Seven Things I Immediately Notice About Your Job Application

In my position as a grader at HireArt, I’m one of the people who carefully review every single job application we get. Over the past eight months I’ve reviewed thousands of applications for over 400 different jobs. I’ve seen candidates from just about every background, age and interest and there are a few mistakes I consistently see applicants make. I thought it worthwhile to spell those out so that you can avoid them in the future.

First, a bit about how HireArt works: in addition to submitting resumes, candidates at HireArt complete video interviews. The questions we ask in the video interviews range from “tell me about yourself” to much more complex questions that ask candidates to do tasks that mimic the type of work they would do on the job (e.g. make a sales pitch, answer a customer support call, write a marketing pitch).

Video interviews have grown drastically over the last few years. Over 40% of employers now use some type of video interview. Because it’s a new medium, though, I see candidates making very basic mistakes. While there are a million resources that teach you how to write a resume, the same is not true for video interviews.

With that in mind, here are the seven things that I notice about HireArt interviews immediately and what every candidate should try to keep in mind.

1. Clothes

One of the benefits to HireArt’s video responses is that we are able to get a better idea of what you are like in person, including your style and professionalism. While we don’t expect all our applicants to be dressed to the nines, if your clothes are ratty, stained, or wrinkled, we can tell. Also: it pains me that this apparently has to be said, but please wear a shirt during video interviews, no matter how jacked you may be.

2. Length of response

HireArt’s interface displays the length of your video responses to reviewers before they hit play. In that split second before they do, there is still enough time for some preconceptions to be formed. If you only submitted ten seconds to a complicated prompt, a recruiter will suspect that you aren’t taking the exercise seriously, no matter how brilliant those ten seconds might be. The same goes for written responses– if at a glance they are notably short or long, a recruiter may judge you as uninvested or verbose.

3. Typos

Your middle school English teacher made you write three drafts of every paper for a reason: proofread, proofread, proofread. Typos (including grammatical mistakes and misspellings) stand out like red flags, and their biggest harm is that I don’t know that they are typos. When I see a typo, I’m apt to assume think that you actually think that “punctual” is spelled “punchual” or that capitalization is more of an art than a science. If you know you are typo-prone, have a friend review your written responses before you hit submit or just paste it into a word processor and watch out for the red lines.

4. Research

For a response to a job posting, a little bit of work can go a long way. It’s obvious when candidates spent some time with a job posting or company website; they tend to present themselves in a way that matches their strengths to what the company is looking for. Conversely, it reflects poorly on an applicant when they emphasize work experience that has nothing to do with the job they are applying for, or, worse, mention the wrong company or job.

5. Video quality

You don’t need a cinema-quality camera to apply for a job on HireArt, but a camera made in the last decade with a clean lens is a must. Take advantage of the “test” function on our videos to make sure that your video comes through clearly and crisply, and that when you speak in a normal voice you can be understood clearly. You may have a brilliant answer to a question, but if it’s blurred or garbled, I may not notice.

6. Resume formatting

I am looking for all sorts of specific information when I check your resume. Please make it easy for me. While you may think you have found a clever way to cram 2000 words onto one page, chances are I won’t be able to find what I’m looking for amid three columns and 7 point font. An easily readable resume is often a breath of fresh air.

7. Attitude

As important as your experience, your intelligence, and your creativity may be as I evaluate you for a position, your attitude is just as crucial—often, it’s the first thing I judge. A candidate who seems particularly enthusiastic and engages the viewer can immediate pique my interest, while I’ll pass over a candidate whose posture, expression, or tone indicates boredom or frustration, no matter how polished their resume. Before you sit down for your interview, take a deep breath, smile, and remember to have fun!

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