Candidate Mistakes

We payroll over 30,000 staff each week which means we’ve seen a lot of CVs and plenty of interviews, here are the most common mistakes job seekers make when applying for a new job.

  • Not tailoring your CV to the job in question.
  • Making the CV too long. Two pages are more than adequate to get all points across. Many recruiters will form an opinion based on what is in the top third of the first page.
  • Not enough keywords – if a CV is electronically searched it will be looking for keywords (many companies are now turning to technology to help them sift through all the applications and CVs they receive. If the key words don’t appear your CV could be missed.
  • Mentioning potential problems – A CV is devised to help you get an interview, don’t lie on your CV but tailor it to get key info across, if you have a big gap in your employment history be prepared to explain why.
  • Irrelevant content – information about hobbies and interests don’t need to be included unless they make you more marketable for the role (or it is your first role)
  • Supplying reference names – you want to be in control of your job search, the last thing you want is a prospective employer calling your current boss.
  • Spelling errors – a definite no, no.
  • Lying – you will be found out
  • Poor timekeeping – if you’re late for an interview an employer may assume you’ll be late for work. If lateness is unavoidable call and advise as soon as possible
  • Rudeness – be friendly to everyone you meet. Interviewers often canvas employees’ opinions. If you perform well in an interview but were rude to the receptionist it could ruin your chances as it shows rudeness outside of the situation in which you were trying to impress.
  • Negativity - don’t come across as a negative person. Where there are negatives try and turn them into positives, for example if you don’t like dealing with complaints it is fine to say this when asked, but give examples of how you deal with this and how you turned it into a positive.
  • Money talk – talking about salary before you have passed the first stage is a mistake. It is best to ask about company direction, structure and ability to do the job.
  • Over-familiarity – don’t be too informal, just because the interviewer appears relaxed, does not mean they are not judging you. It’s important to show personality as cultural fit is becoming increasingly important but try and keep it job related.
  • Not having researched the company - you need to know the companies position in the market place, what you will bring to the role etc.
  • Well presented - it’s not necessary to always wear a suit, this will depend on the industry you work in, for example suits aren’t usually necessary needed in creative industries but it is best to do your homework.