HR Strange But True!
May 26, 2006

If you think some of your company's job candidates are something less than primped and prepped, you're not alone.

OfficeTeam, a staffing service specializing in the placement of administrative professionals, recently asked office professionals to recount the biggest job search blunders they had heard of or witnessed firsthand. Some of the more common responses included over- or underselling one's skills during interviews or on résumés, not researching the company, complaining about former employers, and treating clerical staff poorly.

And there were some doozies, too. The question "What is the biggest mistake you've heard of someone making during his or her job search?" elicited some interesting responses:

  • I don't do interview questions: "An applicant came in with his recruiter and had the recruiter answer the questions."
  • Honesty is not always the best policy: "When asked what he had been doing while unemployed, the applicant said, 'Staying home and watching TV.'"
  • Hold the juice: "One gentleman submitted a résumé that contained misspelled words and an orange juice stain."
  • Honesty is not always the best policy, part 2: "A jobseeker wrote on her application, 'My boss was a jerk so I quit.'"
  • But my bowling shirt was in the wash: "Applicants have shown up in torn shirts, blue jeans, and flip flops."
  • I hope you brought enough for everyone: "I interviewed someone who had a jawbreaker in her mouth during the entire interview."
  • Honesty is not always the best policy, part 3: "During an interview, when asked what his greatest faults were, an applicant gave too many answers. He kept going and going and going."
"Jobseekers are being evaluated from the moment they submit a resume," said Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam. "It's critical that applicants behave professionally and treat everyone they encounter, from the receptionist to the person they bump into in the elevator, as someone who may weigh in on the hiring decision."

Poor communication etiquette was a mistake frequently cited by survey respondents, including applicants following up too frequently, failing to return calls or show interest in the job, and talking too much or too little during the interview.

Other behavior that left a negative impression included jobseekers who admitted they were only interested in the money, failed to research the company or learn the interviewer's name, or were discourteous to the office receptionist when calling or visiting a prospective employer.

Source: OfficeTeam

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