Besides the obvious (you’re not a fit for the requirements of the role), here are 7 things that many people keep doing and they don’t realize that it affects their job prospects.
- Your email address. Real simple, for 99% of people, you should use gmail, especially if you are applying for a technical or creative role. If someone has a hotmail or msn or their ISP’s included address, it’s a huge red flag to some employers that the candidates simple does not keep up with current technology.
- Your browser. This generally only applies to jobs where you have to fill out an online application. The company can tell what browser you are using and they have good reason to discriminate on this basis. A research study showed that employees that used Chrome or Firefox stayed at their role for 15% longer than employees who used IE/Edge/Safari. They also performed better at their job. Read more about it: https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/03/people-who-use-firefox-or-chrome-are-better-employees/387781/
- You have a weird title. Some companies have a lot of internal rules (we’ll get into this later), but something that many people miss is that they feel their funky/fun/hip title will transfer over to the blue chip company. It won’t. You may have effectively been the VP of Sales at your very successful startup, but if your title is Chief Customer Happiness Officer, well then IBM isn’t going to hire you and most other companies won’t take the risk. People are always thinking CYA (cover your ass). If they hire you and you fail, they will then have to explain why they didn’t hire a traditional VP of Sales.
- You have some red flags that you think are minor. You might forget that everything in an interview gets amplified by 10 in the mind of the interviewer. You casually mention in the interview that you are a vegetarian, or you ride horses, or have a cause that you are passionate about. What the interviewer hears is “Great, we have to change the whole company lunch menu,” “Is he/she going to smell like a horse,” and finally “great, my employee is going to be out on street corners protesting their cause and embarrassing the company.” None of these are likely true, but they have to extrapolate your behavior in an hour to your potential behavior across years at the company.
- You failed to write in something (really good) on your resume that you then mentioned in the interview. So you were just at a startup and helped them grow from $1M in revenue to $50M in revenue. Great job, why didn’t you list that on your resume? The interviewer is going to think 1. You are stupid for not mentioning that or 2. It’s not true and you are lying about because you don’t want it in writing. Either way, not good.
- You wouldn’t share your previous salary (even if you live somewhere that it’s an illegal interview question). I will be writing about this in detail later, but for now I’ll just say you are almost always going to be better off sharing your salary history than not. Something many potential employees don’t realize is that putting together a job offer and getting it all approved sometimes takes a lot of work and a lot of people had to sign off on it. So they REALLY don’t want to give an offer to someone unless they know that person is going to accept it. Maybe you want to offer the person about $100K for a job but you have no idea if they are making $80K or $150K at their current role. They are not going to blindly just offer you $100K and risk that you might be insulted and turn it down. Guess what, if you make $80K and the job pays $100K, they are still almost always going to offer you the $100K! If you currently make $150K and you are a great candidate? Well then they might pay you $160K. If you don’t give them any guidance though, they likely aren’t going to make an offer.
- Your social media profile. Frankly, most companies don’t care what you do in your spare time as long as it’s something that won’t disturb your work. What they do care about is how you present yourself on social media though, specifically what you make public. Easiest way around this, just keep everything private and keep the profile pictures tasteful. Delete tweets that have any sort of strong position – remember that the company amplifies everything they find. They find one strong political tweet? You’re an activist in their eyes.