Posts tagged ‘stupid candidate tricks’

Helicopter Parent 101

Interviewer: "Would you say you're independent?" Me: *Looks at mom* Mom: *nods* Me: "I'd say so – Yes."


14 June 2016 at 12:17AM Leave a comment

Sam Shank: The 5 People You Should Never Hire

All Five Marx Brothers

All five Marx Brothers: Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Zeppo & Gummo.

CEO Sam Shank is hiring for his company, HotelTonight. In the spirit of NotJobs, Sam penned an article for the LinkedIn series How I Hire which he titled, “The 5 People You Should Never Hire.” Regular NotJobs readers (and our lone subscriber) shouldn’t be surprised at his list of the untouchables:

  1. The One Who Hasn’t Used Your Product
  2. The One With the Typo
  3. The One With the Out-of-Date LinkedIn Profile
  4. The One Who’s Inappropriate on Twitter
  5. The One Who Isn’t Motivated to Do Great Things

Shank has a good idea of what he IS looking for, which includes enthusiasm, passion, energy, pragmatism, intelligence, and thoughtfulness. Those are the qualities that will make his enterprise grow.

The entire article (which is highly recommended) is here:

5 October 2013 at 12:29AM Leave a comment

How Not to Get a Job as a First Round NFL Draft Pick

CareerBuilder asked hiring managers about frequent mistakes that will destroy a candidate’s chance at employment, and 60% cited answering a call or texting during an interview as one of the biggest deal breakers. Sixty-two percent said one of the most detrimental mistakes a candidate can make is appearing uninterested.

— Forbes: The 13 Most Outrageous Job Interview Mistakes

wvu HelmetEugene Cyril “Geno” Smith III had leveraged his experience with the West Virginia Mountaineers football team into a shot as a first round pick in the 2013 National Football League Draft. However, Geno Smith did not get picked in the first round. During his visits to potential employers, he ensured that he would not get the job.

helmet1-jetsMuch of the pre-draft buzz was around how Smith would be the first quarterback taken in the first round. Smith was drafted in the second round by the New York Jets, the 39th pick overall. The first quarterback in the draft was E.J. Manuel, taken 23 picks earlier by the Buffalo Bills as the 16th pick in Round 1.

On YahooSports, Jason Cole describes what might have changed the front office’s perceptions of Smith:

Two sources indicated that when Smith went on some visits to teams, rather than interact with coaches and front-office people, he would spend much of his time on his cell phone. Instead of being engaged with team officials, he would be texting friends or reading Twitter or a number of other distracting activities.

“All these other players who were in there were talking to the coaches, trying to get to know people and he was over there by himself,” one of the sources said. “That’s not what you want out of your quarterback.”

One must wonder if any text message is worth losing a millions of dollars to read. First round picks get salary/bonus contracts that average around $12M. Contracts for second round picks average between $2M and $800K.

Smith is a member of the Millennial generation – the most technologically connected generation on Earth. However, both Careerbuilder and Jason Cole show us that some Millennials have trouble knowing when to connect through social media, and knowing when to focus on the real live people in the room.

Is it smart to let your smart phone cost you the job?

3 May 2013 at 7:55AM Leave a comment

NotJobs: When you make an unforgetable first impression

Yes – I know recruiters who have had to get restraining orders on candidates.

24 April 2013 at 12:10AM Leave a comment

Remember: Beware the Receptionist Test

The most popular post on this blog is one from 2008 about how candidates fail the Receptionist Test. It happens all the time.

The Receptionist Test is an unexpected assessment of how the candidate deals with ordinary staff during the interview. It is effective because it is unexpected. The key point to remember about the Receptionist Test is:

…your interview starts as soon as you enter the building. Companies can (and will) use every means to make sure that  you are the best qualified person for the role.

On his great blog about leadership, thoughtLEADERS, Mike Figliuolo confirms a time when a “sure thing” candidate failed the Receptionist Test:

When I was a consultant, we regularly interviewed a slew of candidates on Fridays. The first person they met was the receptionist. From there, they’d interview with eight or nine of us and we’d hold a “consensus meeting” at the end of the day to determine if we were going to make a job offer.

One exceptional candidate (let’s call him “Bill”) did an amazing job in all eight of his interviews. He was brilliant, charming, and energetic. All of us were excited about him as we entered the consensus meeting. Some of us were already fighting over who would get him on their team first. As we discussed his glowing performance, it was abundantly clear we’d be making him an offer. We prepared to close the discussion and asked “Does anyone else have anything to offer on Bill?”

