The 5 Big Mistakes Candidates Make

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

If you’re looking for a job, you want to stand out as an exemplary candidate. There are loads of different ways to do this be it an incredible CV, outstanding work experience or a fantastic academic record. 

But all of this will be irrelevant if you make one or more of the mistakes below. Sadly, in our experience, lots of candidates do. It’s probably done unwittingly but can have a huge impact on career opportunities - and not just at entry level. 

These are the most common mistakes we see and you should avoid them at all costs.

#1. Manners, manners, manners

Please and thank you go a long way. If a recruiter, recruitment agency or job board has done something to help you, however small, acknowledge it and say thank you. You would be amazed how many candidates don’t do this and it leaves a very poor impression.

#2. Follow instructions

If a job advert specifies that you should submit a covering letter, submit it. Failure to follow a basic instruction suggests that you think you know better, can’t be bothered, or can’t be relied upon to do as you are asked. Not good but surprisingly common.

#3. Be responsive

If you have taken the time to submit an application, respond when it is followed up. Check your emails and voicemails every day and answer any messages within 24 hours. Even if you are no longer interested in the role, ignoring a recruiter is never a good idea. Recruiters have long memories and you may want to work with them in the future. 

#4. Start formal

Whilst most companies now adopt a fairly informal style, it is for them to set the tone, not you. Begin formally - start your correspondence with ‘Dear’ (not ‘Hi’) and take your cues from them regarding your style going forward. 

#5. Avoid negative communication cues

Would you interview someone with the email address 'hotstuff99'? Similarly, label your files sensibly - save your CV as ‘John Smith CV - Browns Ltd’ and not ‘cv all jobs final final final draft’. And always, always check your online presence and tidy up / lock down your social media before making an application. 

These things can make an enormous difference. Avoid the pitfalls and you will already be one step ahead of many candidates. Good luck!