Every day I see candidates shoot themselves in the foot by making silly mistakes. Landing a job is hard in itself; the last thing you want to do is make the wrong impression. Avoid these top five pitfalls and you will be well on your way to landing that next job.

  1. Applying for jobs that you aren’t qualified for. Plain and simple, if you don’t meet the minimum qualifications on the job description, don’t apply—you are wasting your time. Instead, spend that time focusing on a few select positions for which you are qualified and go the extra mile by creating a customized cover letter and resume for the job and even networking with the decision makers via social media if possible.
  2. Not responding in a timely manner. The entire application process is an evaluation of the candidate, not just the interview. If you are contacted for a job you should return the call or email within 24 hours. With modern technology we’re always connected and there’s no reason you should delay.  Not responding in a timely manner sends a message to the company that you aren’t interested and could cost you an interview.
  3. Being dishonest. I’ve never understood why someone would fail to list background issues on their application—as if we weren’t going to check! If you have anything on your background, no matter how small, just list it on the application if asked. As long as the issue is not disqualifying you can still be hired. However, if you don’t list the background issues you automatically disqualify yourself based on lies of omission—even if the issue is not disqualifying.
  4. Being disrespectful. These days most companies involve numerous people in the hiring process. You never know who you will be talking to and what that interaction might mean so be respectful to everyone. I recently had to rescind an offer to a candidate a couple of days before their start date because they were treating a staff member disrespectfully during the on-boarding process. Some recruiters even check in with the receptionist to see how you interacted with him or her before your interview.  Be mindful that eyes are on you from the moment you walk through the door for your interview.
  5. Stalker calling. There is nothing wrong with checking on the status of your application—I actually encourage it to ensure you get noticed. There is however, a point in which you can check in too often. Not only does this signal desperation but it is simply unnecessary. As soon as the company is ready to move forward they will provide you with an update. I remember one candidate who called me 20+ times while I was out to lunch! This shows a lack of professionalism and is reason for immediate disqualification. Recruiters are looking to fill positions as quickly as possible. Understand that the recruiter will be in touch with you as soon they know how the hiring manager wants to proceed.

Bottom line, these tips won’t guarantee you a job but they will definitely help prevent you from eliminating yourself. Take it from a Recruiter; it’s the little things that separate a good candidate from a good hire.

About the Author
Kevin White works as a recruiter for Florida Hospital in Orlando, FL. He has worked in various recruiting positions over the years. He holds a B.S. in Finance from the University of Florida and his specialties include finance, business, management, HR, recruiting and staffing.