“I do.”

“Go ahead.” said the meeting moderator.

“When he came in, I was on the phone. He tapped his pen impatiently on my desk indicating I should stop talking on the phone and help him. I asked my caller, who happened to be the office director, to wait a moment. The conversation then went like this:”

“Can I help you?”

“Yeah. I’m here to interview. Don’t you know who I am?”

“I’m sorry sir. I don’t.”

“Geez. Look in your paperwork. Bill. Bill Farfegnugen. Isn’t it your job to receive guests properly?”

“Yes. Please have a seat. They’ll be with you shortly.”

“Aren’t you going to take my coat and get me a cup of coffee?”

“Sure. I’d be happy to. Cream and sugar?”


“After I got him his coffee, I showed him to his first interview. I’m sorry but I simply can’t see this guy in front of our clients. I can’t recall the last time someone was that rude to me.”

Needless to say, Bill didn’t get a job offer. He probably wonders why not to this very day because he knew he smoked his interviews. Hey Bill – news flash – she’s not just a receptionist… Her name is Lois and she takes really good care of the people around her. Had you done the same, you might have gotten the job.

Read the entire posting here:
Also – see the original Receptionist Test post:

23 April 2011 at 12:29PM 1 comment

NotJobs: Little Bear, Big Sky

Clare Cady at Little Bear, Big Sky has post about How Not to Get a Job. First, she lists her hiring credentials:

i can’t put a number on the amount of interviews i’ve done in these 9 years, but i’d wager its well into the high hundreds.

Cady then lists some wisdom based on some of her interview encounters. Here are a few of them (capitalization per the original):

  • though its nice that you have hobbies, i don’t think that ‘adult magazine collector’ is something you want to advertise to your future employer – unless you are applying to work for larry flint. i am not larry flint – i am less lecherous and female.
  • i also don’t recommend including history about your past lives in your cover letter. it’s great that you were a medicine woman two lives ago, but i think things have changed a bit since then.
  • bursting into tears in a phone interview because i gave you some constructive feedback does not bode well for your ability to take direction.
  • i do not recommend printing your resume and cover letter in rainbow font. it does not make you look creative and outside the box. it makes you look like a crazed LSD freak.
  • please do not include the names of your kids in your cover letter. its nice you are a parent, but jimmy, joey, johnny, joshie and susan are not coming to work with me. i can learn about them later as i am sure you are going to come in with three cardboard boxes filled with pictures, art projects, and their baby scrapbooks.
  • coming to an interview stoned and smelling of pot is a great way to get a job at a head shop. btw – i would never work at a head shop.
  • punctuation, is nice only, when; put in the right – places.
  • when i interview you on the phone, i don’t appreciate it if you ask me what i am wearing. though in this situation the person was not trying to come on to me, it was still creepy.
  • when writing a cover letter please AVOID highlighting things using ALL CAPS. i don’t like it when people shout at me even in print.
  • if you must put a picture on your resume please do not make it one of you in a bathing suit.

See the whole article here:

2 September 2010 at 8:54PM Leave a comment

Tip: Beware the Receptionist Test

So – you finally find the office building where your interview is going to be held. You’re interested in the company and the position, and truth be told, you really need this job. You’re a computer professional, and you want to make a great impression on your future employer.

Once you show up, you’re ready to start selling yourself, but you’re asked to wait. While you’re waiting, the receptionist has a minor tech support emergency, and she asks you for some technical help. You stand up to help the damsel in distress. But that’s when it starts going downhill.

A company in England does this as an interview test. It doesn’t go well for the candidates. Here’s one poor toad’s experience:

John was a lot less level-headed. His task should’ve been the simplest of all — the receptionist couldn’t print a document. Totally understandable when the printer is turned off and all of the lights on its display were totally dark. First, he hit Control+P, selected the printer, and clicked “OK,” and confirmed it wasn’t working. His solution? Hit Control+P harder to make sure the printer really felt it. For 20 minutes, he kept increasing the force of his typing and mouse clicks, finally pounding his fist on the desk and giving up.

John probably didn’t get the job.

One big point to remember is that your interview starts as soon as you enter the building. Companies can (and will) use every means to make sure that  you are the best qualified person for the role.

For more on avoiding the Receptionist Test, start with Jake Vinson’s article in Tales from the Interview. Then check out the commentary by Andy Lester at the Working Geek. Then, you may want to finish off by reviewing my second post on this topic:

Good luck!

14 November 2008 at 12:41AM 3 comments

Older Posts

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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