Okay. So here’s what not to do. Don’t stalk or harass employers after applications or interviews. And whatever you do, don’t apply for jobs for which you are very clearly not even remotely qualified. Recruiters say that this annoys them so much that not only will they not hire you, they’ll also ban you from all future positions as well.

The online recruitment software company Bullhorn surveyed 1,500 recruiters and hiring managers and found that such irrelevant applications was the biggest turnoff for 30 percent of them. (And of that group, 43 percent said they would ‘blacklist’ those candidates from any other jobs too – by suppressing their names from even coming up in future resume searches.)

What else kills your chances of landing the job for some recruiters?

  • 21 percent said that candidates who exaggerate their qualifications on their resume are the worst.
  • 15 percent won’t hire a candidate who focuses on salary more than anything else about the job.
  • 13 percent are most bothered by candidates who apply to job postings for which they have not even close to the level of experience required.
  • 11 percent say that their biggest complaint is candidates who call or follow-up more than once a week for updates on the status of their application.

“Some job candidates have no idea how their own behaviors can be a total turnoff to the recruiters who are trying to help them,” said Art Papas, founder and CEO of Bullhorn. “The findings of our survey will hopefully not only help job seekers get inside the heads of recruiters to be able to better position themselves, but also help make the job of a recruiter a lot easier.”

The recruiters surveyed were also asked what factors would make them like a particular candidate more than others. Having a positive personal referral from a friend or coworker goes a long way with hiring managers. If you don’t have that, they recommend that you:

  • Be personable: When given a choice between “someone who is socially awkward with a genius IQ” and “someone who is highly-sociable and collaborative with an average IQ,” almost 95 percent of recruiters would choose the social candidate over the brilliant one.
  • Play it cool: Many recruiters said that “sounding and acting desperate to get a job” was a highly negative candidate behavior. It’s okay to be enthusiastic, but not needy.
  • Get along: Fifty-seven percent of recruiters say that how well a candidate will fit with the team culturally is a huge factor in the hiring decision.
  • Make a solid impression: Almost half say “how well they present themselves in interviews” is how candidates can set themselves apart.

Oh, and don’t worry too much about your social media rankings. Of the survey’s 663 respondents who recruit for the marketing/PR/social media industries, less than seven percent say they take a prospect’s Klout scores into consideration when deciding on their candidacy.

See also: Why only 2% of applicants are actually interviewed for the job


Peter Harris

Peter Harris on Twitter