Hiring Managers Share Small Things That Turn Them Off To A Potential Employee
Interviews are pretty stressful for everyone involved: the potential employee is trying to make their best impression and stressing over whether they will get the job, while the interviewer is trying to figure out if the applicant has the necessary skills and will be a good fit for the position.
Things generally work out more or less OK, even if the applicant doesn't get the job.
There are some surefire ways to bomb an interview, and ruin your chances of ever being hired by the company, though.
Reddit user u/TheLazyBench asked Redditors:
"Redditors in hiring positions: What small things immediately make you say no to the potential employee? Why?"
I've hired well over 200 hundred people, mostly for jobs that involved medium-heavy duty machinery operation. Some on the public road but mostly on private grounds. These positions paid anywhere's from $30,000CAD to $120,000CAD.
A couple things I did find out that surprised me as I learned the position:
Spelling/Grammar errors in resumes, or shortage of description, really did not end up meaning anything. At first I would throw these ones out but later on kept them in the shuffle and found more or less the exact same success as well written resume.
Clothing: Super Sharp, super sloth, none of it ever really seemed to matter. I found diamonds and trash wearing both.
What I ended up basing most of my decision on in the past couple years: Parking lot behavior. I didn't care what vehicle they showed up in, but as time went on I discovered that if it took someone more than 20-30 seconds to find a parking spot and get parked, they were useless with the machinery I needed them to operate, regardless of qualifications. Likewise with guys that thought they nailed the interview and then gunned it down the road when they hit the street. I found hiring those guys always became HUGE safety concerns. No word of a lie, parking lot behavior ended up providing me with about 50% of the info I wanted on hiring a guy. Once saw a guy park in about 15 seconds flat. He also left the parking lot in the exact same manner he came in. Totally bombed the interview and the Homer Simpson Tattoo didn't help, but the guy ended up being my Train the Trainer on a few pieces of equipment. If I'm gonna trust you with 5,000-120,000 lbs of machinery, I better see that you can operate your own vehicle.
Once had a guy apply for a job advertised as just "call centre" because we needed to be discreet in the ad. His cover letter and resume talked about his previous call centre experience selling mobile phones, and all the people he had "saved" and converted to his church. He kept telling us that mission work is basically just sales, because you're selling Jesus.
He somehow got through to the reference checking stage (there weren't many applicants). I called his employer and found out he was asked to leave after 6 months of formal performance management because he kept telling people who had called up that they could either enter a 2 year contract for a new mobile phone...or go to his church every week for two years to make it up to him (for the lost commission.) He has access to their addresses, so he would confirm their address and say he would meet them out the front of their houses at 8 am on Sunday to take them to church. After dozens of complaints and 6 months of performance management, he still couldn't understand how that was inappropriate (and creepy!)The job I was recruiting for was a domestic violence crisis intervention call centre to help people experiencing extreme domestic violence to relocate. I'm so glad we didn't put him there.
I got a text message response to a voicemail I left responding to an application saying "hey, I'm at the Steelers game so I obviously don't want to talk about a job today. How's Monday looking for you? I'm available 8am-10am." I didn't even respond.
I called an applicant who answered "who is this? f**k you want?" and I went on to further embarrass him by informing him I had wanted to talk about an application but never mind. He proceeded to tell me I was a "lying b**ch" and that my area code on his caller said I was in a different city and he's no idiot. Literally the neighboring area code.
So the small things? I won't hire total a**holes.
Embellishing. Job applications, like dating profiles, a little embellishment is expected to make yourself look good and most people can read between the lines but I once had a dude when writing down his responsibilities at his previous job, put a bunch of things like "used whisk, spatula and other kitchen utensils to circulate sauces and ingredients to bring all food to adequate cooking temperature when being prepared" , it was ALL written like that. This guy supposedly had like 5+ years experience and best he could give me was a fancy way of saying he stirred sh*t
How seriously do you take the position? I hire for an admittedly very easy job. I had a guy tell me he only wanted the job because it was really easy and he wouldn't have to take it seriously. He was one of 100 applying for 6 spots. He didn't get it, and every time he interviewed for that spot after I knew I wouldn't hire him.
EDIT: For the people asking why "honesty" mattered so much, the job is very easy, but we work with extremely valuable equipment and a mistake can cost us hundreds. Someone who's going into the position openly not taking it seriously when a hundred are going for the same spot isn't something I want since you'll naturally take the job less seriously over time. Also, I've only interviewed him once a semester, it's totaled maybe three. In his place we hired awesome employees who're up for management positions, I have no regrets.
There was the guy who, when I walked into the conference room to interview him, told me to have a seat and said "let's talk".
Edit: in the interests of clarity: no, he was not joking.
If you put it on your resume, I'm going to ask you about it. So don't add filler.
I'm reading this thread as a hiring manager for more or less janitorial position and we are so badly hurting for employees at that spot that we'll pretty much hire anyone that applies so long as they clear the background check and drug screen.
