Applying to irrelevant jobs topped the list of pet peeves for 1,500 recruiters surveyed by the global leader in online recruitment software, Bullhorn.  

Thirty per cent of recruiters noted that their biggest turnoff was candidates who apply to jobs for which they are clearly unqualified, with 43 per cent of respondents indicating that they would go so far as to 'blacklist' such candidates and suppress their names from CV searches.The additional top four negative candidate behaviours were:  

  • Exaggerating qualifications on their CV - 21 per cent of recruiters say it's a big pet peeve
  • Focusing on salary above all other job factors - 15 per cent don't want to work with candidates who think that salary is the most important factor in a new job
  • Responding to a job posting that is way beyond their level of experience - 13 per cent of recruiters indicate these unrealistic applications waste their time
  • Calling/emailing more than once a week for status updates - 11 per cent do not want to hear from candidates that often, unless actively discussing a specific opportunity


"Some job candidates have no idea how their own behaviours 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." 

Bullhorn also asked recruiters to disclose which attributes would set a candidate apart from another candidate with a similar background and qualifications. The survey found:

  • Fifty-seven per cent of recruiters would strongly factor in a candidate's personality fit with the hiring company
  • Nearly fifty per cent said "how well they present themselves in interviews" would be a big differentiator
  • Thirty-two per cent thought the names of companies where a candidate worked previously could give them a leg up
  • Twenty-nine per cent thought being referred by a friend or colleague would carry a lot of weight


Interestingly, fewer than four per cent say that "the name of the university they attended" will help truly differentiate a candidate.

Another red flag for recruiters are gaps in employment.If the dates of employment and education don't line up properly in a candidate's CV, eighty-nine per cent of recruiters will assume he or she was unemployed during those gaps. Forty-seven per cent of recruiters associate the title "self-employed" with being unemployed. And forty-two per cent of recruiters think that "independent consultants" are actually unemployed.

Some additional recommendations for candidates out of the survey findings include:  

Don't disguise enthusiasm: Fewer than five per cent of recruiters said that "sounding and acting desperate to get a job" was their number one negative candidate behavior.

Don't stress, social media rating systems won't hold you back: Of 663 respondents who recruit for the marketing/PR/social media industries, less than seven per cent say they consider candidates' Klout scores in deciding whether to pursue them as prospects.

Be personable: When given a choice between "someone who is socially awkward and unexpressive with a genius IQ" and "someone who is highly sociable and collaborative with an average IQ," nearly ninety-five per cent of recruiters chose the latter.

For an infographic illustrating the findings, please click here.  

Methodology

Between August 23-28, 2012, Bullhorn conducted an anonymous survey of 1,500 recruiters and hiring managers who use the company's social recruiting platform, Bullhorn Reach®.  For information about Bullhorn Reach, or to try it yourself, please visit: www.bullhornreach.com.