How to Make Yourself an Undesirable Job Candidate

How to Make Yourself an Undesirable Job Candidate

Job interviews are a challenge, not only for the job seeker but also the hiring manager. As the hiring manager, my goal is to identify and hire a person who is talented, trainable, and deeply committed to the work that I was leading. If you are a leader, you know that the right person, and the wrong person for that matter, would make a day and night difference.

Because of this, I look at recruiting and interviewing to be critically important. Fundamentally, I am looking for a “fit.” This fit is not just a “talent fit”, but also a “relationship fit”. After all, statistics show that we spend 8 hours and 52 minutes at work each day; in contrast to 25 minutes to care for the family.

Here are ways to make yourself look like an undesirable job candidate by making a hiring manager seriously question if he/she should further progress your job candidacy.

1. No questions

When I am interviewed, I love the part when I am asked, “Do you have any questions for us?” Why? Because I always have a list of questions, whether the person interviewing me is the CEO or the HR generalist.

This is one chance for me to find out what the company is really about. What is the culture really like? What are the business challenges? And I get to find out “straight from the horse’s mouth”.

So, when my interviewer does not ask any questions, a lot of thoughts go through my mind. Does this interviewer think they know the company already? Aren’t they at least somewhat curious? Furthermore, if they really have no questions, why can’t they find some other way to engage me? It also gives the impression that they are a bit cold, unable to have a conversation, engage, and lead people somewhere.

2. Bad questions

Questions from the candidate reveal their interests and priorities. A bad question is a prelude to a candidate who is more than likely not a fit. Some bad questions that come to mind:

  • “If I’m hired, when can I start applying for other positions in the company?”

To me, this is a sign of a job hopper. I am not interested in hiring a job-hopper. I am not going to invest the time to train and equip this new employee if he is already planning an exit strategy.

  • “How quickly can I be promoted?”

When I hear this, I hear an opportunist rather than a team player. An opportunist is a poison to a team culture.

  • “Do you do background checks?”

I wonder what this person must be hiding.

3. Excuses

“Tell me about a time where you failed”. I love to ask this question. I want an employee who learns from past failures and challenges. I value a person who has scar tissue from the real world. However, some would focus on excuses and cast blame on the situation and environment that created the failure. These candidates will not make an ideal employee. They are unteachable. They are toxic to a collaborative work culture. No thank you.

4. Overly aggressive negotiation

When someone negotiates salary, benefits, or some other aspect of the role with over the top assertiveness, I quickly pull back. I think either:

  1. The person is not overly excited about the job as described.
  2. The person has an overly inflated ego and this will never end.

These are all signs indicative of a prima donna. No thank you. If you raise red flags in the ways mentioned above, you will become the undesirable job candidate. The company will assume you will prevent the organization from continuing down a path of success, and eventually deteriorate the team.

If you are interviewing for a job this week, and you want the job, do not make yourself undesirable by committing the mistakes mentioned above.

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