CV's mistakes

This is a bit of a perennial as crops up seemingly once a year. However these posts always get good feedback. More seriously they also tend to get recruiters talking about issues and problems. Its anecdotal at the moment but we are hearing from partners, clients and others in recruitment a fair bit about candidate presentation and interviewing skills slipping from what they were in the past. Do the experiences in this post resonate with your experience? Have you seen standards change - let us know as if it gets good feedback we will do a post on this topic.
Given most of those reading this are professional HR and Recruitment people I think we can take it as a given that making a good impression is key for candidates. However sometimes we do come across some real howlers. The odd mistake can be perhaps forgiven especially when looking for roles that don’t require top levels of communication ability or education but sometimes...?! There have been some great ones we have come across recently however here are some studies that we have highlighted that were done that have highlighted this issue (you can find details on the websites of both organisations).

Firstly CareerBuilder in the US (some great resources on the site BTW) . A study commissioned by them of more than 2,600 employers nationwide revealed a selection of interview gaffs:

  • A candidate who said the more you paid him, the harder he worked.
  • Candidate who was fired from different jobs, but included each one as a reference.
  • A candidate said he just wanted an opportunity to show off his new tie.
  • A dog being listed as a reference.
  • The candidate who said that he would be a “good asset to the company,” but failed to include the “et” in the word “asset.”
  • Candidate used first name only - no surname.
  • A candidate who insisted that the company pay to interview him because his time was valuable.
  • The candidate who shipped a lemon with his CV, stating “I am not a lemon.”
  • A candidate who stated that he was arrested for assaulting his previous boss.

Now the above probably represent some of the more extreme situations and we can all have a good laugh about them confident we are unlikely to see such extremes. However another US study threw up some other more common behaviours. The percentages are the proportion of employers saying they had seen such behaviours in interviews themselves:
  • Answering a cell phone or texting during the interview — 71 percent
  • Dressing inappropriately — 69 percent
  • Appearing disinterested — 69 percent
  • Appearing arrogant — 66 percent
  • Speaking negatively about a current or previous employer — 63 percent
  • Chewing gum — 59 percent
  • Not providing specific answers — 35 percent
  • Not asking good questions — 32 percent

Here is a top 10 from a study done by Readers Digest of recruiters and human-resources professionals that revealed common blunders by candidates.
  1. ''My alarm clock didn't go off!''
  2. Treating the secretary with disrespect
  3. "Sorry, I haven't had time to google you yet."
  4. "I single-handedly doubled my company's profits last year." Yeah right...
  5. The salary minefield - best one being "I wouldn't come for anything less than X amount."
  6. "My last boss was such a jerk!"
  7. ''You mean this is not a therapy session?'' - No, its an Interview...
  8. ''I don't really have any weaknesses.'' Hummm...
  9. Rambling on and on...
  10. Desperation - its not a good look...

You can find more details on these studies on the CareerBuilder and Readers Digest sites.
We know posts around interviewing and selection techniques are popular so we will look to put together a more in-depth post later in the year. If you do have some of your own personal stories do let us know - anonymity will be respected if we use them.