Easy ways to make employers change their minds about hiring you

If you are well on your way to impressing a potential employer, be sure to avoid doing one of these five things that cause them to change their mind about hiring you.

This topic came up because earlier this week, I wrote about how overly aggressive follow up to an otherwise successful job interview can be a major turn off for employers. Coming across as too desperate or demanding to get the offer in your inbox can cause companies to change their minds about hiring you.

Over the course of my career, hiring and managing staff for numerous companies, I’ve seen it time and again. The unfortunate cases where candidates who have succeeded at every step of the hiring process still manage to ruin their own chances of getting the job offer at the very last second. Damaging follow up is actually quite rare. These are the more common reasons why employers will call off a job offer that they were planning to extend.

Beware of these five major pitfalls:

Damaging your brand online. Hiring managers will Google you, and they will look up your social media profiles. More than half (52 per cent) say they have changed their mind about hiring a candidate just because of something they’ve found out about them online. Most commonly these would include posts with inappropriate pictures, drinking or drug use, poor communication skills, bashing previous employers, facts that contradict your resume, etc.

Clean up your online act, and manage your privacy settings carefully.

Exaggerating your education. Most employers will try to confirm the information that you list on your resume. One of the most common falsehoods or exaggerations that they end up catching is candidates fudging their level of education.

Most often this is in claiming to have finished degrees that they may have worked towards but not actually completed. More egregiously, people sometimes claim to have attended schools they never went to at all. This usually backfires. In background checks, schools will confirm what years students attended and what credentials they earned.

Lying about your work history. Similarly, in a background check, most companies will confirm to a future employer whether or not you worked there, along with what your job title and salary range was. Even if you are fully competent to perform the job that you’re applying for, lying about your previous work or education will call your integrity into question. Employers aren’t going to hire someone they can’t trust, so lying at the outset of the relationship will get the job offer called off or rescinded.

Choosing the wrong references. A recent survey of Canadian employers found that one-third of candidates (32 per cent) are removed from consideration for a position because of what their references say about them. These are references that the candidates themselves chose.

If your references sound at all hesitant about you, it can be taken as a red flag. Make sure you pick the people you’ve worked with in the past who are really supportive of you and are willing to speak enthusiastically about your work ethic and skills. Here is how to prep your professional references.

Being inflexible or unreasonable in negotiations. Coming across as overly-entitlement can be an offer killer. If you are too demanding in negotiating the details of your contract or unrealistic in your salary expectations, an employer can simply move on to the next candidate.

Do your research, find out the market value for your skills and experience, and calculate what the added perks a company offers are really worth. It’s a good idea to negotiate your job offer, but it’s important to be smart about it.

Remember, at this point it’s not even all about the money. You are still in the process of establishing a relationship with your future employer, so coming across as a difficult and demanding personality type can cause them to rethink choosing you in the first place.

The details of the salary and benefits package won’t really matter if the employer decides they don’t want to work with you at all.

Here are three tips for negotiating a higher salary.

You’ve made it this far, so don’t blow it at the last moment. Good luck!

When should you follow up after a job interview?

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