percent don’t like it when an applicant appears bored.
  • 66 percent said appearing arrogant.
  • 63 percent would rather you didn’t talk negatively about a current or previous employer.
  • 59 percent said chewing gum.

“The goal of any interview is to stand out from the other candidates and ultimately land the job, but make sure you stand out for the right reasons,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder. “Even though the job-search process can be frustrating, candidates should stay positive, focus on their strengths and be prepared on how to best sell their skill set.”


See the whole article here:


Entry filed under: Interviewing, NotJobs. Tags: , .

Jobs in Retail, Food, Airlines, and Services Amusing Candidate Summary

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My Core Ideas

1. "I can't tell you the best way to get a job - because there is no one best way. After 21 years of recruiting, I CAN share things I've seen candidates do to guarantee they DIDN'T get the job."

2. "Most companies don't realize how their recruiting process impacts their candidate pool, and their business. Attention to simple things will result in big improvements."

About the Author

Troy Bettinger, SPHR is a Denver Recruiter, Public Speaker, HR Metrics Analyst and Human Resources Leader who has been recruiting in corporate and municipal environments since 1991.

He specializes in the complete hiring process: defining, sourcing, recruiting, testing, interviewing, offering and orienting new hires. He's also well versed in strategic human resources, college recruiting, diversity recruiting, AAP, EEO, ATS integration, recruiting metrics, social media, recruiting leadership, training and employment branding.


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