What DON’T Recruiters Really Want?

The Top 5 Turn-Offs For Recruiters and How to Avoid Them

According to a recent survey by Reed of over 300 businesses, the following are the top 5 turn-offs for recruiters and how to avoid them:

1. Bad CV presentation
Aside from the obvious (i.e. qualifications and previous experience), most recruiters indicated that presentation should take precedence. In fact, nearly half of those surveyed selected a logical order for presentation as the most important thing to consider on a CV.
Good formatting and appropriate length were also underlined by most hiring managers as pre-requisites, suggesting that even the best-written CV can be let down by poor presentation.
And if you’re wondering how long is too long, an overwhelming 91% of recruiters see a word document of two to three pages as the right way to go. Although obviously, it’s what you do with it that counts…

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2. Poor spelling and grammar
Over 50% of recruiters highlighted poor spelling and grammar as their number one application turn-off.
These are common bugbears for recruiters as not only do they demonstrate a lack of time and effort spent re-reading a CV or covering letter, they’re also relatively easily fixed.
In comparison, only one in four of those surveyed stated that an obvious lack of qualifications specific to the role was their main CV gripe.

3. ‘Socialising with friends’
For many hiring managers, there’s nothing worse than a generic CV.
With that in mind, one in three recruiters stated that their biggest pet-hate phrase is ‘I enjoy socialising with friends’.
This was closely followed by the similarly stock-statement ‘Good team player/good working in a team or as an individual’, with 28% of hiring managers surveyed identifying it as their own pet-peeve phrase.

4. Arriving late
42% of recruiters highlighted arriving late as their number one interview irritation.
Although it can’t always be helped, candidates arriving late can start their interview on the wrong foot and one in five hiring managers indicated experiencing this at some point during their career. For many, it’s those candidates nonchalantly arriving late without an apology which really gets their goat. Interviewees who have the courtesy to call ahead could just set themselves apart.
Aside from tardiness, an obvious lack of preparation for the interview came in second place, with one in four voting it their biggest interview faux-pas.

5. Weak handshake
Finally, the importance placed on positive body language (both in person and remotely) and a good handshake (post-Covid) should never be overlooked. They may seem like old-fashioned pre-Covid ideas but, for many recruiters, the right body language (even via Zoom/Team etc), still rings true and sends out a positive message about an interviewee. Unable or unwilling to maintain eye-contact probably comes in a close second.

In summary then, if you want to avoid the top 5 turn-offs for recruiters and make a good and lasting impression at your next interview:
1. Spend time on your CV – make sure it is well-presented, concise and error-free.
2. Avoid generic statements such as ‘socialising with friends’ and ‘good team player who works well in a team or on my own’. Instead, add interesting hobbies that could spark a conversation such as ‘cooking, wine-tasting or discovering new restaurants off the beaten track’, whatever, and ‘building rapport with teams and achieving/smashing performance goals’, or words to this effect.
3. Prepare well in advance for the interview. With information literally available at your fingertips, there’s absolutely no excuse for not being prepared.
4. Call ahead if you are delayed, or your internet isn’t working, and apologise for any inconvenience caused.
5. Ensure that you are polite, give a firm handshake (if Covid appropriate) and maintain eye contact with whoever is asking the questions. These tips apply just as well to remote interviews as well as in person.

Could it be that easy? Well, yes, it is. Knowing The Top 5 Turn-Offs For Recruiters and How to Avoid Them, half the battle is already won. Of course, your recruitment consultant is there to help you and they should be pointing out these things to you anyway. If they’re not, maybe consider registering with another agency. You can do that by clicking here.
Good luck!