Five Guaranteed Ways to Annoy a Recruiter: How to Minimize Your Chances of Getting the Job You Want

Michele Warg
Posted by

As a college student, you begin to work with recruiters for the first time in your career. Always remember that the recruiter is the gatekeeper for the hiring manager. Your first impression on a recruiter determines whether or not receive a phone call or invitation to a screening interview. Want to stay unemployed after graduation for awhile and live with Mom and Dad? Here are five easy ways to screw up that first impression and ensure that you never make it to the hiring manager's desk:
  1. Send Your Resume From a Lascivious Email Address like "SexyEyes4U" or "I'" Your resume will get a quick "delete" key. Is this fair? Yes...failing to think through how you're presenting yourself raises a huge red flag about your aptitude for professional judgment.

  2. Send a Resume With No Cover Letter, No Job Code. We have dozens of ads running simultaneously and we have no idea what you are applying for if you just email your resume to an address. Some sites tag your resume with a code, but don't leave it up to chance. This buckshot resume approach is especially annoying if you live in another state. I need to know what your relocation status is. Are you considering my city only if I pay relocation expenses? Moving here on your own and already have living arrangements lined up? I spent a lot of time crafting an ad to give you key information about my company and opportunities and I expect a couple of minutes of your time in return. Anticipating my questions will save us both time and speed you happily into the interview process.

  3. Send an Email Saying "Tell Me More." You just read a page about our company and the position and you expect me to spend one-on-one email time expounding on the information before I know that you are a viable candidate? flag for an employee who is likely to be dense about protocol and insensitive to others' work flows. Instead, send a resume with a cover letter explaining why my ad caught your attention, why your skills are a good fit, and politely expressing your desire to learn more about the position. Your resume is ALWAYS the first step so that the recruiter has some baseline information about your academic and work experience.

  4. Send Me Your Resume Attachment Titled "Resume." We get hundreds of Word documents a day all entitled "resume." This is a minor annoyance, but a very easy one for you to fix. Just name your resume file with your name so that we don't have to re-title it in order to retrieve it easily.

  5. No Show For An Interview. It takes approximately 3 minutes to phone or email a recruiter to cancel your appointment. When you no-show, you show a level of immaturity and disrespect for others' time that is unforgivable in a professional environment. We've learned that people who are unprofessional in the recruiting process tend to be bad hires. Many companies and recruiting firms red-flag the name of a no-show and leave it in the database so that you will never be considered by that firm in the future. What goes around, comes around.
-- Therese O'Brien is a veteran recruiter currently putting together sales teams in Denver for Rocky Mountain Alliance. For more information, she can be reached by email at

Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch