Career Advice, Interviews

7 Ways You’re Scaring Off Recruiters

Office Worker Hiding

Job searching is like dating: each side involved is trying to find the perfect fit. You’re sizing up an employer to see if they’ve got what it takes to make you happy. The employer is evaluating whether you can make their proverbial dreams come true as a productive, successful team member.

However, much like dating, there are some behaviors that can be a turn-off. No, we’re not talking about things like mansplaining at the dinner table or endlessly sharing stories about an ex. Instead, we’re talking about ways that you may — knowingly or unknowingly — be turning off recruiters from giving you an interview or even that coveted offer letter.

Here are 7 ways you may be scaring off recruiters and hiring manager. Job seekers, beware.

Unfocused resume & social media profiles

It’s great that you have 3 certifications, loads of hobbies, and the ability to multi-task like the best of them, however, when you are applying for a role, it’s vital that your resume and LinkedIn profile clearly tell a compelling narrative about why you are the ideal candidate for the job. This is why some experts recommend having more than one resume. Your resume should clearly convey why you are a good fit for the specific role, as opposed to being a catch-all document for all of the jobs you’ve worked in your life. Similarly, your LinkedIn profile should mirror your resume and expound upon some of the details include projects you’ve worked on, articles you’ve been featured in, professional organizations you are a member of, etc. Recruiters, on average, take 6 to 7 seconds to read a resume. If yours is a mash-up of your greatest hits, they won’t know what to take away from it. In the end, an unfocused resume may be the reason why recruiters aren’t calling you back.

Excessive numbers of applications

While you may be uber passionate to work at a particular company, resist the urge to apply to every open role that you might qualify for. Seeing your name and application pop up for four or five job listings sends a clear message to recruiters: “He/she doesn’t really know what she wants” or “He/She is not decisive.” If there are a handful of roles that, initially, you think you’d be a good fit for, print our the job descriptions and really read them. Compare them with one another. Notice the differences, and then start prioritizing which ones are a better fit given your skills, experience, and education.

Don’t be that person whose name pops up in an inbox multiple times, like an email stalker. Hone in on one or two roles that you feel strongly about and apply to those.

Overeager emails, calls, and follow-ups

You’ve applied to a position. You’re feeling good but then … nothing. Silence. A couple of weeks go by and you haven’t heard back from a recruiter. If you’ve found yourself in the job search blackhole, it’s okay to follow up with a professional email. However, if you have emailed twice, called three times and left a Facebook message for the recruiter you’ve gone too far. You are scaring him/her. Hell, you’re scaring us. Begging for a response doesn’t make you look like the consummate professional, informed candidate that a company would want to hire. It’s safe to say that if you haven’t heard from an employer after 3 weeks and a follow-up email, you should move on to the next opportunity.

Repeatedly rescheduling calls, interviews, and meetings

Recruiters get it, schedules get busy and calendar conflicts arise. However, if you’ve rescheduled a phone interview, in-person interview or follow-up call, be cautious about continuing to reschedule. Most talent acquisition pros are juggling multiple requisitions and dozens of applicants. You’re making their job harder by constantly rescheduling, and what’s worse is that you’re giving yourself a bad reputation. Be punctual and reliable.

Incomplete or incorrect information

In the same vein, you may be scaring off recruiters with your incomplete application or incorrect information. As an informed candidate, you should not only be highly engaged and well-researched but you should also make a recruiters job easier by giving them the right information. Full and complete information for your references, a fully filled out application, easily accessible portfolio or work samples. Ideally, you want to make a recruiter’s interactions with you as pleasant and as seamless as possible, so that hiring you is an even bigger delight.

Bashing former employers on social media

Airing a former employer’s dirty laundry or badmouthing former colleagues is one of the quickest ways to scare off potential employers. After all, who wants to hire someone who has a track record of bashing? When critiquing former employers or colleagues on social media or even when you leave an anonymous Glassdoor review, always be fair and professional. Whether your name is attached to it or not, it’s important that recruiters see that no matter what may have transpired between you and a previous employer, you still know how to handle yourself with grace and class.

Inconsistent interview performance

Lastly, inconsistent interactions with team members of your potential employer can put off a recruiter, or at the very least make them question your fit for the role. Being inconsistent in interviews, phone calls or work samples can send the signal that you’ll be an inconsistent employee, which is not what you want a recruiter or hiring manager to think about you. And while this final behavior may not scare off recruiters quite like the aforementioned actions, it’s important to remember that you must consistently perform during the application process with everyone you come into contact with so that they have a clear impression of the kind of informed candidate you are.


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