What Were They Thinking?

By Joe Stein

It is that time, yet again. Once or twice a year, in these pages, we like to review some of the worst errors from Job Seeker during their search (tip: you can view past editions posted on our website @ www.wnyjobs.com). The examples/situations are actual occurrences either gathered by myself, or collected from speaking to colleagues in the HR profession.
The idea is to learn from these real-life examples in order to avoid the same experiences in your job search. Most of these situations served as deal breakers for the Job Seeker who participated in the behavior. So, it is generally a good rule-of-thumb to avoid the pet peeves of your Recruiter or Hiring Manager.
So without further adieu here are some very basic tips for every Job Seeker:
·        Leave the Children At Home
Searching for a job needs to be done without the addition of children coming along. I know this sometimes can prove very difficult for some, in particular single moms. The reality is that even the best behaved children can prove to be a distraction at a company, especially since many facilities only allow children in certain areas (if at all). This rule-of-thumb includes when you are just coming in to complete an application.
Now, let’s move on to the real-life extreme example. I know of an organization that was conducting open interviews for temporary/seasonal positions. An applicant brought in their child and expected a member of the staff to watch the child while she interviewed. This obviously left a negative impression not only on her candidacy, but also her parenting skills.
·        Always Cooperate:
Most companies have certain rules. It may be requiring applicants to park in designated areas, or requiring certain attire. Always cooperate with the rules that have been instructed. This is especially true if the rules have been communicated to you prior to your arrival. An employer will probably conclude that if you can’t follow the rules while you are supposedly on your best behavior, what will you be like when you hired?
Safety instructions are especially important to follow. If you have been instructed that no open-toed footwear, or hair beyond your shoulders will be allowed for safety reasons, don’t arrive for your facility tour non-compliant. Similarly, all companies have forms that must be filled out. Complete the paperwork without complaint in exactly the manner requested by the prospective employer.
·        Don’t Argue :
                        This is one area, that I am hearing from my colleagues, is really surging amongst applicants who have been regretted/rejected. I would assume it is due to the tough economy and the limited openings available right now. If you are rejected, use it as a learning experience and inquire regarding where you fell short in your candidacy. It is sad, but the behavior of Job Seekers is becoming a large safety concern amongst companies. 
                        If you desire, at some point, to be reconsidered for a position with that company, then it is in your best interest to handle the rejection professionally. Being professional is also just the right thing to do.
·        Don’t Give the 3rd Degree Over the Drug Screen or Background Check:
                        This is certainly a situation where the red alert alarm goes off in the Recruiters head. This is not the time (is there any good time?) to question the Recruiter regarding what they drug test for (most companies either do a 5-panel or 10-panel screen) and what they search for on the criminal check. 
                        If you are in a situation where you will not pass either of these tests, then concentrate on organizations that do not test (or eliminate whatever habit is causing the drug screen concern). It will save you time (and the company money) along with the embarrassment of failing one or both of the tests.
·        Late is Late:
                        Not sure why it is, but Recruiters are having to deal with more and more Job Seekers late for appointments. If you cannot be at your appointment on-time then contact your Recruiter PRIOR to the start of the appointment. Please be prepared for the Recruiter to end their pursuit at this point. The thought often being that if you can’t be on-time for your interview, why would you be on-time once you started?
                        The simple solution is to be on-time. Give yourself enough of a cushion to actually be a little early and prepare in the parking lot, if necessary. Many employers are reviewing a large number of candidates for their open positions; don’t give them an easy reason to place you in the regret pile.
·        Previous Employment Is No Guarantee:
                        As I was speaking to one HR Professional, they mentioned to me that the number of individuals calling, seeking to return to their previous employment along with their unfortunate attitude is becoming an issue. In many situations, these individuals left for greener pastures only to find themselves back, seeking a job. The concern regarding the person I spoke to, is the entitlement that these individuals have in assuming that they will not only be considered for any open position, but should receive it.
                        Don’t assume anything in your job search. If you are seeking to be rehired by a previous employer, treat this like any open position and stress how you can add value to the organization. Be prepared to answer the question regarding why things will be different this time around. Don’t expect the employer to just welcome you back, automatically with open arms. If anything, that attitude may come across as arrogant to your previous employer.        
Each time we publish this thematic article, I always think it will be the last one. I conclude writing the article, thinking there cannot possibly be any more unusual situations left to experience when hiring for open positions. Unfortunately, I always prove myself wrong. Job Seekers read and hear a lot about advanced techniques on how to land that coveted position, but you shouldn’t forget it is important to remember the basics, such as avoiding the unusual deal breakers above.
As always, best of luck in your job search.
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