Attention job candidates: If you missed your chance to get a costume this year, don’t worry – you don’t need one to be scary. Hiring managers see a lot of frightening things on resumes, applications, and even their office doors during the hiring process. Candidates need to know what those terrifying behaviors are in order to avoid them.
In all seriousness, the recruitment process is one of immense integrity and professionalism. However, there are a number of subtle actions candidates might take that can seriously conflict with those values. Here are ten scary candidate situations that will, without question, frighten any hiring manger away:
1. Ghosts: Being Too Transparent During the Job Interview
Candidates can sometimes be too transparent about their past job challenges and personal lives during interviews. It comes across as exceedingly unprofessional if you start telling your interviewer about your recent breakup, car issues, or a personal conflict you had in your last role. It can also put the interviewer in a pretty uncomfortable situation. While there is a personal aspect to every business relationship, you don’t want to bring it on full throttle in the very first interview.
2. Vampires: Stalking Your Prey – the Hiring Manager
It’s great to take an interest in the person who has the power to bring you on board with a company. However, engaging with personal social media accounts is a different level and might come across as fairly creepy. Similarly, if you’re in the midst of the interview process, don’t inundate the people making hiring decisions with unsolicited emails or communication except around next steps. While follow-up is important, it’s more important to not scare people away with too much of it.
3. Zombies: Playing the Lazy Card
If you ever need to wake up, it’s during an interview. Many candidates play it too cool during the hiring process, and believe it or not, that can actually be a scary thing to witness on the hiring side. Does that laid-back approach reflect the type of work habits people can expect from you? That’s a serious question any hiring manager will ask themselves about candidates who appear to be “dead.” Being energetic and engaging and asking questions is a sure-fire way to prove you’re no zombie.
4. Magicians: Playing Tricks Is a Risky Business
Out of this hat, the hiring manager pulls … a bad candidate? Untruths and “tricks” are major red flags to any hiring manager. Be upfront about everything during the interview. Don’t mess around with things like start date availability, compensation expectations, etc. You’ll often have to interview with more than just one person for an open position, which is why it’s important to make sure that you’re relaying the same information to everyone you come into contact with during the hiring process. Eyebrows will be raised if the hiring team is getting mixed messages from you.
5. Spiders: Spinning a Web of Lies
Perhaps the scariest thing any candidate can do is lie on their resume. According to a HireRight survey, 88 percent of employers have found a misrepresentation or outright lie on a resume. That raises serious alarms. If you have an employment gap, just be open about it on your resume. It’s never a good idea to fudge dates. Similarly, don’t make up references, because hiring managers will make those calls. No matter how small the lie might be, it’s never okay, and it will surely get your resume kicked out of the pile.
6. Devils: Showing Your True Colors
When you go into any company for an interview, you are leaving an impression with everyone who works there, not just the people doing the interviewing. Two-faced people are a freaky thing for the hiring team to encounter.
7. Bats: Taking Flight
In most cases, candidates are eagerly awaiting next steps and in regular communication with the hiring manager. However, sometimes candidates simply disappear – never following up after the first interview or responding to hiring managers’ communication efforts. Don’t make the company go searching. Let them know how much you want to work for them, or, if you’ve decided on a different option, let them know. You never know if you’ll come across that person again. Remember: Most companies have a hiring timeline they’re looking to adhere to. Don’t be the kink in that process.
8. Skeletons: Being Too Fragile
The hiring process can be an emotionally exhausting experience. Some might have moments of self-doubt and frustration. This is especially true when you don’t get the job. Don’t be fooled though: Actions you take directly after a rejection are also part of the hiring process. People who send emotionally charged emails to hiring managers or companies after being rejected are the least likely to ever get asked back for a future open position. Self-control is a necessity in pretty much every job.
9. Werewolves: Changing Appearances
It goes without saying that your appearance factors into making a good impression. Often, candidates show up very presentable to their first in-person interviews. Don’t fall into bad habits in subsequent interviews and scare people away with a disheveled appearance. Always put your best foot forward.
10. Wizards: You’re Too Wise for Questions
Wizards are known for being wise, but if you have an answer for everything during an interview and don’t ask any questions, you’re doing something wrong. Hiring managers will be extremely skeptical of any candidate who seems to have all the answers. Don’t be that person.
Halloween is just one day a year, but being a scary candidate is something we’re all vulnerable to every day if we’re not careful. The hiring process is intense, but that’s all the more reason to get acquainted with the many ways in which you can unwittingly scare away the people making the hiring decisions.
Don Charlton is CPO and founder of Jazz.