What you leave blank could lose you the job…

I just learned a very important lesson today in recruiting and career coaching. Never think that any advice is too obvious. I have been recruiting and coaching now for close to 8 years and the longer I have been in the business the more I notice I take it for granted that job seekers know certain things. One such thing came to my attention today.

I had thoroughly prepared a job seeker for her interview with a law firm. She knew how to answer just about any question you threw at her, however, the one thing I did not prepare her for was how to fill out the application. I was reminded today that I need to cover EVERYTHING from the application to the thank you note when I prepare candidates for an interview.

This candidate was so well prepared on how to answer her reason for leaving her past position, that when it came time to answer that question on the application, she thought there was not enough space to fully answer the question the way I had coached her. This is my fault. I should have let her know what I am about to tell you: NEVER LEAVE A QUESTION BLANK ON AN APPLICATION! It is perfectly acceptable to put a short answer down on the application and then elaborate further when asked the question directly.

One of the biggest pet peeves of many Human Resources professionals is not thoroughly completing your job application. You should ALWAYS thoroughly answer any question on the application. NEVER put “see attached resume” or leave a question blank. This makes you look lazy or disinterested, which is the last thing you would want to convey in an interview. In a worst case scenario you could always put “open” if the question
has to do with salary desired or hour preferred.

In these economic times, it is also important to be prepared for a background check. Some companies will require you to fill out their background check form during the first interview. This does NOT mean they are going to run your background check right then, rather most companies will keep it on file and ONLY run it if they offer you the job. If not, they will simply shred it.

Do not give the hiring manager a reason not to hire you. Be thorough and complete and please be accommodating with any requests they make of you when it comes to filling out background check information.

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3 thoughts on “What you leave blank could lose you the job…”

  1. Thank you Jennifer for a great post. You are so right on the money when coaching clients. It is important to fill in all the blanks and there are other key things to keep in mind. When answering questions, I recently found out that if you look up and then down rt. or left, you indicate you are lying. The length of pauses you have between the questions and your answers, tell your interviewer a lot about you. The good news is, both of these one can prepare for.

    Thanks Again for sharing this post.

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