You have of course heard that executive search and recruitment firms find people for jobs, not jobs for people.
Before you start sending me hate mails, I must quickly add that a search firm with clients, but no candidates, is like a nightmare Tom Yum Kung crisis 1997 repeated. We do need you. Believe me, the greatest pleasure we have is when candidate and client connect.
So here’s my point. We are all living our careers to the fullest. All of us will change job 5-10 times, so to position yourself correctly and timely, you can help yourself by observing a few simple rules when on the job market. Or commit career suicide by making the headhunter hate you.
Let’s count down the Top 10 faux pas, as they say in French, the top horror violations of broken etiquette rules and social norms in the world of recruitment, which I have experienced in Thailand over these many years.
Dear Bob when my name is Tom
Wrong: Do you too get upset when people call you Sombat when your name is Annan? Or getting an email: Dear Bob when your name is Tom? Does it not show some level of attention or rather lack of attention to details? When someone can’t bother to double check that you address the person correctly, what else does this person get wrong? Probably a lot.
It’s annoying to receive an email and resume which has been sent to a large group of recruitment companies and executive search firms.
Resume of too many pages
Wrong: A resume with too many pages will still get max six seconds. Placing personal information and a photo on top of page one, writing about your responsibilities instead of your achievements, including in details what you did 20 years ago, will not help you get that attention. Remember that the purpose of a resume is to get someone to call and invite you for an interview.
Dressed up for Saturday night disco when going to an interview
Wrong: There is a big difference going to the disco Saturday night and attending a job interview. The mini skirt, high heels and red lip stick are all fine at your local dance club. But that’s where it stops.
If you fail to prepare, be prepared to fail
Wrong: One of the most common openings in an interview is to ask: “what do you know about our company?” If you really have no clue, stand up, apologize for not preparing and ask to be excused. Then leave. You have no chance to save that blunder.
Claim you got an MBA when you actually didn’t
Wrong: It was earlier this year that the internet giant Yahoo’s new CEO falsely claimed a computer science degree on his resume. He didn’t get away with it and was fired. According to research conducted by The Society of Human Resource Managers a few years ago, over 50% of individuals lie about their resume in some way.
You forgot to mention that allowance of 25,000
Wrong: Once you have tabled all details of your current package to the recruiter and employer, it’s a killer in any discussion, suddenly and late in the process, to claim that you forgot to mention the 25,000 Baht allowance you also receive every month. Honestly, we all look stupid in the eyes of the prospect employer who no doubt will see this as a scheme to deceive or outwit them.
Merge two jobs into one period and one company name
Wrong: Job hoppers are usually perceived as negative because they have switched jobs too many times. But even so, it’s career suicide to merge two jobs into one by combining the length of the two jobs into one period. And then use one company name and title as a header.
Say one thing to me and something different to my client
Wrong: Presenting a resume with a current job, talking in the interview with the recruiter as though you are actually still working there. Or even more disturbing, telling the recruiter where you are now working but then at the interview with the possible future employer, suddenly be revealing that you have not been entirely true and in fact you have left that “current” company and are now unemployed.
I still cannot get my head around what anyone would think this strategy is working to their advantage. Hiding facts from the headhunter you want to help you. Showing the client interviewer that you cannot be trusted. Go figure.
Cancel interview last minute or not showing up at all
Wrong: OK, so we have set you up to meet our client’s CEO, but you call us in the morning to say your boss has asked for an urgent meeting. You can’t go. Never mind that our client CEO is a regional manager who came in the night before from Shanghai just to meet you.
What could be worse than that? Only one thing is more inappropriate and selfish, that of staying away without letting anyone know you do not intend to come for the interview. No-show and totally incomprehensible. And yet it happens.
Accepting counter offer from your current employer
Wrong: To the Number 1 mistake that will get the headhunter really hate you. The dreaded counter offer.
Accepting a counter offer is a shortcut to a career de-tour. As bad as having an affair with the boss. The counter-offer is an insult to your intelligence. You have been bought and it should be a blow to your pride. By resigning you are essentially breaking a trust that you had with your employer. If you take the counteroffer and stay, your company may feel that it owns you. You will be known as the one who caused your employer grief by threatening to quit. You’ll no longer be known as a loyal employee.