6 Ways To Turn Off A Hiring Manager

Imagine that a hiring manager is interested in you for an open position; they’re looking at you online, they’re looking at your application materials like a cover letter or resume, and they may even be interviewing you. Now imagine that the hiring manager saw something that immediately put you out of the running for the position.

To prevent this, consider these six ways to immediately turn off a hiring manager – and avoid them at all costs.

Online & Social Media

The ways to “mess up” your job search online are countless. Here are two of the biggest:

1. Bare it all

It’s been said before, but it’s worth repeating: anything you put online is fair game for the rest of the web – including hiring managers. Don’t put anything on the web that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see, and more importantly, keep your online and social media presence professional! Learn how to keep your pictures, updates, and discourse professional, or else learn how to use the privacy settings.

2. Be nonexistent

This mistake is on the opposite end of the spectrum; if employers are looking for you online, they should be able to find you. If they search for you and nothing comes up, it could be a red flag; on the other hand, if they can search for you and see your professional social media profiles, they can learn more about you that could positively influence their decisions. That means you should have (work appropriate) social media accounts like Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. You may also consider creating a website or online portfolio to further showcase your skills.

Cover Letter & Resume

Your cover letter and resume are most likely your biggest and most important application materials – don’t let them fall victim to these two basic mistakes:

3. Rely on spell-check

Turning in any application materials – like a resume or cover letter – with spelling or grammar mistakes is a huge don’t. A hiring manager will likely throw your papers into the recycling bin for simple mistakes like these because they show a lack of attention to detail.

But, be careful not to rely only on your Word processor’s spell-check tool; often, it can miss errors or fail to recognize word misuse. The best approach is to have someone else proofread your materials, and to read your writing out loud to yourself.

4. Take a “cookie cutter” approach

Beware of mass-submitting your cover letter and resume; more likely than not, a hiring manager can spot a so-called “cookie cutter” application. Instead, tailor your application materials to each position for which you’re applying. Focus on highlighting the information and experiences that are most applicable to the job.


The interview – phone or in-person – is a big part of your job search because it’s the first time you become a “real person” to a hiring manager, rather than just a piece of paper or an online account. Make sure it goes smoothly by avoiding these slip-ups:

5. Forget proper etiquette

Mind your manners at an interview, or you could be out the door faster than Donald Trump can say, “You’re fired!” Proper interview etiquette means arriving on time, having the right materials, dressing appropriately, speaking politely, and the list goes on. Be sure to be at your most professional; remember, dress and act for the job you want (namely, the job for which you’re interviewing), not the job you have.

6. Disregard research

Part of being prepared for an interview, whether on the phone or in person, is having done your research about the company, the position, and the interviewer (if possible). A hiring manager will definitely notice – in a bad way – if you don’t know much about the position or company, and will definitely notice – in a good way – if you do. Put in your time and do your homework before an interview, and you’ll be sure to impress the hiring manager; not to mention, you’ll be better prepared to answer interview questions.

What are some other ways to turn off a hiring manager? Share your insight below.