How not to apply for a job

Keith September 20th, 2008

I was reading somewhere online the other day about mistakes people make when applying for jobs. It reminded me of one episode some years ago – back when I was working in IT, and leading a small team.

Most times when we recruited new staff the process was fairly uneventful. Where it got interesting was the time that we advertised a new vacancy only about six months after a previous one.

The job descriptions for the advertised roles were pretty much the same each time. I noted that one of the applicants for the second vacancy was a guy that we didn’t even short-list for the first one. Let’s call him Mike.

Mike just didn’t seem to have what we were looking for the first time. When he applied the second time, he called me and said that he wouldn’t send me a copy of his CV, because he had: “already sent me one six months ago”.

I’m not sure that I was able to say much for the rest of the phone call. I also never found out if Mike was surprised when he again failed to make the short list…

Just this short exchange told me a lot about Mike. First, he wasn’t passionate enough about the job to be bothered sending a CV. Second, he had apparently achieved nothing over that six months that would convince me to short-list him this time. Third, he assumed that I bothered keeping the CVs of those that didn’t make the previous short list!

He made another mistake, as well. He never asked for a debrief on why he wasn’t selected for the job.

If you ever apply for a job, please don’t be like Mike.

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