Things NOT to do if you are a job candidate

Every time I think I have seen everything, something new comes along.  I will share a few thoughts to those of you out there today who are candidates, or who may be candidates, for future opportunities.  I don’t pretend to have all of the answers, but I want to share a few tactics that will not endear you to client firms if you end up being someone they consider hiring.

12.20.10_ballroom_dancing

The search process is a dance and in most cases the client leads the dance.  In some instances the candidate has the chance to take the lead, but those times are few and far between.  The worst thing a candidate can do is assume they have the lead and realize they have begun to dance on their own with no partner, or hiring firm in sight.

Here goes-as always, I am interested in hearing you thoughts:

  1. Never assume you are the only candidate who can do the job.  There may be times when you are the best candidate available, but that does not give you carte blanche to make ridiculous demands in the negotiation process.  Clients have a tolerance for negotiation, but that can wear thin very quickly and they will cast their attention in another direction if you push too hard.
  2. You may use a number of resources to determine salary levels as a candidate, but never assume that the client will use the same resources.  It can be silly to win the battle, but lose the war using an inappropriate resource for salary expectations.
  3. Here is the corollary to #2; when you discuss a specific salary range in the interview, don’t come back in negotiation and ask for a salary level that is 20% above what you discussed.  That can be an immediate deal closer.
  4. Timing is everything and being available sooner versus later is always a good thing when you are a candidate.  In some circumstances the client may have the opportunity to allow for a much later start date, but always assume the client needs you as soon as possible unless they tell you otherwise.
  5. How you treat a potential hiring firm will reflect upon you after you start work or even if you do not.  Firms do talk and your behavior with company A may find a way to Company B if you choose to go in that direction.  It is a very small world out there, trust me.
  6. Make sure your references are fully aware of your current status in a search.  One of the worst things that can happen is to have someone contact a reference you provide and then learn that the reference has no idea you are a candidate.  Never assume that last year’s reference is still on board this year.  Keep in touch with your references.
  7. If the role involves relocation, get your spouse or those involved as soon as possible  with the potential move.  It is extremely frustrating for clients to get interested in a candidate to then learn that their spouse/partner has no interest in moving to this new location.  That can damage the current opportunity and others in the future.
  8. Be sure your resume accurately reflects your work.  If you list that you attended a school, but did not graduate, be sure to note this.  It can be extremely embarrassing to learn at the 11th hour that what you think a resume reflects is not accurate.
  9. Bottom line:  Honesty is the best policy.  Don’t go fishing unless you decide to haul what you catch into the boat.  Search firms and clients grow weary of individuals who want to date, but who will not go to the altar.  If you are interested, go all in.  If not, then say so.

Am I of base here?  If so, let me know your thoughts.

This is no April Fools!