Habits that Really Annoy Recruiters

Job seekers do the darnedest things.


Like addressing a cover letter to “Ms. Kennedy” when the recruiter has a different name and gender. Or starting a phone interview by asking, “Now what job is this for?”

Most of us have pretty good ideas about what NOT to do in a job search, but recruiters can offer even better insights. In the latest edition of the Recruiter Roundtable on Yahoo! HotJobs, participants were asked to share their “pet peeves” about job seekers.  Their answers are very enlightening.

Nobody Is Perfect

The answer that surprised me most: Candidates who are perfect. In other words, people who don’t offer anything substantive when asked about their weaknesses in a job interview. Instead they say something like, “One area I could improve on is maybe working a little less.”

“People who are so insecure to admit their shortcomings or even their mistakes make me feel that they lack good emotional intelligence,” says Yves Lermusi, CEO of Checkster.

Granted, the “weakness question” is one of the worst, in my humble opinion. You do have to be very selective about how you answer it, and you’ve got to put the best positive “spin” on it.  Thus the answer often feels contrived, not genuine.

In fact, the topic was the focus of an earlier edition of the Roundtable.  The recruiters made some good points about the usefulness of the “weakness question” and how to answer it well.

Prevalent Pet Peeves

Here are a few more common job-seekers foibles that aggravate recruiters:

  • Not tailoring a resume and cover letter to the job description
  • Not spell-checking and grammar-checking a resume
  • Not doing enough research on the company or position

You’ll find more in the article, “Recruiters Reveal Pet Peeves About Job Seekers,” to keep you off a recruiter’s Wall of Shame.