No matter what you want to believe, you are never the only candidate a company is considering for an open position. If you go in to interview you need to put your best foot forward and be professional at every step. Only then will you will have a good shot at the jobs. However, there are some definite red flags that will turn employers off immediately. Here are several things that will make you look unprofessional and the right ways to avoid them.
- An unprofessional email address. Recruiters and hiring managers hate this. It is quite possible that they won’t even read your email. Whatever you do, don’t use a “cute” or worse, inappropriate, email address. If your email address is something like “iheartcats at email dot com” consider getting a free account from Google, Yahoo, or Hotmail and making it more appropriate. Use some combination of your first and last name instead.
- An unprofessional voice mail message. There are lots of examples of inappropriate voice mail messages that recruiters hear on a regular basis. Perhaps it is part of a song with raunchy lyrics. Or the voice of a small child. Or even the old dorm room standard; “Hello? …Hello? ….Hello? …Oh, haha, I’m not here right now – leave a message.” Don’t use these. If a recruiter makes that call they are not likely to leave a message. If you are looking for a job, change your voice mail to something basic such as “Hi, this is Sue and I’m not here right now. Please leave a message and I will call you back. Thanks!”
- Not proofreading. Everyone’s done it in an email and sometimes it is an unfortunate mistake, but do your best to curb those errors before they ever make it out of your sent mail box. Proofread your cover letter thoroughly. Read over your resume several times and even have someone else take a look.
- Don’t wing it. When you do score an interview, don’t show up to the meeting thinking you’ll just be able to charm them. Prepare before you go. Map the route and leave early enough to make it on time. Research the company so you can ask intelligent questions in the interview. A well prepared candidate is what the interviewer is looking for.
- Always send a thank you note. You might think this is antiquated advice, but it isn’t. You want to show the interview that you have excellent follow up skills. If you can or want to, go ahead and send a hand written note. Otherwise, it is totally okay to send an email after the interview. Recap what you spoke about, express an interest in the job, and even ask when you can expect to hear back.
Are you looking to work with recruiters who can help you prepare for your next interview? Contact CornerStone today!