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5 things HR wishes all job applicants knew

Things you should learn if you're looking for a new job

5 things HR wishes all job applicants knew

When you apply for a job, don’t waste your time or annoy the recruiter or hiring manager by bungling the process. Instead, prepare yourself by learning these five things HR wishes all job applicants knew.

What you’re applying for

If you’re conducting an extended or wide-ranging job search, it can be hard to keep track of all the resumes you send out. To keep things straight, keep a list of the applications you’ve sent out along with a short job description, so when an employer calls you back you’ll know what you’re talking about.

“Many times we will spend time to phone screen potential applicants and they will completely forget that they applied to job or will forget the company they applied to,” says Marc DeBoer, president of A Better Interview.

A little about the company

It’s a basic job search tip that most people should have heard by now, but many still don’t follow it. “We interview folks all day, most days and wish they knew enough to research the company before calling in or showing up for an interview,” says Leanne King of SeeKing HR.

“It is ridiculous that a person looking for employment doesn't know anything about the organization they are seeking employment with,” she explains. “Knowing a little company history, a new product line, a good news story are all ways to make a great first impression.”

The interview isn’t really about you

“I wish job applicants understood that the interview is about the job they are applying for and not about them."

While the interviewer is asking you questions about yourself, she’s really trying to figure out how to solve the company’s problems, says Dethra Giles of ExecuPrep. “I wish job applicants understood that the interview is about the job they are applying for and not about them. Everything they say, every question they answer should be in relation to the problem the company is hiring someone to solve. ‘Tell me about yourself’ means tell me the things about you that can solve the problem this company has.”

They’re checking up on you

If you have an online presence, your potential employer is interested in it. “Applicants should know that either HR or the hiring manager or both will be researching them online,” says Annette Richmond, executive editor of This includes social media sites as well as online resumes or profiles.

Make sure the information you provide a prospective employer is consistent with what’s online, Richmond says. “Candidates should also realize that being constantly negative online may take them out of the running. Employers are looking for people that they want to be part of their team.”

The basics

Candidates ignore basic job-search tips all the time, says Dana Manciagli, author of “Cut the Crap, Get a Job!” This includes typos on your resume, being late to an interview, or providing irrelevant information.

“We want job seekers to know that everything they do is a sample of how they will be as an employee,” she says. Also, “too many are sloppily dressed, don't have pen and paper to take notes, don't have copies of their resume.” Review basic job-search advice to ensure you’re getting everything right.

Looking for even more insight into the recruiter mindset before your next job interview? Check out five more tips that HR wish job candidates knew.

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