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Turning recruiters on - and off

November 8 2012 - A survey by online recruiting software company Bullhorn defined five key candidate behaviors that turn recruiters off and have negative impacts on their chances of landing a job.

The survey of 1,500 recruiters and hiring managers showed that candidates who apply for jobs for which they were clearly unqualified are their number one turn offs. 30% of survey respondents rated this as number one peeve followed by:

  • Exaggerating qualifications on applications (21% of recruiters)
  • Focusing on salary more than any other job factors (15%)
  • Applying for a job that is way beyond their level of experience (13% of recruiters hate unrealistic applications the most)
  • Applicants who call/email more than once a week to find out what is happening with their applications (11%)

Gaps in employment

Recruiters mistrust gaps in employment records. If employment and education dates don't line up properly in an application:

  • 89% of respondents said that they would assume the candidate unemployed during those gaps
  • 47% of recruiters associated the title "self-employed" with unemployment
  • 42% thought that "independent consultants" were actually unemployed

Differentiating candidates

What sets one applicant apart from another with a similar background or qualifications?

  • 57% of recruiters strongly rated a candidate's personality fit with the hiring organization
  • Almost 50% said "how well they present themselves in interviews" would be very important
  • 32% would be impressed by the names of organizations where a candidate had worked previously
  • 29% rated being referred by a friend or colleague
  • Fewer than 4% said that "the name of the school they attended" would help truly differentiate an applicant

More positive points

Bullhorn also provide the following recommendations for job seekers:

Don't disguise enthusiasm: Less than 5% of recruiters said that "sounding and acting desperate to get a job" was the factor they disliked the most in applicants.

Don't stress, social media rating systems won't hold you back:Fewer than 7% of 663 people involved in recruiting for the marketing/PR/social media sectors evaluated candidates' Klout scores when deciding whether to follow-up applications. A Klout score is obtained from gathering information about individuals' social media activity on the web.

Be personable: Given a choice between "someone who is socially awkward and inexpressive with a genius IQ" and "someone who is highly sociable and collaborative with an average IQ," almost 95% of respondents chose the second option.

According to Art Papas, founder and CEO of Bullhorn:

"Some job candidates have no idea how their own behaviors can be a total turnoff to the recruiters who are trying to help them. The findings of our survey will hopefully not only help job seekers get inside the heads of recruiters to be able to better position themselves, but also help make the job of a recruiter a lot easier."

What Color Is Your Parachute?

What Color Is Your Parachute? 2022: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers
by Richard Nelson Bolles and Katherine Brooks
With more than 10 million copies sold in 28 countries, the world's most popular job-search book is updated for 2022. Katherine Brooks tailors the late Richard Bolles's long-trusted guidance with up-to-the-minute information and advice for today's job-hunters and career-changers.
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