Personal Foul! Job Seekers’ Poor Sportsmanship!

Listen, we all want the candidates who try out for our team to be MVPs. Unfortunately, players with poor sportsmanship and questionable plays can sometimes sneak through. Luckily, a seasoned coach (or recruiter, like the TurningPoint Executive Search team) knows what to look for when scouting new talent. Our collective 80 years in Recruiting have taught us what to watch out for.

Beware of the candidate who…

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thinks they’re worth more than their record supports

Yes, you should always know your value and what you bring to the table. Yes, most organizations will try to get the best talent for the least amount of money. (They ARE a business after all.) Yes, they typically have a salary range in mind and are open to negotiations. BUT… walking into an interview with the belief (and attitude) that you will wow the CEO so much that they will offer you the world, is not going to end well for you. Counteroffers and respectful salary negotiations are standard practice. Be open to it and willing to stand firm on the things you reasonably deserve and compromise on the things you can live without.

is all talk and no action

A strong resume and LinkedIn profile got you the opportunity to try out, but if you really want to be part of the team, coaches want to see you execute some killer plays. Come to the field with concrete metrics and hard examples of your skills and experience. Vague descriptions and tossing in buzzwords will not land you a spot on the roster.

is all swagger and no swing

Body language matters. Someone that will not make eye contact, is a little too casual in their chair, or fidgets sends the message that they are most likely not being truthful or not confident in what they are telling you. Oh, and swearing doesn’t make you look more confident or demonstrate leadership skills. It’s tacky and demonstrates that you do not know your audience… definitely not what an organization is looking for in their next hire.

forgets there’s no I in T-E-A-M

While there might be a key player who caused problems in your last job or you were the driving force behind the team’s accomplishments, a strong candidate knows employers are looking for people who are willing to lead, learn, and collaborate. Bad-mouthing a previous boss, disparaging members of your team, or forgetting to acknowledge the input of the group are not going to win you any points.

is unaccommodating

I hate to break it to you, job seekers, but you are not the star of the show. Employers hire people to build out their TEAM! If you demonstrate an unwillingness to compromise, accommodate the needs of others, or be flexible, you’ve demonstrated you’re not the player they’re looking for. For example, candidates who do not make themselves available for a conversation with the CEO on a weekend, are difficult to schedule for interviews, refuse to make travel arrangements for an in-person meeting, or fail to show up without notification because of a change in schedule. These are all signs that you are don’t have the team mentality and will expect things to happen on your time.

claims to be good at everything

Simply put, they aren’t. No one is good at everything. And if you think you are, ask your spouse or partner. They’ll have a few things you could improve on. Candidates who sit in the interview waxing poetic about their unending list of skills and accomplishments and nod enthusiastically to every aspect of the job is not clear on their true strengths and gifts and is not acknowledging their growth areas, missing an opportunity to demonstrate they are eager to learn from colleagues and open to professional development opportunities.