Survey Reveals Biggest Job Search Mishaps

MENLO PARK, CA -- While everyone makes mistakes, one of the most unfortunate times to do so is when applying for a job. OfficeTeam recently asked office professionals to recount the biggest job search blunders they had heard of or witnessed firsthand. Some of the more frequent responses related to over- or underselling one’s skills during interviews or on resumes, not researching the company, complaining about former employers and treating clerical staff poorly.

The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 508 individuals 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments.

Office workers were asked, “What is the biggest mistake you’ve heard of someone making during his or her job search?” Following are some of the responses:

  •  “Someone interviewed for a position and was not given the job. But he showed up anyway, saying, ‘Here I am!’”
  • “Someone tried to bribe me during the interview. She really wanted the job and asked how much she could pay me for it.”
  • “An applicant came in with his recruiter and had the recruiter answer the questions.”
  • “A job seeker didn’t hang up the phone after calling about a job. I overheard everything he said, and it wasn’t good.”
  • “One gentleman submitted a resume that contained misspelled words and an orange juice stain.”
  • “I interviewed someone who had a jawbreaker in her mouth during the entire interview.”
  • “When asked what he had been doing while unemployed, the applicant said, ‘Staying home and watching TV.’”
  • “I interviewed a person who was only interested in the benefits and salary, and not the details and responsibilities of the job. He had a ‘What’s in it for me?’ attitude.”
  • “One woman immediately described her faults to the interviewer and mentioned days she would need to take off.”
  • “Applicants have shown up in torn shirts, blue jeans and flip flops.”
  • “During an interview, when asked what his greatest faults were, an applicant gave too many answers. He kept going and going and going.”
  • “A job seeker wrote on her application, ‘My boss was a jerk so I quit.’”

“Job seekers are being evaluated from the moment they submit a resume,” said Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam. “It’s critical that applicants behave professionally and treat everyone they encounter, from the receptionist to the person they bump into in the elevator, as someone who may weigh in on the hiring decision.”

Poor communication etiquette was a mistake cited often by survey respondents, including applicants following up too frequently, failing to return calls or show interest in the job, and talking too much or too little during the interview.

Behavior that also left a bad impression included job seekers who admitted they were only interested in the money, failed to research the company or learn the interviewer’s name, or were discourteous to the office receptionist when calling or visiting a prospective employer.

“Hindsight is 20/20,” said Domeyer. “Learning from these examples will help professionals sidestep mistakes that can cost them a job offer.”

OfficeTeam provides the following tips to avoid embarrassing job search setbacks:

  • Spell it out. Confirm the correct spelling of the hiring manager’s name and his or her title so that you can address the cover letter appropriately.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Anticipate interview questions and prepare thoughtful answers.
  • Be honest. Always be truthful on your resume and in your interview.
  • Don’t ask what the company can do for you. Never inquire about salary or benefits in the first interview, unless your potential employer mentions them.
  • Accentuate the positive. Attitude is everything, and hiring managers will pick up on subtle cues, from your energy level and enthusiasm to the way you refer to your former employer.
  • Mind your manners. Request a business card from each interviewer so you can send a note expressing appreciation for his or her time. E-mail also is acceptable, but follow up with a formal card regardless.

OfficeTeam has more than 300 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at www.officeteam.com

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