10 Mistakes Job Seekers Just Can’t Make

thank-you-but-noSometimes we gladly learn from the mistakes of others. This is one of those times!

Our friends at YEC asked their members this question:

“When seeking a job at your company, what is the biggest ‘no, thank you!’ mistake a candidate can make?”

Here are the answers we can all learn a lot from…


Showing Passivity

Adam StillmanWhether or not it is true, I like to feel as if the candidate has been spending the past few days rehearsing their answers in front of the mirror. I know it is likely they are interviewing at a number of places, but I do not want that to show. It’s important they show excitement and interest where they are interviewing, as opposed to being the next one up on the assembly line.

Adam Stillman, SparkReel

Acting Like a Know-It-All

John RamptonWe don’t like people who apply to our company who know everything about everything. We want people to know everything, but also be willing to learn more and become even better. If you’re always having to outdo your peers and one-up everyone else in our organization, you won’t make it on our team.

John Rampton, Host


Unable to Work Remotely

Dave NevogtHubstaff helps companies manage freelancers. Our team is 90 percent remote and we want them to use the same software — it integrates with any task management software and has lots of other easy functions. When someone expresses zero willingness to work remotely or has no experience, it doesn’t reflect positively on their fit with our culture or on their ability to be an advocate for what we do.

Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff.com

Coming Unprepared

Mark CenicolaThere are basic preparations any candidate should make prior to interviewing with a company. While the employer should already have a copy, not showing up with a printed résumé in hand is a big mistake. Not knowing with whom you’re interviewing or anything about the company are others. Candidates need to do their research and plan ahead to make a good first impression.

Mark Cenicola, BannerView.com

Being a Cultural Misfit

Randy RayvessThe biggest unacceptable mistake is when a candidate shows signs of potentially being a cultural misfit.

A candidate that shows disrespect or arrogance will not fit in within our culture and therefore will not be considered for the job.

Randy Rayess, VenturePact


Not Knowing the Company

Alex LevineThe biggest mistake a candidate can make is without a doubt not being educated on what the company does.

Take the time to memorize the who, what, when, where and hows of the organization.

Alexis Levine, Savvy Media


Being an Interview “Pleaser”

Jeff FernandezI like to find authenticity, a character trait Grovo holds paramount and actively recruits. A curveball question like, “When’s the last time you broke down?” goes a long way to sussing this out. Those who squirm or lie, or seek the “right” answer aren’t who I’m looking for. Rather than pleasers, I need doers — direct, honest and unfaltering in the face of the unexpected.

Jeff Fernandez, Grovo Learning, Inc.


Having No Willingness to Learn

Kim KaupeI always ask potential hires what new skill or process they want to learn in the next six months. When someone answers that they haven’t thought about it or are satisfied with the skills they have mastered, I know it’s not a good fit. Having someone join the team who constantly wants to learn and better themselves is a valuable trait and one that is often overlooked.

Kim Kaupe, ZinePak


Asking for Too Much

BashaOne of the most memorable (and shocking) things that has happened to me was when we were interviewing to bring on Priori Legal’s first developer. During the interview, the candidate asked for 50 percent of the company!

Basha Rubin, Priori Legal



Bashing Former Employers

Brennan WhiteNegativity is unbecoming. Anytime someone comes in with a negative story about their former employer, it does two fatal things: It shows us how poorly you treat those who you perceive as having wronged you, and it leaves the interviewer with a negative experience. Tell your story, but in a positive light. We’ll leave with a positive memory of you and we won’t see your negative side.

Brennan White, Cortex




Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.



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