Congratulations Graduate! Eleven Reasons Why I Will Never Hire You.

Over the past 20 years, I’ve been in hiring roles and have received thousands of resumes from new

  1. Mark OToole
    Over the past 20 years, I’ve been in hiring roles and have received thousands of resumes from new
    Transcript Header:
    Congratulations Graduate! Eleven Reasons Why I Will Never Hire You.
    Transcript Body:
    • CongratulationsGraduate!Eleven Reasons Why I Will Never Hire Mark O’Toole - PR & content at HB Agency
    • Commencementover.
    • Therealworldawaits.
    • Bushy-tailedand excited,you younggraduatesstorm thejob boards.
    • Never mind the color of yourparachute, some of you haveno parachutes at all.
    • And that can leadto a hard landing.
    • Employersknow thatnot all gradsare createdequal.
    • Sometimeswe hirepeople likeyou intoentry-levelpositions.
    • More often though, we don’t.
    • Because…
    • You are just not the right fit.
    • A more impressive candidatecaptured our attention.
    • Or you aresimply avictim ofsome otherrandomevent outof your“I didn’t postthat picture.”
    • But too many of youwho had the skillsand capabilities tomake the cut or geta second interviewblew it.
    • Yourdisastrousinterviewingskillsbroughtyoudown.
    • why?
    • Is it you?
    • Yourfamilysupportsystem?
    • Yourschool’scareerservicesstaff?
    • Whatever the reason,there are consistentthemes as to why youdidn’t get the job.
    • This won’t be the first time you’ve heardthese and it won’t be the last, but as yourclass flourishes shiny new resumes in frontof prospective employers, here are the topreasons why I will never hire you.
    • Your resume islonger than that of a25-year professional.1.
    • I appreciate your desire toshowcase yourclasswork,high schoolaccomplishments,extracurricularendeavors and yourthree marketingprojects.
    • But I need to seeclarity and definition in what you present.
    • Make it relevant, make it concise, make it focused.
    • “Anoverlylongresumedoes notimpressme.”
    • (A ridiculously short resume is equallydangerous. Did you do anything besides attend class?)
    • Youdidn’tprepare for our interview.
    • You’re probably a betterinternet surfer than I am, sowhy didn’t you spend a fewminutes gathering intelligenceabout me or my business?
    • You didn’t look at my website.You failed to check me out onLinkedIn or Twitter.You didn’t learn my pet peeves:make eye contact; learn to holda conversation; give thoughtfulanswers to difficult questions.XXX
    • (I’m not alwaysconcerned withyour actualanswer butrather yourcomposureand thinkingprocess whenanswering it).
    • questions3.
    • Look up questions to ask online.Find 30 questionsno one has ever asked me.“questions grads should ask in an interview”
    • Show mehow yougatherinformation.
    • Do you want me to thinkI’m going to have todo the work for you,or that you’ll show upprepared every day??
    • You wrote athank you note,and only used it to thank me.
    • I also enjoyed ourtime together,so insteadof justthanking me,add value.
    • Useyournote (email ornote/card are all fine– nothing is not)to show yourpassion forthis job.
    • Reflect uponwhat youlearnedin the interview.
    • Confirmwhyyou’re thecandidateof mydreams.
    • Youdressedforfailure.
    • My workplaceis casual,at least most of the time.Many offices arethese days.
    • But you should not be for an interview.
    • Jeans, chinos, t-shirts, sundressesandotherclothingyou may wear to a weekendcookoutoranightclub(even a niceone)won’tcutit.
    • I want to know what you’ll look like when I take you to see a client.
    • Show me that you understand this.
    • whatyou want
    • But when you tell me that,you’re basically saying,“please invest loads oftimeandmoneyintome,and maybe it will helpmefigureoutthatIwantto do something else.”
    • Convincemethat you’vewantedtoworkhereyour wholelife.
    • Yourresumeshouldreinforceit.
    • Your follow-upnote shouldhammer thepoint home.
    • ajack,thejdI’mnotlookingforajack-of-all-trades.(IfIwere,thejobpostingwouldhavesaidso.)
    • Because I’m notreally into candidateswho won’t throwthemselves 100%into the opportunityat hand.
    • 7.You don’t getsocial media(but think you do).
    • I don’t expectyou to be anexpert inanythingjust gettingout ofschool, butyour resumeclaims socialmedia expertise.
    • Dumb Tweeter@dumbtweeterYour eight tweets in the last six monthsare not signs of immersion. (And yourregular use of #fuckinA isn’t effective.)
    • Your blankPinterestpage isless thancompelling.
    • Spelling Tumblrwith an “e”says something –but not theright thing.
    • Dabble in social while at school for sure.
    • Tell meyou haveexposureto socialnetworks.
    • Just don’t try toimpress me with“expertise”that does notexist yet.
    • Youdid’ntproofread.Didn’t
    • d grammarspellings from yme or cover letcan I expect yoIf you can’t eliminatebad grammarormisspellings from yourresume or cover letter,how can I expect youto write an error-freereport for a client?
    • LinkedIN IS THE Place toshowcaseyour professionalskills, even if theyare nascent
    • Set it up right(there are lots of tips onlineto help) and give it some love.
    • (or two or three).Do an internship
    • While this is more for thosestill in school than thosejust out, nothing makes youmore attractive to me thanknowing you’ve been exposedto a similar work environment.
    • Internships also help you decide if my job representsthe right structure for you – saving us both time and agonyif it turns out you just don’t like what we do.
    • I get 50-100 resumes eachsemester from new graduates.Those with internships sit wellahead of those without.
    • Youlackedprofessionalcourtesy!
    • You were two minutes late.
    • You looked away when you shook my hand
    • I introducedyou to mycolleagueand you didn’teven ask herwhat she does.
    • WHY?Why would I wantto expose youto my clients?
    • You and yourfamily have investedvast amounts oftime andmoney intogettingyour diploma.
    • It’s a small bit of extra effort to make sure you don’t ruin your chances in the interview.
    • I will hire someone – I just won’t hire you.
    • 1. Make a right-sized resume – it’s a door-opener only,not your one and only chance to get an interview.2. Interview prep makes you look like a rock star duringour conversation.3. Ask really good questions in the interview. It matters.4. Use your promptly sent thank you note to reveal even moreawesome stuff about why you make sense for this job.5. Dress up – it will make you feel better during our meeting.6. Stay focused.7. Social media is mainstream but don’t overplay it until youknow where it fits, or doesn’t fit, in the job.8. No typos!9. LinkedIn matters – you become searchable, findableand professional.10. Internships set you apart (and give you great stuff for bullet #1.)11. Practice hand-shaking at home!Job hunting is like a job unto itself.You will get it right, but you need to work at it.
    • Mark O’Toole is managing director of PR content at HB agency, a B2B marketing and communications firmwith global clients in clean tech, medical tech and high tech. Despite the very true observations in the articleabove, Mark has hired countless talented PR pros over the last 15 years. Reach Mark at motoole@hbagencyor on Twitter @markrotoole.Design and layout courtesy of HB’s Matt Gustavsen Christine Tesseo.To learn more about HB’s branding, marketing and public relations expertise, please visit
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Recent Reviews

