A recent survey conducted by reed.co.uk reports 300 recruiters’ most off-putting application pet-peeves which can make the difference between you getting your dream job and being shooed away at the door. The results are fairly unsurprising but highlight easily avoidable application faux-pas that can be so commonly overlooked by applicants and are worth recognising.
Poor spelling and grammar on CVs were voted by over 50% of recruiters as “their number one application turn-off” as they indicate both a lack of time and care spent on an application and can usually be resolved with a little effort. Modern spellcheck provides little excuse for errors and if possible, a second pair of proof-reading eyes can be helpful before an application is submitted. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly by comparison, only 25% of recruiters voted a lack of relevant qualifications and background as most likely to inspire a decision to throw an application in the bin. Almost as important as what is written is how it is written with half of recruiters believing a crucial consideration for applicants when writing a CV is a good, logical presentation, ideally made in no more than two to three pages in an inoffensive font.
Also watch out for banalities so as to make your application stand out rather than boring the recruiter to tears. The survey quotes one in three recruiters’ “biggest pet-hate phrase” on a CV to be “I enjoy socialising with friends”, with almost as irritating being “good team player”. Avoiding hackneyed clichés is key with ‘socialising’ never counting as an ‘interest’ of note. If you are a team player, prove it with examples and find a more interesting pastime. Although a tall tale about being a kickboxing champion might be unwise, it would probably prove more eye-catching than one’s favourite activity being quoted as ‘shopping at weekends’.
When questioned on interview decorum, 42% of recruiters considered unannounced lateness to be the biggest annoyance at interview. However, Reed’s article did stress that advance warning and a legitimate excuse for delay was considered acceptable, which can help prevent one being marked out for the wrong reasons.
Finally, the survey highlighted the importance of being well presented, with “positive body language” and the all-important firm handshake which an overwhelming 80% of recruiters claimed to value: nobody likes shaking hands with a damp fish. That said pointed and macho bone crunchers are scarcely any better!
We have done some of our own digging at Prism and have come up with a few more application ‘no no’s’. Frequently slated were fibs and exaggeration on CVs as well as a lack of sufficient preparation before an interview.
With a little thought, application errors such as these can be avoided and bring you one step closer to the role of your dreams.