Why you didn’t get the job: Errors hiring managers look for
Posted by mandyf on May 19, 2012
You seem to be qualified for the job, and maybe you thought you even had a great interview, yet in the end things just didn’t work out. You get prepared to pick up the phone and hear you got the job but just the opposite happened. It is possible there was a better applicant that blew the hiring manager away, or the other possibility is you may have committed what hiring managers surveyed cited as one of the seven deadly sins of the application process.
The seven sins managers cite are all common sense things that most people have done to some degree during their working career. Sometimes committing one of these these mistakes are offset by everything else being superb, but usually for the middle of the road applicant these are the end of the process. With jobs tighter than they have been in years, take a few seconds to see if you have made any of these mistakes so that you can increase you odds of landing the next gig you apply for.
Go easy on the exaggeration of your skills and accomplishments. Hiring managers expect you to dress things up a bit, but outright obvious exaggeration will get you nowhere. If what you did was help update your last companies payroll system say just that, don’t embellish by saying things like you revolutionized the payroll system, or that you were a trusted and integral part of the company. If you were that great and integral you would still be there. When you over-exaggerate it is like telling the hiring manager they don’t know enough to spot a fib when they see one and that is not going to ingratiate you to them.
Don’t give out too much information about yourself at the interview, just what they are asking for. It isn’t necessary for them to know that you have to be out at 5:00 on the nose everyday because you have to get your kids from daycare by 5:20 to beat the traffic and have dinner on by 6:30. If the hiring manager decides you are those most qualified applicant and person they want such things can be worked out when you are negotiating the terms of acceptance. The more you open your mouth the more potential reasons you provide a hiring manager to pass on you.
Pay attention to the details of your resume. Hiring managers that were polled stated instant refusals result for anyone that turns in cover letters that have the wrong position cited as applying for, misspelled company names, out of whack dates, and typos and grammar errors as all being immediate red flags that will land you on the reject pile. Mistakes like that tell a hiring manager right away that you don’t pay attention or that you don’t care enough to take the time to do something that is designed to benefit you correctly. If you don’t care enough to do a good job on something for yourself, how good of a job will you do for someone else?
Don’t treat the hiring manager like s/he is your buddy. Sure you might be the same age and you may notice something on their desk or wall which indicates you have a common interest, but that doesn’t mean you should treat the encounter with them as if you were hanging out at a club. Keep the interview strictly business. When the interview is complete it is then okay to make a very brief mention that you noticed whatever it is you thought may be a common interest, but don’t push the matter. If they choose to engage you on it after that point, then it is okay to talk about it with them. Be careful though, they also say people that bring such things up only to be caught knowing nothing about auto racing, a location a photo may be from, or whatever it is earn a special place in hiring manager hell.
Under no circumstances should you ever convey that you assume you have the job. Your cousin Jim may have told you the job is in the bag, but if he was really that powerful you wouldn’t need to interview. Go into the interview with a professional posture and show that you are legitimately competing for the job and ready to prove your worth. The stench of entitlement is ripe and many hiring managers live to take such people down a peg every chance they get. Don’t get caught in this trap, arrogance will kill your job hopes as quick as a bullet.
Don’t try to prove how smart you are by using every big word you can think of when creating your resume or answering interview questions. Talk to the hiring manager in intelligent but simple terms. Let your accolades, experience, and education stand on their own. When an applicant goes overboard with the thesaurus it gives the impression that you feel inadequate or are trying to hide something that you may be weak in. It is a smokescreen and it doesn’t work.
Finally keep your online information up to date and make sure it is appropriate. Not too many people think of this, but these days almost every employer with a human resources department, (And more small ones without than you would think) have turned to Google to get a fuller picture of applicants. If you direct them to an online resume make sure it is up to date and accessible. As for the rest of your online activities, ask yourself if seeing a picture of you doing beer bong hits at spring break is something you would bring to an interview, or if your blog detailing all of your personal drama issues seems like something positive. If not, do what you have to in order to keep them off the radar or lose them.
Hiring managers are a front line defense and their job is to find any reason that you are not suited for the job you are applying for. Don’t help them do their job, keep it professional and clean and let your record speak for itself. By knowing what and how a hiring manager looks to weed people out, hopefully you’ll stay out of the rejection pile.