Are you high maintenance? Do your friends tease you about being a “diva”? Is one of your favorite phrases “enough about you, let’s talk about me”?
If you answered “no,” check out the following behaviors, compiled from missteps of dozens of real-life job-seekers, for ideas guaranteed to make a negative impression on employers.
1. Get More Information Before Applying
Before you apply for a job, make sure you’re not wasting your time going after a position that’s beneath you. When you see an ad for a job that looks interesting, phone the employer and demand to speak with the person in charge of hiring. Once you have that person on the phone (if necessary, keep phoning until they agree to take your call), grill them about the job. Get answers to questions such as: “How much does it pay? How much vacation time will I get? How big will my office be?” and anything else that’s important to you. Finish by insisting that they fax or email the job description to you.
2. Create a Cover Letter That’s All About You
Start your cover letter with a strong statement such as “This is the type of position I’ve been looking for.” Then go on to explain what you want in a job. For example, “I am searching for a financially rewarding position where I can gain experience and pursue my interests.” Add that you see this job as a stepping-stone to something better. Even if they haven’t asked for salary expectations, tell them the minimum amount they’ll need to pay you “with benefits.” Better yet, don’t waste your valuable time writing a cover letter when anyone can see from your resume how lucky they would be to have you.
3. Show Them Who’s Boss During the Interview
Arrive late so you can avoid sitting around waiting for the interviewer. During the interview ask intelligent questions like “What does this company do?” When the interviewer describes what they do, respond: “Hiring me will help you people achieve some real success.” Explain how nothing they have been doing until this point has been particularly effective, which is why you’d never heard of them before you saw the ad for the job. If asked what you could do for them, answer with vague generalizations. Keep your cell phone on in case someone calls you during the interview with a better offer.
4. Follow-Up After the Interview
After the interview contact the interviewer and say you want feedback about how you did so they can reassure you that you did a great job. If the interviewer is reluctant to talk, pressure them to give you information. Contact them repeatedly if necessary. This information could be helpful to you in future job searches. Plus, if you don’t like what the interviewer has to say, you can argue that their assessment of you is wrong. If you argue strongly enough, maybe you can convince them to hire you. If an interviewer says they have given the job to someone else, insist they tell you why they chose that person instead of you. Then demand to speak to the company president to try to convince him to veto the interviewer’s decision and give you the job.
5. Make Them Notice You
If you fear they might not offer you the job, try to win them over by bringing gifts to the interviewer, the receptionist, and anyone else you met at the company. If you don’t get the first job you apply for, apply for every other job that opens up in the company that might be remotely related to anything you have ever had an interest in. Tell the interviewer “I’ll do anything to work with you.” Show up at networking events where you might be able to bump into the person who interviewed you, then corner him and ask when he’s going to hire you.
6. Keep Communicating
In short, phone and email repeatedly for any reason: to find out more about the job, to ask if they received your application, to ask what to wear to the interview, to ask for feedback after the interview, to find out if they received the thank you notes you sent, to find out when they’ll be making a decision, to demand an explanation for why they didn’t hire you, etc. In all your communications with the employer, talk at length about yourself and how you feel. The more you phone or email, the more they’ll remember you when they have a future job opening.
Of course these tactics will make an impression on an employer, but not the kind you want to make! In a future article we’ll offer tips for making a positive impression on prospective employers.