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8 ways you’re sabotaging your job search

Posted on: August 21st, 2015 by admin No Comments

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It’s not the state of the employment market, it’s you – these are the eight ways you’re sabotaging your job search.

1. You’re scared to cut the cord

A staggering 38%1 of jobseekers aged between 18 and 24 have their parents involved in their job search. Whilst this is acceptable to an extent (if they want to proofread your CV, help you practice your interview technique, or even introduce you to a hiring manager they may know), there comes a time when the cord must be severed.

Deciding upon a career, writing your CV, contacting HR departments, attending interviews, and conducting follow-ups are all tasks that you should be doing alone. Yet astonishingly, it’s not uncommon for parents to tell their children what jobs to apply for, and then chase HR following an interview, offended that their beloved hasn’t been offered the role.

Hiring companies want employees that can stand on their own two feet, hence you’re unlikely to receive any call backs if your parents appear to be doing the hard work for you, so politely thank mum and dad for their concern but gently ask them to back off.

2. You’re failing to hit the spellcheck button

Your CV is the first thing your potential new boss will assess you on, and since almost all CVs are now electronic, there’s no excuse for poor spelling or grammar.

The ability to ‘pay attention to detail’ is a required skill for most jobs, so use your spellcheck tool to correct any typos on your CV before you send it to a hiring company for consideration

3. Your Facebook page is destroying your chances

Think your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages are for yours and your friends’ eyes only? Think again.

The majority of employers now conduct a ‘social media background check’, and 48%3 of hiring managers have admitted to finding content that has stopped them sending out an interview invite or job offer, including inappropriate photographs, proof of drug use, or discriminatory status updates.

So, the rule to live by is simple: If you wouldn’t want your employer to see it, don’t post it.

4. You overslept, your train was late, or your dog chewed up your best tie so you had to take a detour to Thomas Pink

Interviews are expensive to run. At least an hour of the interviewers’ time (i.e. salary) will be used up interviewing you, and then they will have to spend more time deliberating between candidates and administrating job offers, background checks, and so on.

That’s why your chances of getting the job are very slim if you turn up late for an interview. So, plan your journey in advance and leave your home at least thirty minutes early in case you do get stuck in traffic or hit tube delays – ideally, you want to arrive at the place of your interview ten minutes prior to your appointment.

5. That outfit

Ok, people should be allowed to wear what they want but some unwritten rules do apply in the professional setting. This is especially prevalent when meeting your interviewer in person for the first time, as psychologists declare that initial impressions are formed in just one tenth of a second2 and can affect how we perceive a person long-term.

We have written about what is appropriate interview attire (and what definitely isn’t!) in a previous article, which you can read here.

6. You just want any job, and it shows

When you’re unemployed or desperate to leave your current job, you may send out your CV on mass to any company that’s hiring. The problem with this approach is that, if you get invited to an interview, you’re likely to know very little about the company because it’s not been on your dream list of places to work – sat in front of a panel, your lack of knowledge and drive can be painfully obvious.

Before attending any interview, do your research; look into the history of the company, research your potential new colleagues on LinkedIn, and look for press coverage or industry news to gather an understanding of the direction in which the business is travelling. With this added awareness, you’ll stand out amongst your peers for your dedication to preparation, plus you’ll have more to talk about and be able to ask insightful questions once it’s your turn to do so during the interview.

7. You’re badmouthing your old boss

Interviewer: “So why did you leave your old job?”
You: “I couldn’t stand working under such incompetency.”

Venting about a bad workplace experience can dispel your anger but it’s only safe to do amongst friends or family. Start complaining about an incapable manager or relay how much you despise past clients during a job interview and alarm bells will ring for the interviewer sat in front of you.

Employers look for candidates with positive outlooks and the ability to handle disagreements maturely. So even if you did leave your last job because you found the management team to be ineffective, word this objectively, and tell the interviewer that you found better progression opportunities elsewhere.

8. You don’t maintain your connections

If you’re offered a job, your new employer is likely to want a reference from one or two of your professional connections, such as an ex-employer or your old college tutor.

These references are collected via email, telephone, or mail, so it’s important to keep your referees’ contact details up-to-date. Also, don’t forget to drop your referees a note to let them know when to expect a reference request, as this is likely to prompt them to respond quicker, consequently speeding up the recruitment process so you can begin your new role sooner.

Are you struggling with your interview technique? Check out our guide to competency-based interviews here.


1 PayScale, 2014. Don’t Let Your Parents Ruin Your Job Search. [Online] Available at: http://www.payscale.com/career-news/2014/09/don’t-let-your-parents-ruin-your-job-search.
2 Psychological Science, 2006. How Many Seconds to a First Impression? [Online] Available at: http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/observer/2006/july-06/how-many-seconds-to-a-first-impression.html.
3 PR Newswire, 2015. 35 percent of employers less likely to interview applicants they can’t find online, according to annual CareerBuilder social media recruitment survey. [Online] Available at: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/35-percent-of-employers-less-likely-to-interview-applicants-they-cant-find-online-according-to-annual-careerbuilder-social-media-recruitment-survey-300083127.html.
[All information sources accessed 20th August 2015].

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