How not to scare off a potential employer

With Halloween just around the corner, it’s time to get your scary costume ready for some trick or treating and spooking out the neighbourhood. 

But if you’re on the job hunt, it’s worth remembering how not to scare off potential employers with unprofessional blunders before and during the interview process.



Competent correspondence

In many cases, the first impression you make with a potential employer is through the written word. Whether it’s an email, CV or cover letter of introduction, ensure it reads well – with perfect grammar and punctuation, and appropriate expressions of excitement about the role. If you don’t make this first interaction as polished as it can be, employers may assume your job performance is sloppy as well. Proofread all correspondence before you send it, and for extra assurance, ask a friend or colleague to read it over for you.

Give a good interview

Even the most self-assured candidates feel anxious before job interviews. It’s a normal and healthy reaction to an important moment in your career. The best way to face this nervousness is to prepare and practice. Consider what your prospective employers may want to know – what questions are they likely to ask? Prepare the answers beforehand, those which are comprehensive yet succinct. And make sure you turn up on time! Don't make one of these not-so little mistakes.

A clean digital footprint

Employers undoubtedly use the internet to conduct further research on prospective workers. Why wouldn’t they? It’s a publicly available tool for gaining insight into employees’ interests and social behaviour. So take a close look at your social accounts and Google yourself. If you discover anything an employer might consider inappropriate… delete, delete, delete. If you're unsure, read our guidance on building a professional digital profile.

Do your homework

If you really want to scare off potential employers, know nothing about their company. It’s as simple as that. If you’d like to win them over, however, seek out relevant information and use it in your answers throughout the interview. Who’s the CEO? If it’s a public company, what’s the share price? Who are its major partners/clients? Make it your business to know everything you can about this business and you’ll receive a big tick for preparedness from your potential employer. It’s also best practice not to speak disparagingly of your previous (or current) employers.

Show humility

Being confident and proud of your work history is a good thing. Being overly assertive and bragging about how much better you are than everyone else is not a good thing. Speak of your achievements in terms of results; let the outcomes of your previous role do the talking. Bring along examples of your work, use figures or project results to paint a picture of your capabilities and allow your referees to describe your personality and job experience. Conversely, don’t allow over-enthusiasm to drown out your confidence. Obviously, you’re excited about the opportunity, but you don’t want to appear desperate. Because that’s just creepy!

Halloween is scary enough already without frightening off potential employers. Embrace these tips and use them to your advantage when seeking out your ideal role.

Need more career advice and further assistance with your job search? Contact your local Robert Half office.

Tags: Job Search

Share This Page