I worked as a recruiter for what felt like 100 years but was actually more than 40 (2.5 recruiter years for each real year). I filled more than 1200 full time plus consulting assignments. I now do executive job search coaching working with people globally helping them find new positions as their coach, not as a recruiter
In all my years doing recruiting, I came into contact or received feedback from clients about many types of bizarre or ridiculous behaviors (or behaviours in you are in the UK) that were self-destructive to people and their candidacies. People who claimed to have been robbed on the way to interviews and then went out and bounced checks. People who arrived at interviews in shorts during winter . . . You know lunatics.
However, what people often do falls into the camp of “garden variety of stupidity. Here are 9 idiotic mistakes job hunters make on interviews:
- Speaking with “lofty words.” You impress people with direct concise answers to their questions, not by demonstrating that your vocabulary includes lofty words. No one cares that you read the dictionary. Thy care that you can communicate clearly and connect with people.
- Lying. These days, it is almost possible to get away with a lie. After all, someone scanning your resume may have seen an old version years ago and notice that your current one is missing a job or two.
- Not asking great questions (or any questions) at the end of your interview. I don’t care if you are being interviewed by a 58 year old executive or a 21 year old HR recruiter with whom you judge you have nothing in common. It is hard for me to imagine not having ANY questions after being in a conversation with someone for 30 or 60 minutes.
- Seeming desperate. Desperation is awful in dating and job hunting. I have been begged to argue with a company about whether to meet someone or why someone was rejected. UGH!
- Not answering the question asked. I have interviewed hundreds of thousands of people in my career and have interrupt some of them to ask, “Do you remember my original question?” At least they honestly said, “No,” and we could then laugh about what they thought I asked them.
- Arriving with a chip on your shoulder. You have been laid off or fired. Your boss has been on your tail for most of the day. You arrive at the interview with an attitude that that announces to everyone within a 25 mile radius that you are angry. Kiss the interview good by.
- Crossing the line. I don’t care if this is your first or 14th interview. They are evaluating you until you are on board and then they evaluate you as an employee. They are not your friend. They are your future boss. They are your future colleague. Don’t forget it.
- Not preparing for the interview. You know what the job that you are interviewing for but do nothing or next to nothing to prepare for the interview. Every answer to a question seems as though you were figuring out at the interview. Have you ever noticed that great athlete also spend time practicing every play, every shot, every swing for years? They are paid millions of dollars and you think you can “wing it” and throw some stuff against the wall and expect it to stick. WRONG!
- You don’t have a coach to help you. Successful athletes and entertainers all have coaches. LeBron, Michael, Scottie, Dirk, Tom Brady, Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand. Baseball players all have managers and coaches to guide them . . . and you think you should go in and learn by trial and error, instead of doing the smart thing of hiring a coach to help you play at an elite level as a job hunter. Recruiters don’t work for you. They are paid by their client. Hire a coach and don’t be a cheapskate.
© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC 2017
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves life coaching, as well as executive job search coaching and leadership coaching.
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