8 Ways to Get Yourself Eliminated from Candidate Consideration QUICKLY

I just don't get it?!!  Why didn't I get called back?  I thought I interviewed great!  What do you mean "We decided to go another direction"?

Have you ever heard these words or thought these thoughts?  If you haven't, you are one of the few.  Interviewing for a job is tough.  It is frustrating.  It can be a long process.  You develop a rapport with your recruiter.  When you get the call, or even worse the "no call", it is hard not to get down.

So the question is "How can YOU avoid these things?". Truth is, sometimes you can't.  Sometimes there is already a candidate in mind before you even submit your resume.  That being said, there are some things you can do to HELP YOURSELF from being eliminated and at least getting to the second round of interviews.

Getting an interview, is half the battle.  The other half, is getting to the second round of interviews and progress through the process.  Don't shoot yourself in the foot.  Here are 8 things that WILL get you eliminated from consideration.

1)  Not Doing Research on the Company and the Role  We have all done it.  Let me say as a recruiter, though, it is extremely frustrating when you haven't done your homework.  Look up the company on the internet.  Get a good understand what they do.  Know the key executives.  Know the financials.  Be able to articulate how you could help. 

2)  Not Acting Enthused About The Role  Have your morning cup of coffee and your notepad.  Take notes & listen.  Genuinely be interested in what role the person is talking to you about.  Remember they are taking time out of their day to talk to YOU.  Give them a level of respect!

3)  Coming Across Abrasive or Overconfident  Recruiters truly don't care how great awesome you are. We are looking for culture fit.  We are looking at a lot of intangibles.   If you come across abrasive and the know it all, it is a huge turnoff!  It is okay to show what you know, but don't do it in a way that comes across as someone that would have difficulty working with others.  Be humble. 

4)  Not Being Able to Do the Skills on Your Resume  There are now Sourcers in recruiting for this exact reason.  Don't say you can program and code Java on your resume if you can't! Don't say you have been in outside sales for 15 years when you have gone on 3 meetings with an outside sales person and you are an TRULY an inside sales person.  

5)  Over Pricing Yourself  Don't say you want 20k more than you know they can pay.  If you are out of their budget, or more than they WANT to pay,  you won't get called back.  

6)  Being Inflexible  Saying things like "I will only telecommute" or I don't want to do that part of the job EVER shows that you won't be a very good employee.  

7)  Not Able To Explain Employment Gaps   Let's face it.  There are layoffs, there is downsizing, and sometimes you just aren't a great fit.  Maintain relationships with a former employee and stay on good terms.  If you can't explain why you left then you are in trouble.  

8)  Bad Mouthing Your Former Employer  The employer is looking to employ YOU.  If you bad mouth a former employer, what says you won't do that to them?  Be careful what you say!  You could say things like "I learned a lot from the company and it has helped me in XYZ areas.  Never say "the company was awful and my boss was a jerk".  That will get you nowhere in life!   

Hopefully this helps and you will get that second interview next time.


If you liked this blog, please subscribe to Bulls Eye Recruiting by clicking the below link, follow me on twitter @WThomsonJr and connect with me on linkedin.  You can also send me a direct e-mail to will@wthomsonjr.com.  


Views: 4913

Comment by Ryan Harding on June 6, 2013 at 11:49am

These are spot on Will!  It is amazing how many people still make these same mistakes during an interview.  Thanks for sharing.

Comment by Will Thomson on June 6, 2013 at 12:00pm

Thanks Ryan!  They are pretty basic, but they are good reminders for anyone going through the interview process.

Comment by Amber on June 6, 2013 at 12:04pm

Had two # 3's recently, and was surprised. I had spent a good amount of time talking with each of them and wouldn't have pegged that as a potential issue. One told the CEO how the company should be doing their marketing and why currently it sucked (and he wasn't interviewing for marketing role), and the other didn't let anyone finish a sentence during a meeting with the hiring manager, GM, and owner. Neither got the job, of course.

I might add this to the info I send to candidates, Will. Thanks!

Comment by Will Thomson on June 6, 2013 at 12:07pm

Overconfidence is never good.  I too have had a candidate that I thought was a slam dunk, but the client refused because it wasn't a good "culture" fit.  They actually took a candidate with less experience and could be groomed.  Humility is key.  Thanks Amber for commenting.

Comment by Tiffany Branch on July 10, 2013 at 9:52am

Good post. Actually, I wish people were truthful about why they disliked their company/boss. I could then dig deeper and it would help me understand more about the candidate and if they are a fit. It's funny, as recruiters, we say we want to truly get to "know" the candidate, yet we encourage candidates to bull s**t us with prepared answers.

Comment by Will Thomson on July 10, 2013 at 11:28am

Thanks for responding Tiffany. It is kind of a double- edged sword isn't it?  If they tell you why they disliked their boss they could be seen as negative.  If they give a canned answer and you end up hiring, it could be a disaster because the "culture fit" wasn't right.  Good point!


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