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Home > Blog: Interviews > Unforgivable Job Search Mistakes

Unforgivable Job Search Mistakes

Tell the Truth, Pay Attention, Be NiceAsk a group of HR people and hiring managers what drives them nuts about job candidates' behavior, and their answers will be amazingly similar. Candidates regularly show up late, dress inappropriately, and use unprofessional email addresses. But most hiring professionals, while admitting to personal preferences and pet peeves, are far more interested in finding the right person for the job than rejecting a candidate for a single mistake.

Kerry over at Clue Wagon posted a great article about candidate deal breakers last week. Bottom line: Don't agonize if you made one little boo-boo—we're all human. Just know that certain big, bad behaviors are show stoppers that hiring managers have trouble overlooking. Here are three of them:

  • Putting the wrong company name in your cover letter
    Writing hear instead of here in your cover letter may elicit an eye roll, but it probably won't destroy your chance of getting hired. However, if you're applying to Smith Co. and your cover letter talks about how eager you are to work for Jones Co., you've just told your prospective employer, "I will probably embarrass you on the job because I don't pay attention to detail and I make stupid mistakes."
  • Lying
    This one's pretty obvious. If you lie on your resume or in your interview about your education, your experience, your skills, or your credentials, you'll be rejected as soon as they find out. If you've got negative information to explain, be brief and truthful.
  • Being rude or disrespectful to others
    This doesn't refer to just your interviewers. You'll be judged on how you treat the parking attendant, security personnel, receptionist, administrative staff, and anyone else you encounter. Good hiring managers always seek feedback from their support staff about a prospective new hire. And even if they don't, the office grapevine will ensure the news of your bad behavior gets relayed.

I could go on and on about other ways job candidates sabotage their own efforts, but the whole concept is really as simple as mother always said: Pay attention, tell the truth, and be nice.

What other bad job seeker behaviors have you heard of or perpetrated?  Please share your story by posting a comment below.

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