How to Make Sure You Don't Get an Interview

  1. Refuse to follow instructions. I've been seeing a lot of gotcha questions within the application instructions to see if candidates are reading the whole thing. So this could be something as simple as using the font requested, to submitting any additional information the potential employer asks for. Candidates who are difficult in the beginning will get rejected in my book. Usually I will not send a person to a company if they are rude or difficult for no reason. This is not to say you should provide unusual or private information, but if a company wants more explanation on your qualifications, that means your resume might not have been clear, or maybe the HR person doesn't have a technical grasp on what you do. If you refuse reasonable requests you can bet you will be blacklisted. I don't care how great a person is technically, if they are a nightmare right off the bat I know they are not someone I want to present to my clients because those are the people that become nightmare employees and managers. At this stage everyone should be on their best behavior, so anything to suggest otherwise is a red flag. 
  2. Being rude to anyone. If you are not interested in hearing from a recruiter that's fine, but either don't answer your phone or a simple no thanks will do. It might surprise you but several times I've had some very rude responses followed up by a 'wait a minute, tell me more about this job'. I will entertain you for a few minutes but if you're rude before you understand what the call is about you can guess I'm not submitting you for the job. This goes for receptionists and anyone you come in contact with at the company if you get to the company's location. 
  3. Annoy your recruiter. I understand you are anxious about whether the company is interested, but the process can be long and involve a lot of layers of management at the company. Sometimes companies are lacking on the feedback, so I truly can't tell you what the status is. You can imagine how calling someone several times a day might make them change their mind about your professionalism. If you are selected for an interview or the company wants to make an offer you will know. As a general rule, don't annoy any gatekeepers.
  4. Get caught lying. I can do my own research and evaluation, but sometimes candidates do get away with some half truths. If you are claiming to work somewhere but you've recently been laid off, it's best to tell the recruiter. If you are purposefully misleading and it comes out later it can really mess up your chances at the job. I recommend doing freelance or contract work whenever possible if you find yourself laid off or fired. There are ways around being stigmatized for being unemployed if you're seeking a new job.  
  5. Don't check your references first. Have a friend or someone you know call your professional references first to make sure they will be truthful and not destructive to your job search. I have had people say not the greatest things when checking references. 

Stratus Search is a cybersecurity recruiting firm in the U.S. All blog articles are for entertainment purposes only and are not to be taken as legal advice. Contact Zach@stratussearch.com to submit your resume.