Throwing Away the Interview: 3 Horrible Job Applicants Landing in Our Trash

May 18, 2016

We believe deeply that fortune favors the bold. This means that when delivering a presentation, of any kind, it’s important that you make yourself stand out. One kind of presentation we watch people bomb over and over is applying for a job. It’s important to remember that you’re up against hundreds, if not thousands, of people to prove that you’re the best candidate. To do the bare minimum isn’t enough. It CAN’T BE.

At SquarePlanet, we do some hiring of our own. And every time we list a job posting, the submissions pour in and nearly every one of them is just plain bland. It’s not that candidates aren’t qualified—or that they don’t do what’s expected—it’s simply because they don’t do ANYTHING to stand out from the sea of other candidates. The individuals who do stand out are vetted and receive an invitation to join us at our office for an interview. For the others, we hold a special ceremony we like to call, “Move to Trash.”

However, their mediocre attempts are not for naught. After some careful analysis, I can now sort these horrible job applicants into three categories which immediately join the ‘NO’ pile. I’ve also identified ways to avoid their faux pas and land an interview when you apply for your next job.

[x_icon type=”scissors”] The Standardizer

I can’t tell you how much it pains me to receive a cookie-cutter cover letter that is obviously being sent to a mass quantity of businesses. I get it. This tactic is extremely convenient for playing the numbers game. But, what it really tells me is that you (1) are lazy and like taking shortcuts, and (2) don’t actually want this job, you just want a job. I don’t want to hire someone who just wants a job. I want to hire someone hungry. With goals that will become an asset to the company. Who believes what I believe. Copy and pasting the same letter into the body of 1,000 emails never landed anyone their dream job.

[x_icon type=”question-circle”] What can you do differently?

Research the company and prove you did. Extensively. So much so that for a second, we consider filing a restraining order. If you do thorough research and send a meaningful and customized cover letter to an organization you genuinely want to work for… you’ll get an interview. I guarantee it.

[x_icon type=”paperclip”] The Attacher

The Attacher makes the Standardizer look like an overachiever. Their simple act of attaching their same-same resume to an email and sending it has warranted them a one-way ticket to my trash bin without so much as a casual glance. I’m talking about zero words, attachment only. If I’m looking at a resume, it’s because the person is impressive enough for me to dig deeper. When you fail to even acknowledge that I am a person receiving your email… it’s game over for you.

[x_icon type=”question-circle”] What can you do differently?

Show initiative and genuine interest. A good employer won’t resort to drawing a name out of a hat, so why should you apply that kind of logic to the first time you’re communicating with a company? Take the time to draft a unique cover letter. Make the person receiving your message feel special, and give them a no-doubt reason to dig deeper.

[x_icon type=”camera-retro”] The Narcissist

Harsh reality—it’s not about you. I know that’s a strange concept considering you are required to list your skills, but there’s certainly a difference between attaching a resume and attaching a selfie. This is not a joke, this has happened more than once. Your one and only job is to make us like you and your selfie just makes me think you are the kind of person who practices kissy faces on your iPhone all day!

[x_icon type=”question-circle”] What can you do differently?

It’s simple. Don’t include a selfie. Even if the job requires a headshot, take the time to at least have someone else take a decent photo for you. Bottom line: do something different. Be personable, be likeable and be relatable. All in all, be human.

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