I speak mostly about how to prepare or empower a candidate for his next career opportunity. As a resume specialist, I obviously impart a strong recommendation for creating and maintaining an ideal resume to capture the attention of a prospective opportunity. What I don’t speak about often is the binary positioning about what an ideal candidate looks like from the one doing the hiring or contracting.
I found this article in the sidebar of the Beyond.com job board, written by John Krautzel (whom I believe is a great source of career advice, and he’s been around for some time now). In his piece he offers some solid counsel for the candidate seeker. In equal measures, this article will serve as a valuable preparation tool for the candidate as well:
“No matter what position you’re filling, the standout job candidates should always have three things in common: knowledge, interest and openness. While you can’t gain a definitive picture of an applicant’s personality and work ethic from an interview, you can spot red flags that a potential hire isn’t pursuing the job for the right reasons. If you want to avoid costly hiring mistakes, stay alert to these signs of an unsuitable job candidate.
1. No Facts or Examples
Professionals who are confident about their skills aren’t reluctant to back up their claims with facts. Be suspicious of applicants who are vague about their past roles and accomplishments, especially if they don’t provide examples when asked. Fitting the most relevant and impressive information into a resume is a constant struggle, and job candidates who want an advantage use the interview to highlight past experiences when they excelled and developed valuable skills.
2. Unfamiliar With the Company
Failure to research the company is a red flag that a job candidate doesn’t care where he works or only sees the position as a temporary stepping stone. Job seekers can easily research most reputable companies before applying, and professionals who are serious about making good career choices want to find an environment, duties and benefits that are compatible with their goals.
3. No Questions or Inappropriate Questions
Asking questions isn’t just a formality. Probing for information shows that a job candidate has thought about how the position functions in the company and wants to understand how the employer’s daily operations compare to those of other businesses. Be wary of job seekers who are only concerned about salary and benefits. Some may be excellent performers, but they might not stick around if they get better offers.
4. Unexplained Career Path
Whether or not a job candidate’s career path is linear, he should be able to explain how and why he progressed from one stage to the next. A cohesive narrative is a sign that a professional is self-aware, capable of clarifying past career choices and articulating goals for the future. While many candidates find it difficult to talk about themselves, they should be able to clear up any information in their resumes when prompted.
5. Hostile Attitude
Both job seekers and employers have a right to learn more about one another, making it unreasonable for job candidates to behave aggressively when asked questions. As long as interviewers don’t venture into illegal territory, applicants should feel comfortable being open about their work history, interests and previous employers. If hostile applicants also speak negatively about past jobs or bosses, assume they have a history of blaming others, and move on.
Few recruiters have a perfect, no-fail method for hunting down the best job candidates, so strong applicants are bound to be overlooked from time to time. However, you can reduce your employer’s chances of making a bad hire by ruling out job candidates who show a lack of effort and engagement in the early stages of the hiring process.”
Best in your search,