Don't end your candidacy before it begins.
We know that there is a long list of items to focus on during a job interview — crafting the perfect responses, selecting the right outfit, the handshake that's firm but not too firm. These are all undoubtedly important, but did you know that there are factors outside of the interview itself that can prove equally as impactful?
In between your resume submission and your entrance into the interview room, the hiring manager will go through a series of logistical steps to make your meeting happen. From research to correspondence to scheduling, they will evaluate you at each checkpoint of the process. Therefore, it is essential that the way you present yourself is as considered as it is on paper and in person. If you slip up here, it can affect your candidacy just as much as a botched answer to “What's your greatest weakness?”
Sometimes, these errors sneak up on us. To ensure you don't ruin your own chances, take a look at the following popular ways job seekers end their candidacies … without even walking through the door.
Unprofessional social media presence
Researching a candidate's social media profiles has become commonplace for recruiters. In fact, a Jobvite survey found that 77% of hiring professionals look to LinkedIn when evaluating candidates, and 63% take to Facebook as well. With this tactic being so popular, it's essential that job seekers clean up their online presence with their career goals in mind. So, what are the cardinal sins of job-seeking social media?
Evidence of wild behavior
Want to go skydiving? Go for it, and feel free to share the exciting adventure with your friends and family. Want to have a crazy night out with friends? Also go for it (as long as you're safe), but that shouldn't be immortalized on social media. It presents you as unprofessional and lacking restraint, and it may be hard for an employer to shake the scorn they feel toward your seemingly wild behavior.
Being politically engaged is great, but bringing that passion for democracy to the internet can hurt your job prospects. Forty-seven percent of hiring professionals reported that political rants online by candidates are a major turnoff. Beware of going overboard and keep your opinions between you and the ballot box.
Bashing an employer
No job is perfect all the time, and you're bound to be frustrated by your boss or company at one point or another. That said, your Facebook profile is not the place to release pent-up frustration. Insulting or complaining about an employer online is a surefire way to ruin future opportunities — after all, how would a hiring manager know you wouldn't do this to them too?
Messy language in email correspondence
“Nice to hear frm u. Thx for the intervew! Cant wait for thursday.”
… maybe not.
You know how important a polished impression can be — that's why you put so much effort into proofreading your resume. A TopResume study even revealed that 80% of recruiters called spelling and grammar mistakes their No. 1 resume deal-breaker. So why let go of that care when corresponding via email? Your communication skills are always being assessed, so proofread each message you send for typos, poor grammar, and anything that might be too informal.
Inappropriate profile pictures
There's a reason we've separated this pre-interview blunder from the other social media faux pas. You already know the importance of a clean, professional-looking profile photo on LinkedIn, and you likely have been thoughtful to keep your Facebook photo PG. But have you thought about the picture connected to your Gmail account?
Far and away, Gmail is the most popular email service provider, and many companies take advantage of the business-oriented version as well. If you are both using Gmail to conduct your correspondence, your profile photo will be shown with your messages. It too can hurt your chances if chosen carelessly; to ensure it's appropriate, learn more about how to change your Gmail photo on our sister site, TopResume.
We understand — life isn't always simple, and sometimes conflicts come up that you just can't do anything about. However, rescheduling your interview multiple times will be a large inconvenience for a hiring manager, and they may lose more and more interest in you with each new request. Remember: Every time you reschedule, they block off time in their day for you. Constantly changing that interrupts their work schedule, so be considerate and only reschedule if you absolutely have to.
Asking something you should already know
It's common for job seekers to pursue multiple opportunities at one time. If this is you, it's imperative that you find a way to keep track of where you've applied, what your applications were like, and the important names that may come up. Answering a phone call or email by asking for clarification about the company or position will surely leave a future interviewer thinking you're not actually interested. And yes, questions like “What company are you from again?” really do happen.
These are only a few of the ways job seekers can accidentally end their own candidacies. To ensure you keep your chances alive, remember that everything an employer can see from you — from social media posts to your own emails — is fair game for evaluation. By paying close attention to the little things, you'll be able to enter the interview without anything holding you back.
Small mistakes can have a large impact in the world of job interviews. Prepare yourself to excel by working with a professional interview coach. Learn more here.