Episode #59 – The Biggest Mistakes Job Seekers Make During the Hiring Process

The Biggest Mistakes Job Seekers Make During the Hiring Process

Sharita: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, search consultant Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both companies and job seekers in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary organizations acquire top talent, while helping Animal Health and Veterinary Professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast, we’ll be talking about the biggest mistakes that job seekers and candidates make during the hiring process. Welcome, Stacy. Thank you for joining us.

Stacy: Hello, Sharita. I’m glad to be here today.

Sharita: We’ve talked a lot about the right way and the wrong way to do things in our podcast, and that includes from the perspective of both the employer and also the job seeker or candidate. Today, though, we’re going to focus on the job seeker side of things and discuss mistakes that they make during the hiring process.

Stacy: Yes, that’s correct. However, before we begin, I want to mention one mistake that we won’t be addressing. Actually, I am addressing it right now, but it won’t be part of our official list.

Sharita: What mistake is that?

Stacy: That mistake is lying or being dishonest.

Sharita: That seems like a pretty big mistake. Why are you addressing it now, at the outset of today’s episode, and not as part of the list?

Stacy: It should be a foregone conclusion that you should not lie or be dishonest as a job seeker or candidate. And that applies to every part of the hiring process. You should not lie on your resume, and you should not lie during the interview.

Sharita: But this does happen from time to time, correct?

Stacy: Unfortunately, it does. Being honest and showing integrity is always the best policy. It’s the best way you can possibly brand yourself to a potential new employer. I’ve written and talked about this until I’m blue in the face, so I just wanted to get it out of the way up front before we got into our list.

Sharita: Well, that certainly makes sense. Speaking of that list, what’s the first item on it?

Stacy: The first mistake on our list involves a situation in which a job seeker or candidate has had contact with a recruiter, something we’ve touched upon before in a previous podcast episode. That mistake is trying to go around the recruiter, directly to the hiring manager. This usually happens when a recruiter contacts a candidate about an opportunity and the candidate says they’re not interested. Then, through some research, the candidate finds out the name of the employer and reaches out to the hiring manager themselves.

Sharita: And why is this a mistake?

Stacy: Candidates sometimes think they’re being strategic by going around the recruiter. They assume that the organization would rather not pay a recruiting fee and if they go around the recruiter, they’ll be given special preference because they won’t have a fee attached to them. Nothing could be further from the truth.

What job seekers fail to realize is that the organization hired the recruiter for a reason. That reason is the hiring manager trusts the recruiter. More than likely, the hiring manager has no idea who the candidate even is. I’ve seen this happen many times.

Sharita: And what is the result of this situation?

Stacy: The hiring manager usually calls or emails me and they ask, “What’s the deal with this person? What are they doing?” When a job seeker does this, all they accomplish is bringing their candidacy into question.

Sharita: They’re basically “shooting themselves in the foot,” aren’t they? What’s the next item on our list?

Stacy: The next item is trying to do an “off the cuff’ interview. In other words, showing up for a face-to-face interview without being prepared for it. I’ve also witnessed this many times in my career. Despite the careful instruction that I give to a candidate regarding their interview and despite the fact that I encourage them to prepare, they simply don’t do it.

Sharita: What happens in this situation?

Stacy: Once again, the hiring manager contacts me to let me know what happened. In some cases, they say that they liked the candidate, but they were put off by the fact they tried to do the interview “off the cuff” with no preparation. If you’re a candidate and you try to do this, you’re not showing how intelligent you are. In fact, you give the hiring manager and anybody else conducting the interview an impression that’s quite the opposite. Once I had a candidate do a phone interview while she was shopping in the Gap and the hiring manager picked up on the fact the candidate was distracted during the phone interview. The candidate knew about the phone interview for days so why didn’t she take the phone call from her home? To this day I don’t understand why someone would do a phone interview while they are out shopping and distracted.

Phone interviews and especially The face-to-face interview are some of the most important parts of the hiring process. More than anything else, it determines whether or not you receive an offer of employment. That’s why you should fully prepare for any interviews and be focused during them.

