A survey of more than 1,700 companies released by recruiting firm Recruitment Revolution reveals the candidate behaviours that most annoy employers and cause people to miss out on jobs. Participants shared their biggest irritants in resumes and correspondence, at job interviews, and on the job.

Resume wrongs

LOL is no laughing matter. Of all of the recruiters surveyed, over 80% said that using any kind of emoticons or text-speak abbreviations such as thx (for thanks) or 2 (for to or too) is unacceptable. So while accepted industry terms such as SEO for search engine optimization are considered okay, in most cases, spell out the whole words.

And make sure the whole words are spelled correctly. The majority of employers said that finding a single spelling mistake in a resume would deter them from interviewing that candidate.

Also, don’t list inane pastimes as your hobbies such as ‘clubbing,’ ‘looking after my cats,’ or ‘watching reality TV.’ The vast majority of employers found these to be off-putting. While conventional career advice is to list activities which have some relevance to the job, this survey showed that employers don’t mind seeing things such as travel, sports and family time.

Three quarters of the employers surveyed said that they regularly screen potential candidates on social media sites. Facebook and LinkedIn are the most commonly referenced with Twitter and Google+ also being checked to a lesser extent.

Interview blunders

If you get past the resume and social media pitfalls, you get to face the in person scrutiny of a job interview. The most common reason that the employers surveyed said they wouldn’t hire a candidate is if they seemed to avoid making eye contact with them at the interview. The second most common blunder would be showing up with noticeable bad breath. Having confrontational or defensive body language were the third biggest candidate turn offs for employers.

“We hope that this snapshot of employers’ pet hates will help people to be more aware of how they present themselves online, on application forms and in person, so that they make the best impression with potential employers,” said Anna Taylor, the director of RecruitmentRevolution.com.

And once you’ve made that proper impression and landed the job, you still have to keep it. The survey also lists the most common behaviours from new employees that bother their bosses.

The five most annoying on-the-job traits:

1 Being late for work

2 Being rude to junior staff

3 Surfing the Web or social media sites during work hours

4 Making personal phone calls during work hours

5 Dressing inappropriately

Employers also said that it takes roughly a month for new hires to get up to speed and start making a valuable contribution to the business. You can download the full report from Recruitment Revolution here.

Peter Harris

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