How to annoy recruiters in your job search.

There are a few people that you should make every effort to please. Corporate recruiters fall into this category. After all, they do hold a lot of influence over your career. All too often, job seekers engage in activities that drive recruiters up the wall. In some cases, these are clueless mistakes. In others, they are misguided efforts to impress or get attention. Maybe you are guilty of a few of these gaffes yourself.

1. Submitting resumes when you don’t meet the basic qualifications

It’s one thing to take a chance at submitting your resume or CV when you come up a bit short on some of the qualifications. It’s another thing entirely to submit your resume when you are entirely unqualified. The first might land you an interview for a great opportunity. The second irritates corporate recruiters who already have loads of resumes to review.

This also leaves the impression that you are desperate, and not in a good way. A recruiter may believe that you are incapable of reading the job requirements, or that you simply don’t care. Neither paints you in a very good light.

Some applicants do this as a way to make initial contact with a recruiter. The idea is to gain some name recognition and get their resume on file for future positions. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work. A recruiter or hiring manager is more likely to simply discard it without a second look. If you don’t have the majority of the qualifications, reconsider submitting your resume.

2. Showing up to interviews late or unprepared

Hiring managers frequently deal with candidates who are late or unprepared for interviews. This is something that virtually guarantees you will be eliminated from consideration unless there are very extenuating circumstances.

If you are going to be late, common sense dictates that you call in advance. Unfortunately, doing this only mitigates the situation slightly. The best approach is to consider anything other than showing up on time unacceptable. Be prepared. Learn the route to the interview, prepare for traffic, and know an alternative route.

Interview preparation is important as well. You should walk into the conference room or office with everything that you need. This includes a pen and notepad. The corporate recruiter should not have to provide you with anything.

If you have been sent to the interview by a placement firm or independent recruiter, remember that you aren’t just representing yourself. If you are late or unprepared, that reflects poorly on you and the recruiting agency.

3. Failing to follow submission instructions

It’s important that you upload, email, or otherwise submit your resume according to instructions. Be sure that you use the correct file type and follow all instructions. Corporate recruiters have good reason for providing you with these instructions, they help to ensure that your resume arrives and is seen by the right people.

What if I want my resume to stand out? Some job candidates believe they must engage in ‘tricks’ to gain the attention of recruiters. One of these is engaging in tactics they believe will make their resumes stand out. For example, an applicant might attempt to deliver their resume in person in spite of being told to submit it electronically.

Don’t do this. It rarely works in your favor. More likely than not, your resume will end up with a person who has no hiring authority. That person will likely be told to pitch it.

What many people do not realize is that submission instructions aren’t arbitrary. In many instances, recruiters need resumes and CV submitted in a certain way to comply with regulations.

Don't annoy a recruiter by trying to side-step the system. Make sure you're getting through the system instead.

4. Failing to take no for an answer

The idea of the job applicant getting the job because they wouldn’t take no for an answer and eventually impressed their new boss with their moxy is a thing of folklore. It makes a great story, but rarely actually happens. The likelihood of someone changing their mind about a hiring decision because you pester them is slim.

If you persist, your behavior can quickly become annoying. Pushiness can even become cause for alarm. It’s okay to send an inquiry requesting feedback on your performance. You can even ask if there is anything you can do to improve your qualifications. Once you do that, let things go and move onto the next opportunity.

5. Pestering recruiters and hiring managers for feedback

It’s perfectly understandable that you are eager for feedback after an interview. Resist the urge to be a pest. After an interview, reach out with a thank you via email. Reiterate your interest in the company, then wait. Don’t make contact again until the day after you were told to expect news.

If the deadline passes, it is okay to send an email or make a phone call. Please only do this once. Ideally the corporate recruiter will let you know of their decision or where they are in the hiring process. If you don’t hear back, assume the answer is no. You may also note the lack of professionalism.

A final note, if you are working through an agency, let them do the work of communicating with the hiring manager. Even if you believe they are creating a communication block, it is beyond unprofessional to end run a recruiter or placement professional to speak to a hiring manager directly.

Conclusion: Take action to make the hiring process work in your favor

Now that you know what irritates them most, let’s go over some actionable steps that can help get recruiters on your side.

  •     Use social media to connect with companies you are interested in working with.
  •     Take a practice run and drive to interview locations at least once before the day of an interview.
  •     Invest in a nice pen set and stationary to bring to interviews, or bring a laptop or tablet to tech jobs.
  •     Use your persistent attitude to pursue new opportunities when things don’t work out.
  •     Consider taking a class on written communication or joining an organization like Toastmasters to boost your confidence and interview communications skills.

If you take the right steps, you will be empowered to get the best results possible from your job search.


Pat Fredshaw - RecruiterPat Fredshaw is Recruiting Coordinator and writer at content creation service Essay Supply. She has nearly a decade of experience working as a recruiter and placement specialist. Her passion is matching candidates with amazing jobs, and helping them achieve their career goals. When she isn’t working, she enjoys traveling, playing recreational softball, and volunteering at her local animal rescue.


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