Bad grammar and a limp handshake: are these the signs you’ve picked the wrong applicant?

What do recruiters really want?

Whatever your area of expertise, when it comes to job applications and interviews, it seems some ‘pet hates’ are universal. Whether it’s a stock CV phrase or an interview bugbear, most hiring managers know exactly what they like and what they don’t like. According to a recent survey of over 300 recruiters, here are some of the biggest recruitment turn-offs and things they’re looking out for when considering a candidate.

Is poor spelling and grammar and a weak handshake really the recipe for candidate rejection?

  1. Bad 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.

 

  1. 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, 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.

 

  1. ‘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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. Weak handshake

Finally, the importance placed on positive body language and a good handshake should never be overlooked. They may seem like old-fashioned ideas but, for many recruiters, the right body language still rings true and sends out a positive message about an interviewee.

And if you’re wondering, 80% of you said you like it firm. The handshake obviously

About Steve Young

Steve Young is the Managing Partner of Downtown Recruitment who are based in Thame, Oxfordshire. Downtown Recruitment provide a wide variety of temporary and permanent staff to the local area covering a wide range of disciplines across the commercial and industrial sectors. View Downtown Recruitment's main website
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