Finding the Right Candidate: Pet Peeves in Recruiting

Anyone who has ever been a hiring manager knows what it is like to receive 100 to 200 resumes for a single job opening. It is a lot of work to review the resumes and cover letters and narrow it down to the right candidates to interview.

It never ceases to amaze me how many people submit resumes or cover letters with typos. This is the applicant's first impression and typos are a sure way to make it into the "do not interview" pile. It is mind boggling how many people are careless with the opportunity to make a great first impression. Is it laziness? Is it carelessness? Both are not good traits for a team member. Is it poor grammar skills? I am the first to admit my grammar skills need improvement. I found it incredibly boring in school and didn't see its relevance then, but writing is such an important skill.

Another pet peeve is cover letters that are not customized to the particular company the applicant is applying to. This one falls square into the "lazy" column and immediately makes the "do not interview" pile. Just this week, a pretty decent resume came across my desk. The cover letter hit the trifecta of pet peeves though. The letter was not personalized - this candidate was interested in "our company" and not Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. On top of that, the cover letter had nine typos in three paragraphs. Finally, it had a sentence that looked to have been copied and pasted from another document because the font and size were different from the rest of the document. Sadly, this resume was doomed.

Oddly, I have seen cover letters where the person said they were interested in jobs we were not recruiting for, like sales!

The worst submissions I have ever received were when candidates submitted a typo-filled cover letter and resume via email. They take it a step further when they copy people from 10+ different companies on the email, essentially trying to apply for 10 jobs at once. How do you think that ended for them?

What is the craziest cover letter and resume story you have had?