Employers hate job seekers for many reasons. Job seekers act unprofessionally; they waste the employer's time and energy. A prepared, qualified job seeker increases their chances of landing the job by avoiding job seeker behaviors employers hate. Employers magnify their chances of hiring a superior employee, when they avoid job seekers who exhibit these ten fatal errors, what employers hate about job seekers – or ought to. What do you think employers hate about job seekers?
Readers respond to additional questions and share their workplace stories.
HR plays the game
- They make the attempt at finding silly, trivial issues with candidates: "oh, he didn't maintain eye contact when I asked about his previous job". "There was just something about him I didn't like". They enjoy sharing their "horror stories" with other HR staff. "Oh, this guy came in and he looked at me up and down. I wanted to scream RAPE". It's these trivial, immature observations that they use when crossing candidates off the list. Otherwise, I cannot understand (for the life of me) why someone would not hire me with my experience, relative youth and knowledge (and passion) in my field. I would not have this opinion if I didn't have the following reply when asked about "why"? "We don't give reasons for candidates not hired. I'm sorry". My only idea is to fill in the blanks and that is what eventually makes places like Glassdoor and Dice so important when evaluating employers for jobs.
- —Guest Eric
What Job Seekers HATE ABOUT HR!
- Maybe I'm taking a lower level job because after searching for a year I've run out of money to pay my rent. If you treat me with respect and appreciate the excellent job I do for you in the job you've given me why would you think I'd leave in a heartbeat? Maybe I'll like working for you and be happy to stay because I've found a worthwhile employer who values hard working people willing to do the job they've been offered. Just because I'm over 50 doesn't mean I'm overqualified or just wanting to work for a few years till I retire. The recent economic downturn means I'll work till I die, most of us will. I took the time to carefully apply, can you not take the time to acknowledge receipt of my materials? We had a great interview, you asked for more things, I sent them and you do not have the courtesy to tell me what didn't measure up by not returning a follow up phone call or email. Hardly stalking, I'm trying to figure out what happened. Try having a little empathy! (Understand that I am quite emphatic about telling employers that they must respond to applicants.)
- —Guest marcia
It goes both ways
- Can't stand an employer who allows their managers to hire only their friends and folks they know. They overlook highly qualified candidates to save their friend. I hate when they call you and get you all excited, then they drop the ball. NO CALL. NO EMAIL. WON'T RETURN YOUR FOLLOW UP email. It would be so much easier if they just simply state that they have moved on. You should already know when you call whether you are interested or not. I know I interview well and I know that my communication is great. I hate it MOST when they say, "WOW, your have a great skillset"... then they stop calling you!
- —Guest yeahOK
Valid yet ridiculous
- I'm currently in job search mode. I would be an HR dream candidate but they would never know it judging by my resume. Job hunting is a job in itself. Countless hours on the computer, tailor making cover letters and resume to fit the specific job listing. HR needs to realize that if we make an omission or error, that shouldn't be the be all to end all. We have had to repeat the process 10 times before we landed on your job posting, we're tired and frustrated. I hate the process. Too overqualified, too underqualified. I'm tired and the last thing I need is HR being afraid of a candidate POSSIBLY leaving if they're hired for a low level position they're overqualified for. We need jobs and maybe we'll stay if your company is worthy enough and treats us with respect. Get it?! Respect is mutual!
- —Guest vibrant77
Cuts both ways really
- Employers that have all of these job spec demands and expectations and don't even pay accordingly? Ignorant HR/Personnel people that waste MY time.
- —Guest gk
Unbelievable Expectations of Employers
- As a person who has been struggling with finding a job, I have to say that most of you are generalizing. When I show up to interviews, I show up early and in professional attire. I'm always polite and courteous. I don't apply for jobs unless I'm 100% confident that I'm the right fit for the job. It's gotten to the point where I'm going to say "screw it" and just sign up for the military because they're least likely to turn me down.
