Denise Atkinson and Sara Mojena

Throughout the job application process, recruiters are measuring much more than your work experience. From the moment you submit your resume, all eyes are on the way you present yourself: on paper, in person, online, and on the phone.

To find out what behaviors are a turnoff—and what might stop candidates from advancing in the hiring process—we chatted with two recruiters from Crystal Run Healthcare, a healthcare provider that has hired Jobs Waiting graduates in locations throughout the Hudson Valley.

Denise Atkinson, Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist, and Sarah Mojena, Talent Acquisition Specialist, are part of a team that handles a caseload of 150 to 180 open jobs per week. They may receive up to 300 applications per job and sometimes have as little as 30 seconds to review an individual resume. What that means for candidates is that you have precious little time to make a stellar first impression, and no room for mistakes.

Here’s some advice they have on what NOT to do when looking for a job:

1. Overstate your qualifications: Lying about your credentials never pays off. Also, don’t apply for jobs for which you do not meet the minimum requirements. In our job application system, we’re able to see all of the positions for which candidates apply; if you have applied for 40 jobs but are only qualified for three of them, that’s a red flag for us. You can move up—we are huge on growth. You might start in patient services or our call center and gain experience before applying for higher level positions.

2. Understate your qualifications: Many employers use automated systems to save time in screening resume. If a position requires specific credentials or experience, your resume needs to match what we’re looking for. Make sure it states specific and relevant keywords such as “certified medical assistant,” if that’s what you have trained in and are applying for. Include all relevant work experience and training.

3. Show poor communication skills: If you’re attending a job fair, don’t approach the employer’s table, toss a resume down, and walk away. That will guarantee you won’t get a call back. Look recruiters in the eye, shake hands, listen, and ask questions.

4. Underdress: We make the effort to dress professionally and put our best foot forward when meeting candidates. We expect that effort to be matched.

5. Forget that the first impression is a lasting impression: Our hiring managers assume that candidates are presenting their best selves during an interview. So interviewees should know that the first impression is everything, and it is lasting. If you start off your interview by bad-mouthing your previous employer, we’re going to have a hard time forgetting that. It’s OK to explain why you left, or why a previous job wasn’t a good fit. Honesty works. But don’t let us read into it, be forthcoming.

6. Be unprofessional: When emailing an employer, remember that it is a professional communication. Do not use shorthand that you might use when texting a friend. Recruiters should not receive an email that says, “Hey...did u get my resume?” And it most definitely should not come from an email address that includes phrase like “sugarbuns.” When attaching your resume to an email, double-check that it is your resume, and not personal or sensitive documents, like divorce papers. (Yes, we have really encountered these situations.)

7. Copy and paste without proofreading: What’s great about online applications is the ability of the candidate to customize materials for specific positions and employers. But be careful and check it twice. Don’t address an application to Employer A by saying “Dear Employer B.” Copy and paste at your own risk!

8. Write really long cover letters: We don’t have time to read long cover letters, which we receive about 30 percent of the time. Resumes are most important. If we are interested in a candidate, we may follow up and read the letter to see how candidates differentiate themselves from the pack. Even then, short and concise is better.

9. Spam employers on LinkedIn: If you’re going to approach an employer via LinkedIn, keep it purposeful, and personal. Don’t send a recruiter an inbox message that says, “here’s my resume, what jobs do you have?” We expect you to do the research and match yourself to the opportunity. If you have a connection that you want to mention and you are qualified for a specific position, that’s different. But be patient. We receive requests to connect with up to 20 new people a day and may not respond right away.

 

 

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