Screening job candidates is not a fun job, but someone has got to do it. This is the act of noting little things to either disqualify or push a candidate on to the next step in the hiring process. When I was an assistant manager of a retail store in the mall, I had to screen candidates when they dropped off their resume on a weekly basis. This was necessary because at hiring time I needed something to help me when sorting through piles of over 150 resumes at once. I used my first impression of a candidate to guide me in selecting which candidates to interview. Here are the top reasons why I would pass on a candidate:
They did not dress the part. They would come in dressed in their casual jeans and t-shirt giving off the impression that applying for work was an after thought. Or, they would come in dressed way too professional and I just could not picture them working in our store.
They had a bad attitude. It was unbelievable some of the attitudes I’ve encountered from people dropping off a resume. Some gave off the impression of, “I’m to good for this place” and others, “I really don’t want to work here, but you’ll do.” If a candidate didn’t really want a job in our store, it would show.
They brought someone with them. There is nothing that says, “unprofessional” like a candidate that shows up with their BFF, or worse – their mother! It gave off the impression that the candidates were not mature enough or self-confident enough to look for work on their own. Both were not traits I was looking for in an employee.
They were unprepared. Candidates that showed up with no resume and asked for an application were one thing. Those that then proceeded to ask for a pen, and then fill out the application on our counter, while I was trying to serve customers was another. I would ask them to please take the application with them and return it with a resume at a later time when they were ready to apply.
They treated staff like they were unimportant. Of course, resumes should be handed in to the hiring manager. But, if that individual is not available, the resume should be given to a staff member or the candidate should return at a later date. Those that treated the staff like they were unimportant gave off the impression that they were not a team player, and the staff let me know which candidates they did not want to work with.
They came at the busiest time of the day and week. Honestly I just didn’t have time for candidates that didn’t respect the stores needs. If I didn’t have time for them, their resume would get shoved in a drawer until a later time. That person had little chance of standing out as someone I would want to work with when it came time to review resumes.
They had little or no availability. If it wasn’t a busy time in the store, I would spend a couple minutes asking the candidate what they were looking for in a job. Simple questions really. But, if it appeared that they really didn’t have time to work, and were on a tight schedule I would move on to the next candidate. We needed people that would arrange their life so they could work, not ones that we had to arrange our work to suit them.
To sum it up, when a candidate is applying for work they should dress like they want a job at the place they are applying, go alone at a quiet work time of the day while the hiring manager is working, be prepared with a resume and application and actually be available to work. One last thing – smile!
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This article was written by career development practitioner and consultant Miranda Vande Kuyt.