A Step-by-step guide to assist job seekers in their job search effort.. Content Overview: Assessing yourself…
6 things that are killing your job search
Much of one’s success in landing a job rests on not scaring recruiters away. After all, the job of a recruiter is to single out only the strongest candidates for the role … and to eliminate the rest.
If you’re deep into a job search and have found that you’re only getting so far into the process before being eliminated, there’s a chance you’re being ghosted by recruiters. If you’re worried that you may be making the same mistake over and over again, our tips can help train you not to frighten off those who have the power to hire you.
Below, we review common reasons that recruiters might be ghosting you and how you can avoid scaring them off:
1. Creepy cold calling and unwanted follow-up
It’s best to leave the haunting to the ghosts. Recruiters are busy enough with a constant stream of emails, voicemails and applications. Making unsolicited contact is not only often unnecessary, but inconsiderate.
Experienced recruiter and founder of DGK Search David Nicola says his biggest hiring pet peeve is when job seekers contact him in hopes that they’ll find them a job. “That is the exact opposite of what recruiters do,” says Nicola. “Recruiters don’t find jobs for people, they find people for jobs.”
Even if you’re a high-powered, C-level executive, recruiters are likely to be put off by such overly-presumptive correspondence. Jodie Lane, senior talent acquisition advisor at AMD, says that while hopefuls might simply be doing their due diligence in reaching out to her unprompted, it’s common for them to not articulate what they’re looking for.
“I can’t make these assumptions. You’re contacting me. Tell me a little bit about what your next step is and how you see yourself adding value [to a company],” she says.
Cold calls should only be made to recruiters if you’re sure you have something unique or valuable to offer, or if specifically requested via LinkedIn or via email. And it doesn’t matter if a recruiter previously reached out to you; too much unprompted follow-up can suggest you’re impatient or desperate, either of which can be dreadful for your job search.
2. No tricks — treat recruiters with the truth
Don’t doom your chances of getting hired by lying. Job seekers are safer assuming employers will always fully vet applicants. If a recruiter or hiring manager asks for references, understand they intend to directly contact those referred. These previous colleagues, supervisors or mentors need to be able to vouch for your resume’s claims, so don’t risk being found out if you’re tempted to stretch the truth. Naturally, this principle extends to criminal background checks as well.
In general, don’t be tempted to tout skills or experience you don’t actually have, even if it doesn’t feel like that much of a stretch. “If you’re adding in technologies that you’ve been exposed to because your team sat next to a team that worked with those technologies, don’t put them on your resume,” says Lane. Nicola agrees, citing a particularly severe example.
While recruiting at a major tech company, he remembers one candidate in particular who couldn’t back up his resume’s claims. Even after passing a preliminary technical test from home, the candidate couldn’t demonstrate a mastery of the skills he purportedly possessed.
“He just bombed,” says Nicola. “In the onsite, he kept being evasive, and kept trying to look up stuff. The recruiter caught him red-handed. He got blacklisted, which means he is never to be considered for any role at that organization ever again.”
In short, truthfulness is always the best policy when working with recruiters. Every technical skill, every job responsibility, and anything on your resume a previous employer or associate could verify should be legitimate, even if you want to bury a particularly hair-raising part of your career’s past.
3. Spine-chilling sloppiness in your application materials
Believe it or not, most recruiters take roughly six seconds to look over a resume for the first time. That’s quite a short window in which to make a first impression, so obvious mistakes like typos and grammatical errors can dig your grave nearly instantly. A cluttered resume packed with too many unrelated details, or that extends to more than a single page, can also earn an early “no” when pit against competing resumes that appear average at first glance.
If a hiring manager makes it as far as your cover letter, simple mistakes can spell premature rejection there too. Beyond just spelling and punctuation, obvious mistakes like addressing the letter to the wrong company or individual can be unsettlingly easy to make. Errors aside, if your cover letter simply recycles what’s written on your resume, repeated language can be a sign an applicant is stretching the relevance of their qualifications a bit too thinly.
4. Put your eyeballs on your email address
Before you begin your job search, think about your email address and voicemail message to make sure they won’t be what sinks your job search.
Few things put a nail in a job opportunity’s coffin like reaching out to recruiters from an unprofessional email address. Avoid anything that could be deemed provocative, political or overly casual. If your email is through an older or defunct service provider (like AOL or Netscape), consider changing to a more modern provider, like Gmail.
If you miss a hiring-related phone call, your voicemail settings must be up to snuff. Anything rude or too joking could make them reconsider you as a candidate and leave your job search dead in the water. Keep in mind this is likely the first time they would hear your voice so speak clearly and state your name and telephone number.
“The worst voicemail message I ever heard was three seconds long,” says Nicola. “All it said was ‘Hey, what’s up?’ Click.”
If you make it beyond these stages, remember to also consider the way to dress for your interview. Every workplace has different standards when it comes to what employees wear, but it’s important to never under-dress. Wearing nice clothes than is needed might be embarrassing, but showing you don’t care enough to meet the bare minimum formality-wise means you might as well say R.I.P. to your chances of being hired.
5. Lurk online to learn about employers
Of course, the best way to learn about the culture of a company is to dedicate the time to doing research beforehand. Employee reviews from sites like Glassdoor, as well as in-office images and information gleaned from company sites, can go a long way in preparing you for your first one-on-one recruiter interaction.
Above all, make sure you care enough to learn what the company to which you’re applying actually does. It’s shockingly common for applicants to draw a blank when interviewers ask what they know about their company, so remember that this question is never posed just for the sake of small talk. Employers want to know you’re invested enough to take the role seriously.
“Thirty minutes, maybe. If that,” says Lane about how much time to invest in pre-interview research. “If you can’t do that, then why are you interviewing?”
6. Avoid an attack of the career-killer robots
Finally, your candidacy will be dead in the water if a recruiter never sees your resume in the first place. Many mid-to-larger-sized companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to preliminarily sort out unqualified candidates and highlight those who might be great fits. They achieve this by scanning resumes for keywords and phrases, then sorting them according to relevance to the job ad.