Society For Human Resources Management surveyed 498 recruiting professionals from their membership on interviewing “do’s and don’ts” in mid September 2009.Â I found the results interesting and wanted to share some of my observations.
Again, the surveyed groups were recruiters and human resources professionals and I will always believe that they have a different agenda than operational, hiring managers.Â The former group tends to act as gatekeepers.Â At times, their objective is to both find a good fit and to reduce the pool of applicants. And I think this survey reflects that.Â But it also contradicts some of what I think to be true.
85% of recruiters preferred applicants either apply online at the company job portal or email their cover letter and resumes.Â Interestingly, only 5% of the respondents felt applying online through another organization’s website (Monster, perhaps?) was optimal.Â 3% felt regular mail was optimal.Â I think this reflects the current environment where huge numbers of people apply for every job posted by an organization.Â With hundreds of resumes flooding in, recruiters get overwhelmed.Â This particular result just validates that belief.
47% of those surveyed felt that listing “objective” at the top of the resume was irrelevant.Â I have always believed this.Â Frankly, when I read a resume, I could really care less what the person’s objective is.Â What I care about is what my needs and my company’s needs are.Â If you are using an objective statement to open your resume – can it.
There is this notion that first impressions are everything.Â Well, if first impressions are not everything, it is really, really close.Â According to this survey, 33% make their not to hire decision in under 5 minutes – 5 minutes.Â Another 30% make it within 15 minutes.Â Only 22% claimed not to make that decision during an interview.Â This is huge.Â You have 15 minutes to convince a recruiter to move you to next stage – to the next interview.
And in those first few moments, if you are dressed provocatively (whatever that means), 67% finds that a deal breaker with another 28% having problems with it.Â Does it surprise you to learn that dressing casually is a deal breaker for 27% and a problem for 68%?Â Yet, people continue to think that who they are is more important than the outside packaging.Â I get that, but for an interview, you must dress conservatively.Â You must wear business attire.Â You must not use perfumes and colognes.Â You must have personal grooming.Â You only have 15 minutes.
I had someone who was late 45 minutes to an interview.Â 97% responded that being late is either a deal breaker or a problem.Â There is no excuse for not being on time.Â There is no getting lost, no missing the bus, no nothing.
Half of those surveyed thought talking negatively about one’s former boss or job was a deal breaker.Â And nearly the other half thought it was a problem.Â 5% stated it was not a problem.Â What are the odds that your interviewer is in that 5%?Â Do not talk negatively about your past employer.Â No good can ever come of that.
I was surprised that most respondents cared little about an applicant demonstrating knowledge of the company.Â The top three traits/behavior that had the most positive impact were skills related to job, a good fit, and work ethic/professionalism.Â At less than 8%; good interview performance, knowledge of company, and knowledge of industry were in the bottom five.Â I actually do not find that surprising. Again, recruiters and human resources professionals are gatekeepers and this is their priority.
But for you, you must research both the company and the industry before going into an interview.Â It is a non-negotiable.
A few last results:
1.Â Do not use the phrase, “this is my dream job.”Â 69% view that statement negatively.
2.Â After considering skills and qualifications, 64% hire on chemistry.
3.Â 50% recommend sending thank you via email, while 28% recommend sending it regular mail.
4.Â 76% recommend calling/emailing for status only once or once a week. Evidently, calling every other day is a bother – go figure.
As in all things, these results need to be taken with a grain of salt.Â When I last interviewed for a position, I went in with different sets of questions for the different interviewers. The key is to understand who you are meeting with and what your objective is.Â With the HR professional, your objective is not to get hired, but to avoid being put on the list of “do not hire.”Â You simply want to move on to the next stage.