The job hunt can be brutal. Finding your dream job takes a ton of effort, focus, and patience — you want to make sure you're doing everything possible to shoot your best shot.
As someone who's interacted with thousands of candidates and countless hiring teams, I've learned tons of mistakes candidates make that turn off potential employers. Here are a few common mistakes and what you should do instead for a more productive result.
1. Applying to every job a company posts
It's totally understandable to love a company so much that you'd take any job just to get a foot in the door, but this is really off-putting for potential employers. You're most likely not qualified for every single job they post, so you're showing hiring managers that you aren't taking your application seriously and aren't valuing their time.
What to do instead: Focus your energy on applying to the job that you're most qualified for and interested in! Instead of submitting your résumé for 10 different roles, submit it once to the job you really want. Research the team and the role, tweak your résumé to highlight specific skills you have that are specific to this role, and spend time writing a thoughtful, genuine cover letter.
2. Sending your résumé to everyone at the company
Again, this just shows the potential employer that you're not taking your application seriously. Each one of those people will likely send it to the appropriate person, resulting in the same email from multiple coworkers. Even worse, you're sending the same generic note to everyone.
What to do instead: Find the appropriate person to send your résumé to! Typically, this will be the hiring manager, a recruiter (make sure to check departments, as recruiting is usually split into different teams), HR, or talent acquisition. Do your research. Even if you don't get the right person, the hiring manager will appreciate that you at least tried, and they won't be getting the same résumé from 20 people in the same day. Also, customize your email and explain to the person why you're reaching out to them specifically. There's nothing worse than getting what you thought was a heartfelt application, only to find out that your coworker sitting next to you got the same note, word for word.
3. Not being flexible with your interview schedule
Hiring teams understand that candidates usually have other jobs, but giving them 30 minutes of availability one day a week is frustrating. Interview teams usually have busy schedules too, so candidates who don't work hard to free up their calendars are especially annoying. The less time you give them to work with, the more back and forth it'll create in emails — you don't want to be remembered for being difficult.
What to do instead: If you're asked to come in for an interview, try to make yourself as available as possible. If your current employer is strict with taking time off, ask the recruiter to give you a day or window that works best for the team, so you know exactly what you need to work out with your current employer.
4. Following up wrong
Following up immediately after an interview, with a different person than your normal point of contact, or just excessively when you haven't heard back yet can all be very annoying for hiring teams. You should definitely show your appreciation for the opportunity and thank people for meeting with you, but if you want feedback on your interview or application, try to be patient.
What to do instead: Following up the day of with a thank-you is appreciated! For feedback, it's best to wait at least 48 hours. This gives interview teams time to regroup and submit their feedback. Follow up with your main point of contact for feedback, meaning the first person who reached out to you or scheduled your interview. There are countless reasons a recruiter might not respond to you immediately, so getting other people involved complicates the process. Try not to follow up for feedback with everyone you met, with another recruiter, or with the hiring manager themselves (assuming they weren't your main point of contact). If you follow up a few times with your point of contact and don't hear back, it's best to just move on.
5. Waiting to have an offer in hand before negotiating salary
So many candidates wait until they have an offer in hand to start negotiating their salary, but this is typically way too late in the game. An offer touches a ton of hands before it's sent out to a candidate; most go through the hiring team, HR, finance, etc. Negotiating after all of these departments have approved an offer creates a ton of unnecessary work for your future employer.
What to do instead: Negotiate your salary when it's first presented to you, typically in a call from the hiring manager or a recruiter after you've interviewed. It's completely acceptable (and expected) to ask for some time to think on it. Come back to them with your counter offer before they put together a formal offer letter. Then all you have to do is sign and celebrate!