We just completed another hiring cycle for our Customer Service Representative role here at Gym HQ. While I enjoy bringing in new, talented team members, I’ve become increasingly disappointed in some of the things I’ve noticed in the last year or so while recruiting. I can’t even claim to be surprised or shocked at this point as some of these have become the norm, especially for more entry level positions. As LinkedIn is regularly frequented by those seeking new employment opportunities, I thought it may be worthwhile to put together a list of don'ts for job seekers. You may think that many of these are common sense, but trust me; I can assure you they are not!
Take some time to proofread your resume.
Contrary to what’s acceptable in the texting world, the business world still takes the time to use capital letters and punctuation. Your resume is your potential employer’s first opportunity to review your writing skills. If you can’t be bothered to take the time to present a polished resume, it doesn’t speak well of the likelihood of you producing well-written work should you be hired.
Dress for success.
It’s always better to be over-dressed than under-dressed. We have a fairly casual dress code here at our office, but candidates don’t know this ahead of time. Don’t show up to an interview looking like you just breezed in on your way to hang with your friends. This really goes for any job. Even if you’d wear a hard hat and work boots daily once you land the job, show up to the interview in your best professional attire anyway.
Watch your language.
You may want to polish up your language prior to presenting yourself to your (maybe) future boss. The interview is not the place to use excessive slang or speak in a very relaxed, familiar manner. And it’s certainly not the place to use derogatory or offensive slurs even in the context of a story. Yes, that really happened—and the word was used not once, but twice over the course of the interview. Also, remain aware of your body language. Sit up straight and present an engaged demeanor.
Know when to stop talking.
Answer the questions asked of you thoughtfully and thoroughly, but keep your responses focused and concise. Don’t launch into long-winded stories meant to support your answers that really only serve to distract from reviewing your skills and qualifications.
Any responsible interviewer isn’t going to ask for much in the way of personal information—in fact most of these types of questions are expressly restricted by law. So don’t volunteer your entire life story. An interview isn’t the time to launch into full explanation of your personal finances and responsibilities. The interviewer shouldn’t be able to create a list of all your burdens and problems.
To end this post with some positivity, here are a few do’s to close us out:
Do take your job hunt seriously. Remember, you’re selling yourself and you want a buyer.
Do follow-up. A well-written thank-you email, complete with references, shows you’re both committed and courteous.
Do respond to the feedback your interviewer is providing—both spoken and unspoken. How are your answers being received? Do you need to change directions, clarify questions, or highlight additional skills that are relevant to the discussion?
Do know something about the position and company! If a position is important to you, show it. Walk in knowing as much about the company as some internet research allows. Be prepared with any questions to which you can’t find answers.
We’re very pleased with our new class of customer service dynamos! For all of you hiring managers and business owners, here’s to hoping that your next hunt is more diamonds than rough! And for all of you career seekers, good luck.