How Bad Is It To.....
We all make mistakes. However, there are degrees of mistakes, some very bad, some, well, not so bad. Here are 5 scenarios that might sound familiar to you:
How bad is it to......
1. Agree to a phone interview with a staffing organization recruiter and ghost or stand them up. Recruiters are professionals. They take the time to answer your application. They set aside time in their very busy schedule that could have gone to someone else. Recruiters can be your best friend because not only do they know where the jobs are, they have intimate details of the firm that you would never know by answering an ad on a job board. They may even have other jobs available that you don't know about.
Once you stand them up, they put you down in their file as a "no show" and move on to the next candidate. It is really rude and frankly, unprofessional, not to even shoot the recruiter a one-line email and in the re line say you can't make it. That way, you remain friends and the recruiter can book their very valuable time with someone who does want the interview. You wouldn't stand up an employer, would you? Of course not! Why would you stand up the gatekeeper to the employer? What happens? Usually, after some time goes by, the candidate forgets that they stood that recruiter up and applies for their dream job with the same agency. The result? They are very definitely rejected.
How bad is it: Really, really bad.
2. Your resume does not look that great. Yet, you refuse to change it, acknowledge it isn't the greatest or have someone else review it. You use Times Roman font (outdated). You use the wrong grammar i.e., in past jobs. You say, "Drafts documents" instead of the past tense, "Drafted documents". (Employers bounce resumes for that reason. You don't know how to write.) You are not specific to the job description posted. You keep sending out the resume with little or no results and claim "age discrimination" or some such thing. You go back 30 years when you only need to go back 10 years.
How bad is it: Really bad.
3. You leave off your email or your phone number on your resume. Seriously??? You say that you are getting too many spam calls. You forgot to put it on. Or, you leave off your email and say you don't want to reveal it to strangers or that you get too many emails. I am curious. How do you expect potential employers to reach you? Sometimes, they book an interview with you and only afterwards, realize there is no phone number on the resume. It's annoying and makes you look unprepared. You are viewed as not detail oriented or, well, making a dumb mistake. (Honestly) They simply pass.
How bad is it: Really bad.
3. In an effort to adhere to the "one page" resume rule, you squeeze everything in or leave out important information. Look. You need to sell yourself. You need to get past the gatekeeper. It's absolutely true that potential employers can spend less than 15 seconds perusing your resume seeking salient points. Two pages is perfectly ok. Three or four is not. It's better to have a good looking resume than one that is crowded or leaves off important information.
How bad is it: Kinda bad.
4. You just had a phone or face-to-face interview and you fail to send a thank-you email. I cannot emphasize how important the thank-you email is. First, it shows professionalism. Second, it reminds the potential employer of you and it is one more reason to get in front of them. Third, employers review the thank-you email and make assessments as to your writing ability along with your desire for the position.
The first paragraph thanks the employer for taking the time to meet with you. The second paragraph and most important, ties in something that was said in the interview that ties in with your skills. It shows that you were listening and reminds the employer of why you are qualified for the position. The third paragraph talks about looking forward to moving to the next step. Try not to use standard thank you's that everyone writes. Be original. It shows that you are well above the average candidate.
How bad is it? Sorta bad.
5. You have no questions to ask the interviewer after the interview. The interviewer ends your talk and asks you if you have any questions. Now is the time to show off that you are highly interested. Don't say, "No, you've pretty much covered everything." Have two questions to ask about the job. Be sure not to ask what are the benefits, bonus and salary. Not the right time. Answering, “No, I have no questions” could signal to an interviewer that you lack enthusiasm, thoughtfulness, and an understanding of everything discussed in the interview.
The first rule is never ask anything already covered. Listen carefully the entire way through your interview because if you ask something already expressed, it’ll seem like you weren’t listening. If you need something explained further, ask: “I’d like to revisit this point … can you elaborate on this for me?”
You might say:
- ""I am very interested in this position and am confident I am qualified. Can you tell me if I am the type of candidate you are seeking?" The idea here is to find out what objections the interviewer might have. Finding out on the spot gives you a chance to explain further or more solidly clear up any doubts the interviewer might have instead of having them stew over it and send a rejection letter.
- "How has this position changed over the years?"
- "Is there anything that I haven't explained adequately that you would like to address?"
Here is a great article to help prepare you: 14 Impressive Questions to Answer at the End of the Interview
How bad is it? Pretty bad.
There are always things we could do better. However, these common mistakes can be avoided and you can spend a lot less time agonizing over why you didn't get an offer. Always take the path to success. Don't be resistant to trying new techniques. With the coming down economy, you may find yourself on the job market. (Hopefully, not.) Beat the competition and land the job you want. You'll be glad you did.
Chere Estrin is the CEO of Estrin Legal Staffing, a top staffing organization in California. She is also the President of the Organization of Legal Professionals and the Paralegal Knowledge Institute. Chere has written 10 books on legal careers, hundreds of articles and has been written up in publications such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Trib, Newsweek, Entrepreneur and others. Chere is a recipient of the Los Angeles/Century City Women of Achievement Award and a finalist for the Inc. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year award. She is a former administrator in an AmLaw 100 firm and Sr. Vice President in a $5 billion company. She can be reached on Sundays from 3am-5am. Reach out at: firstname.lastname@example.org.