My hiring pet peeves and a few tips

8:55:00 PM BB 0 Comments

**Note: views are my own and don't reflect those of my employer(s)**

I've worked in positions where I'm responsible for hiring staff for about three years. Here are some pet peeves of mine. I believe that many of these pet peeves are not unique to me, but shared by numerous hiring managers and recruiters. Sorry if these tips are obvious, but I see people making these "mistakes" a lot!

Application process
-Sending non-pdf resumes + cover letters: Other than obvious issues around formatting, this is a pet peeve of mine because I use my phone for work a lot and my LG G3 prefers PDFs. They're easier to read than .docx, etc on my phone and other devices, they load faster, and this is a huge time saver when viewing numerous applications.

- Sending two documents instead of one: Send the cover letter and resume in one file, unless the job posting indicates otherwise. Again, this saves me the time of having to open two separate documents.

- Sending a link to your resume: Don't send links to google drive or dropbox. Attach all documents to the email.

- Long paragraphs: These are hard to read and understand when I'm reviewing many applications. Keep your sentences short and concise, and do this with your paragraphs as well. It's true that people who are hiring often don't have a lot of time to spare, so making the reading process quick and easy is important.

Interview process
-Asking if there's any reason I won't hire you: I understand that the intention behind this question is good, however it is often phrased wrong. It typically sounds like "will you hire me? Did I get the job?" This is an awkward question to ask because it puts everyone on the spot. We don't want to tell you yes, and we don't want to lie either. If you feel like you need to clarify something in your interview, go ahead and ask if you can make clarifications on questions and proceed.

- Not leaving: Interviews are about being personable and relatable in many ways. So we're done with the interview, you have no questions, I have no further questions but you just keep sitting and staring at me and smiling. "Any more questions for me?" and I say no but you're still sitting. Why? A-K-W-A-R-D. I've witnessed so many awkward interview exits than I care to remember.

How to stand out
Good format: Doesn't have to be graphic designed and fancy, just easy to read.

Strong keyword use: Use the keywords contained in the job posting in your cover letter and resume.

Not too long: For most positions, a one page cover letter is fine.

- Replying emails and phone calls promptly: Again, I don't have a lot of time so I shouldn't have to wait for 24 hours to hear if you want to attend an interview or not, or if you accept the position.

- Don't ramble: I think rambling during interviews can be significantly reduced by preparing sufficiently in advance. Most interviews are generic, you'll mostly be asked about your strengths, weaknesses, why you want the job, conflict resolution, etc. Prep some answers and scenarios in advance and your answers will probably be good enough (even if you factor in interview nervousness).

- Not enough prep: I can tell when a person prepares for an interview. You can be prepared and still be nervous, and it's okay to be nervous. If you have a portfolio, bring it. References, bring it. Proposal and other ideas for the job, bring it. Yes, some questions will be unexpected, but interviews are about leaving a strong impression and how prepared you are, your passion, and bring supplementary information will definitely help you stand out.

-Too vague: "I have a lot of public speaking experience and I have done so for many years." What does this even mean? Specifics are great in interviews. Specific information is more convincing.

- Not confident: Again, when a candidate is not confident, it shows and can get weird. It's weird to talk to people who won't look you in the eye, or who seem unsure of themselves. You can fake confidence, look it up on google.

- Underselling yourself: An interview is probably not the place to tell me how you were terrible at your last job and how you would love to do things completely different at your last job. Learn to sell yourself in a non-awkward manner. 


Thanks for keeping your comments thoughtful and concise :)