Tiago Costa

Internet entrepreneur and triathlete (Ironman Finisher). Founder of WayNext – digital agency and other companies. Blogging for myself, this is not the agency voice. Welcome!

How not to apply for a job


Let me start by saying that I’m not HR expert but ever since we started WayNext I have been involved in all the recruitment processes. It is obviously a very important process within every company and for that reason I always want to follow it very closely. Most of the times I have been in all the interviews until our decision is made.

To recruit new team members we usually post ads on a couple of websites. Sometimes we have used newspapers ads but we don’t find the need to do that anymore. More often than not, about 40/50% of the applications we get having very little to do with what we need and tried to be explicit about in the ad.

We ask for someone with HTML5/CSS3 coding skills and a bunch of web designers whose nearest HTML experience was the dreaded (and long gone) Dreamweaver come along. But this is something I can understand and I could imagine myself applying for a job with lateral skills to it. But, what I can’t understand is why, with so many people looking for a job, at least according to the national statistics, so little effort is put on the application. Why bother applying if you are not serious about it? If you are make time to do it properly!

This are the most recurring mistakes, from my point of view:

1. Not sending in everything that is requested: if someone is asking for resume and portfolio, how hard is it to send both?

2. Sending huge files over email (yes, a 10Mb attachment is considered big) instead of providing a download link (Dropbox anyone?)

3. Sending the email to “undisclosed-recipients” – it shows you didn’t put the effort to write a different email for each job you are applying. The same goes with emailing your resume to 25 companies all on the same email message;

4. Asking for salary and benefits even before applying;

5. Using a automated application platform that will not let you send a personal message to the company you are applying to. That way the recruiters gets a bunch of very similar template emails which is not helpful. Often this also do not contain the resume, but will offer links to it (if the resume is a small file I’d rather view it quickly than having to download and the process)

6. Not caring about the way your resume looks (making it 6 pages long doesn’t help, writing in Comic Sans or using every bell and whistle Word has to offer is a no no and please watch out for misspellings and grammar). Can you keep it 1 or 2 pages long? That would do it. If it is interesting the recruiter will call you and you will have the chance to present yourself. On a more personal note, I don’t find the “Europass CV” an interesting template because resumes tend to be too long, but that’s just me, probably.

7. Not being available for the interview in person. If the recruiter calls you just a couple of days after receiving your application, try to make yourself available for the interview. Sure, if you are working you probably can’t make it during regular business hours, but don’t start with “today I can’t, tomorrow I’ve got to pick up the car form the shop, the day after my gf is coming over yada yada yada…”.

8. Don’t apply for the job if you don’t believe it would suit you. Sure you can be surprised but something different from what was described (I guess it happens a lot) but be ready to take the job if you are invited and things are as expected, otherwise you are wasting everybody’s time.

9. Sending an email with your resume attached but without any text is also not a good sign.

Author: Tiago Costa

Internet entrepreneur, Ironman Finisher and kitesurfer. Founder of WayNext – web agency and other companies. Blogging for myself, this is not the agency voice.

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