Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
JOB SEARCH / AUG. 09, 2015
version 17, draft 17

Beyond Skills: 5 Weird Things That Are Detrimental to Your Employability

Ah, the job market! A virtual space in which you’re asked to strip down all your accomplishments and skills (if you are asked to physically strip down, you might want to reject that job and call the police) into a concise two-page résumé that will get read by recruiters, but that doesn’t mean it will overweigh other unforeseen factors that you are being judged on. If you haven’t figured out from the title, we are going to talk about weird things that might be detrimental to your employability, beyond your skills, credentials and coffee-stained résumé. Well, that’s your first problem: do not send coffee-stained résumés to prospective employers – who mails their résumés in nowadays, anyway?

See Also: What Not to Include on Your CV

1. Foot in Mouth via Social Media

So, I’m just old enough to be well-versed in 95% of social media platforms, but about 0.5% inclined to use them to share everything from my meals to the resulting bowel movements. I seem to be an exception though as the internet has become a machine (or monster depending on, well, your dependency) of personal expression. I’m going to hit you with an appropriate linguistic cliché to illustrate my point: loose lips sink ships. Just ask the now infamous Cisco Fatty.

Although this young lady lost a job with the tech mega-company Cisco, her abhorrent example of free expression has landed her on almost every “How Not to Use Social Media” guide on the web. Although Riley had an advanced degree from the University of Berkeley in Information Management and Systems, she still wasn’t versed enough to keep her Twitter privacy settings on lockdown. After tweeting about the job offer that came with hefty financial compensation (a “fatty paycheck” to quote the wordsmith directly), she pondered out loud for the internet to see if the money could counterbalance the commute or the fact that she would hate the job. But like every good story, there’s a twist.

Cisco Fatty wasn’t talking about a job but about a paid internship that she had already rejected – but this was a circumstantial minute detail to the internet which picked it up and ran with it. She was bombarded with responses from people that claimed to be hiring managers and HR officers for the company, and the infamy of her faux-tweet-gaff stuck like superglue sticks to everything but the thing you are trying to bond. Damn superglue! That should be your takeaway here: superglue sucks.

2. The Rooster Effect

Taking into consideration the fact that a synonym for rooster is cock, I’m going to assume that the word “cocky” is a result of a rooster’s propensity to strut around the farm with his head high and chest out, having his way with any spring chicken he chooses. The thing is, though, there are so very few opportunities to write “cock” in articles that have to do with careers and the job market that I wouldn’t want to squander this opportunity here.

I digress. No matter how many credentials, skills, certifications or headshot kills in Call of Duty you have, you should never carry yourself like you are a “shoe-in” for the job. Sure, confidence is a great tool but too much of it is an employer’s pet peeve and will convey to the interviewer an air of entitlement, arrogance, and insubordination – generally, characteristics that employers don’t actively look for in prospective employees. And even though you know you’re awesome in every possible way, the point of this exercise is to convince the scowling person sitting across from you that you are awesome in every possible way. Here’s a Reddit thread that describes one such situation – you might want to avoid it, however, if you are easily offended by harsh language.

3. Personal Appearance / Personal Derision  

If there is only one social setting in which personality conflicts are prevalent and practically expected, it’s the workplace. What happens though when the interviewer just doesn’t like you? Well, you lose the prospective job position.

Business Insider wrote an article about how companies were realizing how important personalities are in lieu of impressive credentials and qualifications – the damn with knowledge if you’re charming! The thing is that skill sets are much easier to teach than it is to change somebody’s personality. Alas, on top of a crappy personality, you also look like the lovechild of Swamp Thing and an orc.

Well, I’m sorry to break it to you, but your dual doctorate from Harvard and Oxford isn’t going to do jack if you’re not pretty enough. According to research done at Hofstra University in New York and carried out by Dr. Comila Shahani-Denning, there is a heavy bias in favor of attractive individuals during the hiring process. Worst of all, unless it is verbally expressed (for example, “I’m sorry, but the position has been filled by a person that isn’t as heinous as you” or “We truly apologize, but we are looking for a candidate that’s a little less Cthulhu and a little more Megan Fox”), it’s not illegal.

There is no quantifiable way to measure a bias really, is there? Even being overweight can play to the hiring agent’s bias or association that obese people are untidy, lazy, and unmotivated. So, before you even start considering looking for a job, you might want to hit the gym and the plastic surgeon.

4. It Just Might Be Your Résumé

Well, not exactly your résumé’s content but its format. Sure, you’re trying to make a good impression and distinguish yourself from the masses of applicants, but it’s easy to go over the top. Comic Sans is one of those creative choices that you might want to avoid (they have no place outside church announcement boards and elementary schools) and, unless you apply for a job that demands a portfolio, you might want to avoid pictures, clipart, or photos of your dogs. Sure, your dogs are great and you’ll probably fill your cubicle to the brim with their cute little mugs once you’re hired, but you might want to quell your obsession enthusiasm for the four-legged furries until after the interview process.

Finally, per the norm, résumés are emailed; it’s fast, convenient, and saves trees. Plus, no one wants to spend hours wondering if a package is a letter bomb until they open it (very carefully, obviously) and find a résumé printed on the back of a promotional clock with your face on it.

5. Quell the Crazy

You are a very unique individual – a free thinker with a creative streak that would give Andy Warhol a run for his money. I personally understand that those personality traits come with a touch of eccentricity, but most corporate bosses will probably be a little less conceding if, even for once in your life, you abide by that status quo and follow the lemmings – which is what you call the “normals”. Sure, you normally dress like a Steampunk vampire and speak in Old English, but you might want to put your quirkiness on the backburner until you get the job and then you can rock your cravat and cane. It’s not like you’re compromising your religious beliefs by not wearing a colander on your head during the interview. Oh, I guess you are.

See Also: 30 Interview Mistakes Job Seekers Make!

Can you think of any other factors that could cause an issue with being hired? Let me know in the comments section below!

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