Raggedy clothes? You're hired Don't really have great answers to questions? You're hired Can't really explain or give a reason for the stuff on the application? You're hired You physically showed you to the interview? Hired.
It's crazy that the people that interview the best, show up dressed as well as they can be in their means, and clearly want the (any) job are more often than not the ones that get shot down because of background.
Sucks that the ones getting hired over them quit two weeks in because they don't like cleaning things up.
Edit: it's not my idea to have the drug screen, and it is a one time thing
Edit 2: it's no minimum wage. It's not the best, but it's competitive for the area
People that showed up to an interview in dirty sweatpants and a hoodie or whatever, and had no idea what the position really was. (Pharmacy Tech/Assistant) It happened more than once.
Talking about your broccoli and chocolate diet to improve your telekinesis.
This happened about 15 years ago.
We were looking for engineers, and we had this guy apply.
He had a pretty sizable amount of relevant experience to the job despite being a fresh graduate and had experiences and training in other fields related to the production industry.
I asked him what position he was applying for and offered him the Assistant Production Engineer based on his credentials alone. He looked at me with a disgusted face, like I just insulted him. I asked him what was wrong, and he replied "Nothing really. It seems like a pretty good position, but I want something better, because I can clearly see you are impressed by my resume"
I took the bait, and partly also due to our immediate need for engineers, asked him what his preferred position would be. He immediately answered that he wanted a supervisory position, like the General Production Manager. I asked him why he wanted such a position.
His reply? "Seems like one of those jobs where I can sit in the office and play games on my phone all day without having to actually do anything"
I quickly gave an excuse to end the interview right there and just told him we would call him. We didn't.
Moral of the story? Never tell your potential employer you just want to sit on your butt all day and do nothing.
For phone / skype interviews: don't Google every question I ask you to get the 'right' answer. It's a dead giveaway when after every question there's 10 seconds of umming, and then a textbook answer. You'll be surprised how often this happens.
Showing up late for an interview already puts you in the hole. Not addressing it or apologizing for it will make it complete. Turn a negative into a positive and show you have accountability. Not addressing it shows you don't have respect for me and my time.
If you have something on your resume, it's fair game for me to ask you about it. If you struggle with basic questions about it -- game over.
The biggest one for me was always whether they were responding thoughtfully and specifically to prompts or just using vague interviewy language.
Treating everyone but the hiring manager disrespectfully.
I was in a management position in fast food. I didn't do the hiring, but one minor responsibility was accepting applications that people brought in and answering any initial questions. The hiring manager ALWAYS listened to the other managers initial impressions of the applicants. So many applications were thrown out of the stack without ever being considered because the applicant didn't think anyone mattered but the person that made the final decision.
I even had one lady come in and basically tell us that she would definitely be hired and be placed over us in management and that she planned on "cleaning up our act". We had a good laugh with the hiring manager before tossing her app in the trash.
When the interviewee ignores the person who asked the question and instead talks to the person they "think" has the most power in the room. This has happened in entry level positions, but I also helped interview for a position that would be working at my same level, as a partner. My manager told me the decision was ultimately up to me, because I knew what I was willing to work with, and what was needed for the role.
I had a man come in and he wouldn't look at me, didn't shake my hand, and every time I asked a question, he looked to my manager for approval. Yeah... Hard pass. I don't want to work with a guy who has no respect for me.
I have a small exteriors remodeling company and do all of my interviews on-site. If someone gets out of their vehicle and flicks their cigarette in the yard, it's pretty much over. For some reason people interviewing have regularly looked at the tools we're using and talked condescendingly about them and explain they learned on another brand/style and their way is better. Done. I'm open to discussion about tools and methods, but the interview isn't the place and leads me to believe I'm going to have to work hard to make you use my methods on jobs.
Edit for some clarification:
Tools/methods- we are all open to discussion about methods and tools, but talking down to the interviewer is a bad move. There's a difference between making sure we're on the same page and trying to prove you know more than the guy you're trying to get the job from. And it's never about the actual tools, I've done hiring for other businesses before my own, it's about showing a specific attitude. Those guys may do well in the industry, but my business prides itself on bringing positive attitudes to projects for homeowners and those guys can't help with that.
"I'm not a big computer or email person." Get out and don't come back. This is an office job in 2019.
One last thing. If you have an objective on your resume, make sure it applies to the job at my company. I cant tell you how many times people have an objective about getting a job in xxxx - that is not my company. Remember to update this!
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Secretly, we all fear having birthdays like the one in Sixteen Candles, where nobody shows up and we're forced to deal with how lonely we feel as people. But sometimes, people have things happen on their birthday that put Molly Ringwald to shame.
It stinks to have your special day go sour. Moreover, it hurts, that if whatever happened was bad enough, you will never be able to not associate your birthday with that awful thing.