Friday, June 29, 2007

Informal Screening

I don't have the answers to these questions but would love to know how others would decide.

Assume the person has gotten an interview. In general, which of the following do you believe are the top two items that would most hurt a candidate's chances of landing an entry-level white collar job? A supervisory job?

  • 50 to 60 pounds overweight.

  • An unusual hair style or color.

  • A visible tattoo.

  • Revealing that an outside interest is hunting or bird watching.

  • Odd shoes.

  • A misspelled word in the resume/CV.

  • A garish tie or scarf.

  • One-time use of profanity during the interview.

  • Wearing a religious symbol such as a cross or a Star of David.

  • Talking too much during the interview.


The Engineer said...

For a front line job (contact with the general public) I would hesitate with unusual hair and profanity. Depends on what else happens in the interview.

Talking too much could hurt anyone if we run out of time in the interview. However, don't you only "run out of time" with candidates that don't interest you?

I wouldn't notice shoes unless you put your feet on the table (that would be a negative).

I am well over six feet tall. You would barely notice if I was 50-60 lbs overweight. Weight only effects ability to perform physical tasks. I don't think it would really play into my thought process for selection.

The rest aren't issues. Now, not answering the interview questions! That is a big deal.

Rowan Manahan said...

Entry level, white collar job?

1. Talking too much. The number one irritator for all interviewers (followed by talking way too little)

2. For an entry-level job - implying young candidates - the 50-60 pounds of excess baggage will loom large. I've seen research out of the UK showing that 96% of selectors opt for the thinner candidate when the applicants are judged equal on all the other criteria ...

That being said, I have seen most of the items on the list be a candidate-killer at one time or another. Thin slicing happens fast, it can be cruel and most people can't even articulate why they are disqualifying candidates

Sith Sigma said...

1) A misspelled word in the resume/CV.

2) One-time use of profanity during the interview.

Both of these give huge insight into a person's persona.

You have all the time in the world to prepare your resume, it is your advertisement. You can have spell checkers, and all your friends to help you prep for it.

And having mistakes on a resume is your first red flag on the person's attention to detail.

The profanity is more insight into the persona. It causes me as a manager to instantly drop my rating of your professionalism down a notch.

As a manager for entry level people, you're looking for people you can mold into. Having a good 'base' to build upon makes it easier.

So, those two alone won't kill you. But, by using any of those two, you automatically give an edge to any other candidate.

pawnking said...

How about a list for what will most help a candidate?

Michael Wade said...

These comments are extremely interesting. Clearly, I've underestimated the negative impact of talking too much during an interview and the distinctions drawn between the two levels of jobs are also revealing. In a future post, I'll deal with the positive slant.

Mark said...

Entry Level white collar job?

1 Talking too much - displays lack of control, judgment, focus, relevance, consideration etc., etc., etc.,

2 For a young candidate then the overweight factor will kick in, esp. if this is accompanied by a poor business dress-sense, which seems to be endemic in the young.

The others would oscillate depending on the type of organisation and the sector - but there's no excuse for profanity. None.

Michael Wade said...


Good points. The "talking too much" one appears to be a big mistake.