  1. Mark OToole
    Mark OToole
    Version: 03/06/2013
    @Filip Harrolds Filip, thanks for reading. I feel your frustration. I remember looking for my first job and what a slog it was, and how my options were between one low-paying uninspiring job and another even lower paying uninspiring job. Getting that first job, whether it's the "right" one or not, is hard. Keep at it, you'll succeed.
  2. Mark OToole
    Mark OToole
    Version: 03/06/2013
    Thanks for the comment, Paul. It's great to hear the perspective on someone in the recruiting field.
  3. Paul J Miller paulmillercybercoderscom
    Paul J Miller paulmillercybercoderscom
    Version: 03/06/2013
    It's hysterical reading some of the responses to this well put together presentation.What could you possibly argue about what Mark detailed in this presentation ? As a seasoned recruiter, I find that it's not just college graduates who need to follow this advice, it is basic interview etiquette that everyone should follow. It amazes me that even a VP candidate will send a thank you note just saying "it was nice to meet you" doing nothing to further his/her canidacy. As a recruiter, I have to actually "coach" people who have been in the workplace for many years to do these simple things, that should be common sense to anyone looking for a job.
  4. NealCTurner
    Version: 03/06/2013
    @RickJayx I agree wholeheartedly, and the Pinterest reference did seem oddly incongruous. I think LinkedIn is different though. It's been called "Facebook for grownups", and with good reason. It's essentially a public résumé that provides other professionals with a way to contact you without having to wade through a sea of pictures from spring break 5 years ago or angry posts about this or that politician. I wouldn't say the absence of a profile should disqualify a candidate, but it makes sense that a well-crafted and maintained one will put a candidate at the head of the pack.
  5. NealCTurner
    Version: 03/06/2013
    @MatthewOttewell You seem to have a limited definition of 'quality'. Regardless of what profession graduates wish to enter, there are certain universal social skills they all can fairly be expected to possess. This isn't about certain biases. It's about expecting candidates to be well-rounded enough to carry on a person-to-person conversation with colleagues or clients. It's about expecting a person to show enough effort and attention to detail in how they present themselves (in print and in person) to convince the hiring agent that they will bring the same effort and attention to detail to their work in the office or in the field. Unfortunately, too many people (of all ages) seem to think that because they have specialized skills in one particular field of study or practice, they shouldn't be expected to worry about things like etiquette and communication. The willingness of start-ups (usually run by like-minded individuals) to hire these people only reinforces this notion. Start-ups run with that kind of attitude tend to run out of clients, and thus money, pretty quickly. Life belongs to the learners, and a recent graduate reading Mark's slides has an opportunity to learn some invaluable lessons that will serve him or her throughout his or her career. If he or she would rather try to substitute snark and cynicism for critical thinking, he or she will essentially build his or her own glass ceiling - and a very, very low one at that.
  6. Empowered Presentations Presentation Design Compan
    Empowered Presentations Presentation Design Compan
    Version: 03/06/2013
    Beautiful Mark O'Toole! We agree 100% and bring only bring on those that have the desire and passion to learn our craft...not just for a paycheck! : )
  7. Mark OToole
    Mark OToole
    Version: 03/06/2013
    Hopefully grads are getting a sense about just how competitive it is out here.
  8. Empowered Presentations Presentation Design Compan
    Empowered Presentations Presentation Design Compan
    Version: 03/06/2013
    @markrotoole What do you think are the PROs about creating Visual Resumes in lieu of traditional ones or in addition to?
  9. Mark OToole
    Mark OToole
    Version: 03/06/2013
    @mrcoryjim Visual resumes for visual jobs -- yes. I'm in #PR so words are still important to me too!
  10. Samantha Owens
    Samantha Owens
    Version: 03/06/2013
    I absolutely love this!