- —Guest Shannon
- I would like a job, and believe it or not, it is not natural for everyone to just KNOW how to behave in an interview, when applying for a job or in a workplace. I have found all of these things very challenging which is probably why I am unemployed. Thank you for your comments though. It has taught me a lot. I guess I am the kind of person who is stubborn and cannot learn things easily, not exactly a great potential employee. I would like to please everyone and I do things that annoy other people but I do not realize that they are the wrong things. I care about this and I get upset when I make other people unhappy. I do not like to intentionally cause trouble. I guess I just lack general self awareness. Thank you for the tips. (You might also find this helpful in helping you to better develop your awareness of people and their feelings: How to Develop Your Emotional Intelligence: http://humanresources.about.com/od/interpersonalcommunicatio1/qt/develop-your-emotional-intelligence.htm)
- —Guest Sheridan
- "Maybe it's the job market, but I'm seeing a huge increase in overqualified job searchers applying for lower level jobs." After what's happened to the economy, this seems pretty obvious. The writer above who said people need money nailed it- what would you have us older workers do? I can't go to the grocery store and pay by telling them, "The HR types don't want me applying for lower paying jobs, so I don't have any money for you." Some of us are willing to take a lower paying position to restart a career or enter a new one. Bottom line, unemployed people need a job and you're pretty unrealistic to think that they should avoid lower paying ones to make your life easier. Maybe if more companies were willing to train, that would help too.
- I am not going to apply for a job that is below my level. I have to deal with being overqualified for an entry-level position yet under qualified for the next level above that. Why is there such a discrepancy? It is so frustrating to spend 30 minutes searching, tailoring, and writing, to get.... maybe an e-mail a month later saying nothing that "unfortunately we have decided to go another direction". A form e-mail at that. Stating nothing. I am in an industry slated to grow, am working at an internship, and still, I get a three line form e-mail. Sometimes. The only way that I can figure to get any attention from HR is to be annoying. Other than that, HR seems like a bunch of people who don't know what they are hiring for, and just know how to read a sentence, and look for that same sentence in a resume. So frustrating. If someone doesn't come in for an interview, I would not hire them. But why not at least tell them why they aren't hired?
- —Guest MN Entry Level
Strange but true...
- I've had parents come in with their teenager in toe asking for a job for their child, parents asking for applications for their child, young people state that their parents are friends with the "big wigs", etc. It contributes to a stereotype of lazy, babied Gen Y's, unfortunately. Youth can bring new perspectives to work but when you've had a negative experience with a couple you don't always have the appetite to try again. As for being over qualified? I just landed a job after a search (which, by the way, job hunting is the hardest job to do!). My thought has been that if you are applying for something "beneath" you, that is your choice and you deserve to be considered. Since I'm an HR person though, a lot of comments in the article make sense as well. With the job market as it is, it is hard for everyone. Good luck to the job seekers out there!
- —Guest Wemac
To All in HR
- I am a highly skilled and decently qualified individual, but here is the problem. All of the people that posted below me. I have never had an interview with a single person that knew jack beyond pressing the power button, and I get to deal with you under-qualified, head-up-arse HR representatives for every single job I apply for. The fact is, I can't stand any of you, and all of your comments sound like you're the princess complaining about a pea. YOU HAVE JOBS. WE DO NOT. We'd gladly trade places, if you find your job truly THAT unbearable.
- —Guest Enraged
What Employers Hate About Job Seekers
- In a recent interview that l conducted for the junior supervisor job, shorlisted candidates are mostly selected by recommendations from their supervisors, l found that most of them did not have good command of English, the 2nd language of our country, as required for the job. Candidates did not portray themselves as having the initiative to undertake English classes, and so on and so forth, to enable the upgrade of their language command.
- —Guest norliah
Follow up calls and emails
- To Guest Kim: Maybe you should act like YOU are not at the center of the world. Just so you know, us job seekers really want nothing to do with you after we actually get the job. You just happen to be one of the hoops we unfortunately have to jump through.
- —Guest jsjob
Follow Up Calls and Emails
- I receive a resume via email at 11 pm. The next morning at 8:30 I receive a follow up phone call. Do they think they are the ONLY person sending a resume in for the jobs I have posted?
- —Guest Kim
Response to Laura Harris
- Laura, did you ever think that maybe people are seeking lower level jobs because they NEED MONEY and no one else is hiring? It's called a "weak economy."
- —Guest jake