Sharita: What’s next on our list?

Stacy: The next mistake is what I like to call “ghosting” on the offer of employment.

Sharita: Now what does that mean?

Stacy: Let me illustrate with a story. This is a case study that happened recently.

One of my clients extended an offer of employment to a candidate that I had presented to the client. The candidate told me that he would give me an answer within 48 hours. But . . . he disappeared. Forty-eight hours went by. We did not hear from him. A week went by. We did not hear from him. I called him, left voicemail messages, and emailed him. Nothing. He apparently just disappeared into thin air.

That’s what I mean by “ghosting” on a job offer.

Sharita: I imagine this creates a lot of problems.

Stacy: Oh, yes it does. It all boils down to a matter of professional courtesy.

If an Animal Health employer or a Veterinary employer has made you an offer, that means they’ve invested time and energy into you. Even more than that, they’re prepared to invest even more time and energy into you in the future. Your response to that should not be to just disappear. At the very least, you should pick up the phone and acknowledge their existence and yours, for that matter. It is called common courtesy and respect.

People have to remember that the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession are relatively small fields. Everyone knows everyone. I’ve addressed the issue of “burning bridges” before. If you “ghost” on a job offer from an employer, it’s not going to be forgotten. The recruiter working with you is not going to want to work with you in the future. In addition, the company that extended the offer is also not going to consider you for employment again in the future.

It’s like “burning two bridges” at the same time. But remarkably, it does happen. Believe it or not, though, it’s still not as bad as our next mistake.

Sharita: Which mistake is that?

Stacy: Flat-out not showing up for your first day of work. I’ve also witnessed this happen during my recruiting career. However, there was a story that a recruiter colleague of mine told me recently that really blew me away.

Sharita: What happened?

Stacy: A fellow recruiter colleague placed a candidate in a position with one of his clients. That candidate’s first day of work was scheduled to be on a Monday. All pretty normal up until this point.

Monday came and went, but the candidate did not show up for work to start her new job. Of course, the recruiter’s client let them know about the situation. So the recruiter called the candidate to check on her, but the candidate did not answer. My recruiter colleague became worried, wondering if something had happened to the candidate.

Sharita: The recruiter thought maybe she had been in an accident?

Stacy: Right, or that there was some sort of family emergency. So another day passed and the recruiter continued to call, but the candidate still did not answer. Eventually, my recruiter friend considered contacting the police and filing a missing person’s report!

In the end, though, my recruiter colleague had the phone number of the candidate’s father, so he called and expressed his concern. The candidate’s father said that he’d seen his daughter twice lately, including during a Father’s Day brunch two days previously.

Sharita: So there was no accident or emergency?

Stacy: Not according to the candidate’s father. And after my colleague hung up the phone with the father, the candidate called my recruiter friend 10 minutes later. As you might have already guessed, the candidate had received another offer after accepting the offer extended by the recruiter’s client. The candidate decided the second offer was better, accepted it, and then started employment with that organization.

Sharita: But the candidate did not call the recruiter or the employer to let them know what she had done?

Stacy: No, she had not, and that’s a costly mistake to make. Once again, you’re “burning two bridges” at the same time. The recruiter will never work with her again and the organization will never consider her for employment again. Basically, it’s like saying,
“Yes, I accept your offer of employment, unless my current employer or some other company I’m interviewing with offers me something better, in which case I will take their offer instead.” You just can’t do that.

Sharita: Wow, these last two mistakes have been really big ones.

Stacy: Yes, they are. And I emphasize to candidates that even though we’re in a candidates’ market right now, that does not give them permission to do things like this. Acting with integrity at all times is the most important thing that a job seeker or candidate can do during the hiring process. If you strive to always act with integrity, then you can’t go wrong . . . even if you don’t get the job.

Sharita: Stacy, thanks so much for all of this great information today.

Stacy: Thank you, Sharita. I look forward to our next podcast!