Hiring managers are there to help you get hired, but it would help you and them if you quit doing these six things. Why? These six things really annoy hiring managers, who just want to get new employees in and keep the ball rolling, but they can’t hire you in good conscience if you’re lazy or sloppy. Help them help you by avoiding these six bad habits.
1. Not following up after an interview. No matter how many interviews you have with how many people at a company, you should always, always send a thank you note, preferably handwritten, to any and everyone with whom you spoke. No one owes you a job, so you should be gracious to those who may offer one to you.
2. Being too persistent. Following up is great. Nagging is not. Following up two or three times, spaced out, after an interview isn’t bad, but emailing multiple times a week, stalking employees on LinkedIn, or popping up uninvited at company locations is awful. You want to look eager, not desperate.
3. Not following directions. If a hiring manager says to include a cover letter, include a damn cover letter. If hiring managers say to include both a resume and a CV, include both a resume and a CV, even if you think it’s redundant. If hiring managers give a specific email address to contact, use that email address—don’t stalk their personal or corporate accounts. My day job was recently hiring for reporter/producer positions for their website. I posted the listing on my alumni network’s Facebook account, instructing applicants to email me at [firstname.lastname@example.org]. I immediately deleted any Facebook messages that would-be hires sent me, because they didn’t follow my basic instructions. Sorry, not sorry.
4. Being uninformed about the company or product. Remember how my day job was hiring reporter/producers for the web? They’re not looking for television reporters, because, well, I don’t work for a television station. They were not looking for comedic sketch writers. Some people still emailed me looking to fill these positions that did not exist. Had they done a modicum of research, they may have been able to sway me to let them use their relevant experience to fill an opening, but they didn’t even bother to peruse the website for which they wanted to work. Why would I want this person to get hired? Why would I waste my time passing this person along to HR?
5. Not asking questions. You know how hiring managers or interviewers ask you, “So, do you have any questions for us?” You’re supposed to have a question or two for them. If they already answered them previously in your conversation, rephrase your original question to get extra clarification, or even just ask your interviewer about herself and her history at the company if you want. The point is to be engaged and invested.
6. When you’re way too casual and comfortable. No matter how friendly and cool hiring managers can seem, you should still behave like a professional who’s trying to get hired. Don’t write back with one-liners or slang.