There are “Red Flags” that professional talent recruiters look for when evaluating job candidates. Any one of these can get you stamped with REJECT before you even get a chance to interview.
1. You don’t make a good first impression
You don’t smile. Your handshake feels like a dead fish. You don’t know how to dress to impress. Your hygiene is Third World. You don’t speak with confidence…or well. You aren’t polite. You give the impression of being “a little off.”
You don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. And if you don’t impress the recruiter, she knows you won’t impress her client. BIG Red Flag.
2. You don’t respond promptly
Recruiters are very busy people with deadlines to meet. If you don’t respond quickly, a recruiter can’t respond quickly to her client. And you slip to the end of the candidate line. It’s also a Red Flag that you likely won’t perform well on the job. Leopards don’t change their spots.
A recruiter’s reputation…and career…is dependent upon the quality of the people he places, so recruiters are VERY careful about which candidates to support. If you don’t get back to them promptly, they won’t get back to you…ever.
3. There’s something “weird” about your personality
Everyone knows a work colleague or two or three or four who is “weird.” These are the misfits who usually manage to keep their job somehow, but don’t make many friends. They are anchors on the morale of the workforce. They are the gossipers, backstabbers, right-wing nuts, religious fanatics always trying to convert, moody non-communicators, and the creepy guy who lives with 35 cats. We all know a few.
But your recruiter doesn’t want to place people who aren’t capable, optimistic, friendly, NORMAL “people” persons. It just doesn’t reflect well on their decision-making. No one wants to have a client say “He has the skills, but the personality of the UnaBomber.”
4. You lie
Surveys show that 53% of all resumes have blatant lies on them and 78% are misleading. About experience. About education. About salary. About skills. About references. Sometimes even about age. 70% of college students surveyed said they would lie on a resume to get a job, according to Statistic Brain.
Don’t ever do this.
In order for your recruiter to do a good job for you and their client, you need to treat your recruiter the way you would an attorney or priest. Tell the truth…the good, the bad, and the ugly. Only then can he position you intelligently and with integrity.
If you were fired for beating up your last boss it might hinder your job search, but you will be found out at some point. Better to deal with it now in a straightforward manner than later. Who knows, maybe there was a good reason (like your psycho boss attacked you). Just know that felonies (about 7% of job applicants have one on their record) are frowned upon by most hiring authorities.
Some recruiters will take the time to help you finesse the rough spots in your career to position you at your best if they think you are a good candidate. If you refuse this help, it is a Red Flag.
5. Your social media skills suck
After 15 years in your secure lifetime job, you were let go because of (name any one of several dozen reasons). So NOW you realize how important it is to have a LinkedIn presence and some other social media skills. Sorry, but having just eight connections on LinkedIn (including your brother and mother) won’t cut it these days. It’s a Red Flag that says you haven’t kept your modern career management skills up-to-date.
With the advancement in technology and importance of networking, even if you are a heavy equipment operator it is important to stay current with career management skills.
6. You are pushy or desperate
You have been out of work for six months. And you are mad. And resentful. And desperate. If you show any these Red Flag attitudes to your recruiter she will cut you off like a malignant mole to save herself from a deadly candidate.
Do some meditation, inner work or self-delusion…whatever it takes to get your head back on straight. For recruiters, only positive, self-confident, friendly candidates need apply.
7. Your communication skills are awful
You mumble, speak like you were raised in the ghetto, don’t know the correct usage of words or talk too fast. You can’t write or spell. Your communication skills have been warped by texting or too much video. Or perhaps you just aren’t all that smart…that’s how you will be perceived if your communication skills are poor.
Communication skills are ranked among the top differentiating skills of the 21st Century workplace. If you don’t have them, it is a Red Flag to your recruiter. She knows you aren’t likely to succeed. And recruiters want to place candidates who are successful. Unfortunately, if you haven’t acquired decent communications skills by now, it’s already too late. Can’t speak or write intelligently? It’s a Red Flag.
8. You don’t do your homework
If you don’t already know something about the company you are going to interview at, then do some cramming and find out. Recruiters have little patience for candidates who don’t show enough initiative to learn about the company and the job they are applying for.
Take a couple hours to research the company online. Look at their competition. Read the latest annual report, if you can access one. Check out what current and former employees are saying about the company on Glassdoor. And check out the company (and key employees) on LinkedIn. Remember that “knowledge is power.”
If you are not willing to do your homework, it’s a Red Flag to recruiters.
9. You are too focused on you
If all you are interested in is how much you will make, the range of benefits, and your title at the company, most recruiters start seeing red…as in Red Flag.
Instead, focus on what you can do for the potential employer to ease their “pain” or help them become more successful. That is what will get you hired. If you do this well your recruiter will go to the mat for you to get that bigger salary, full benefits, and impressive title.
10. You have lousy manners
If you have poor manners, treat the receptionist with condescension or forget to send “thank you” letters, it’s a Red Flag. Your recruiter will match your lousy manners with a curt “no thanks.”
11. You think the recruiter’s job is to find you a job
Naïve job-seekers think that recruiters exist to find you a job. Not true. Their job is to find the most qualified candidates for open positions their clients have hired them to fill. If you have so little understanding of how recruiters work, it’s a Red Flag. Your recruiter doesn’t have the time to explain the process to you…and will simply move on to the next most capable candidate.
A key ingredient in career success is to learn how to manage your career. Recruiters often play critical roles in promoting the careers of proven or promising talent. In order to manage your career successfully, learn how recruiters work. Get to know several top recruiters (you can often connect with them on LinkedIn). Study up on what recruiters look for—and don’t look for—in their top talent. And most of all, don’t raise any Red Flags. In your career, Red Flags are the white flags of surrender.