Tag Archives: screening process

Pet Peeves- What NOT to do as an applicant!

In the time that has passed since my last post, a LOT has happened to me! Through the process of trying to find the right job for me, a layoff, and even working selling cars (that’s right, I sold cars and was darn good at it!) I finally landed a great position and am working as the HR department at a local business. Yes, little ol’ me is the whole HR department (with the exception of Payroll with the Office Manager does along with her bookkeeping/accounting work).

Part of this work involves the recruiting process. As a former recruiter, I am quite familiar with this process although this industry is a new one for me to be recruiting for. After going through hundreds upon hundreds of applications in my time, I thought I would share my biggest pet peeve about applications. If you are looking for a job, take note of this!

All of these are equally bad, but these are in order of what came to mind so it’s safe to say the first ones listed are the worst offenses:

1) Not attaching a resume

It really doesn’t matter to me what work you are doing. What I want to know is how stable your work history is. So if there is an option of attaching a resume: ALWAYS DO IT! Take care to pay attention to such things like typos and make sure dates of employment are on there. If somehow I still decide to phone interview you- I will ask about dates and any gaps. How about you make it easier on everyone involved and just include that information to begin with? If you need help making one, go to a career center for assistance.

2) Refusing to properly complete the application/questions

My applications have 5 questions. FIVE. That is it! I do not make you completely rewrite your resume, nor do I ask a million behavioral questions. I ask 5 questions that can tell me enough about you to know if you are worth calling. When I ask you to tell me about your work history, this is to allow you the opportunity to tell me how qualified you are. This is not the time to tell me that “I have already applied. Call this number for an interview.” What that tells me is that you think you are above this process and the rules don’t apply to you. This also tells me that you likely won’t fit in with our company.

3) Calling too many times

When someone applies and did not receive a confirmation email, I am okay with them calling simply to confirm the application was received. Calling me everyday and then showing up to my office, however, is harassment. Do not harass the people doing the hiring. There could be many many reasons why you have not been contacted yet. That being said, I do my best to contact everyone who applies with an update on their application, but it is through email. Which leads to my next one.

4) Not checking your email/Answering your phone

If I email you to tell you thanks but no thanks, calling me and asking for an update won’t change my answer. If I call you for a phone interview and it goes straight to a voicemail box that is not set up EVERY TIME, you’re going to irritate me. If I email you to set up an interview time and you don’t reply, that tells me you’re not interested. I don’t know what else to tell you about that.

5) Giving me lip because you did not ever get a call from your application you put in 8 months ago, which was 3 months before I even started

Here’s something too many people seem not to know: Don’t be rude. Give the receptionist a bad attitude? I ask her to let me know if she has a bad feeling about someone. Call in and automatically start whining on your high horse? Maybe you should find out who you are talking to. For quite some time, I was both the receptionist and the HR admin. I had someone call in and immediately begin giving me an attitude because 3 months before I started, she had applied and never heard back. She continued to tell me that we couldn’t possibly have found anyone more qualified than her and I was lying if I said I did. So I did what any self respecting hiring manager would do: I asked for her name and immediately pulled it up so I could make a note of it in our applicant tracking system and informed her that we had no positions that would be a fit for her. Your attitude when speaking to employees weighs heavily, but especially so when the position you are trying so hard to get is heavy on customer service. Before you give an attitude, think about how the employer will feel about it. How can they trust you to interface with customers when you put down people that would be your own co-workers.

6) Lying

Just don’t do it. It’s really not worth it.

7) Accepting a job offer when you have no intention of staying at the company

Don’t waste the company’s time and don’t burn bridges. Going through the entire hiring process and quitting on your second day because you never left your other job and they countered our offer after you already accepted it is not smart. HR people do talk and companies remember things like this. If you constantly burn bridges, you’re going to be left jobless one day and nobody will shed a tear about it but you.

8) Refusing to follow instructions

If I give you hiring paperwork with clear instructions, there are reasons for that. If it takes you nearly a month to bring me back incomplete hiring paperwork- guess what? It goes back to that burning bridges thing. I will take that to mean you declined the offer long before you ever returned it. If I send you benefits information and you never send it back to me? Don’t come whining when you have no health insurance. If you don’t correct your address with me and don’t receive your W-2? Not my fault. You are an adult. Act like one.

9) Trying to get around HR to get hired

I know there are some sources out there that recommend reaching out directly to hiring managers to get your foot in the door. I say stop it! Here’s why: Most people who do this only serve to annoy the Hiring Manager because they have to tell you to apply properly or because they send you to HR who is then annoyed that they have to tell you what is clearly stated on the company website and all the job postings. It also sends a red flag to me just like number 2. Yes, the rules DO apply to you. We want you to apply a certain way for a reason and that reason is that we have a very lovely software that tracks information for us and makes us do mandatory reporting. You trying to skip that 5 question application online can cost precious time and energy in HR. We aren’t doing this because we are lazy and mean. We do this to ensure everyone receives equal treatment and we can prove it.

10) I’ll leave this one to the crowd. What is YOUR pet peeve about applicants? What would you recommend people NOT do when trying to get a job?


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Drug Screen- The Good, The Bad, and The Down Right Disappointing

Taking urine samples from just hired employees is certainly not the most glamorous part of my job, but it is often the most revealing. Over time I have learned enough about human behavior to get a good feel of who will probably fail the drug screen, however thinking someone may fail a drug screen is obviously not a legal reason not to hire someone. There are often signs, though, like when they get antsy when they see the drug consent form and start asking questions like what we test for and when we will be doing the test, will they send them somewhere else for it.. etc. But I always go into my interview with an open mind and base my hiring decisions on our needs and the persons skills.

That being said, it never ceases to amaze me how people respond to failing the drug screen. One of my favorites is the Denier. They either insist that the test must be wrong that they have NEVER done drugs or they say they are on a prescription and that must be the reason why. Really? Awesome! If they say it is wrong, our policy is to have them retake it. If it’s a prescription, we need a copy of the prescription so we can verify that it would cause a positive result for that particular drug.

For some strange reason, they never return with that information.

Another of my favorites is the repeat offender. It doesn’t happen often, but our company has a policy that an employee must wait 6 months before reapplying after failing a drug screen. At that point, in my mind, you have no excuses. You already know we do the drug screen. OBVIOUSLY. Yet a handful of times I have had people come back after 6 months and fail again. I kid you not, I had one employee tell me that they “thought they had waited long enough for it to be out of [their] system this time”

Gee, that’s reassuring. I definitely want to put you out on a job site now!

There’s also the group of people who always take a ridiculously long time filling out their paperwork (I can only assume they are considering whether or not they want to risk the test?) only to fail. These types often have the most frustrating responses.

“Really? Darn..”


“Oh yeah, I smoked a couple days ago.. I thought it would be out of my system by now!”

“Yeah, my friends smoke all the time so it’s probably just second-hand.. oh well.”


It frustrates me to no end when they go in knowing (or they should know) that they will fail, but they waste my time as well as their own.


The disappointment comes when I actually do believe the employee or when I know they would have been the perfect candidate to fill an open job order. One employee had just lost their child in a tragic accident and after failing, admitted that they had done the drugs to cope. I do not condone the use of drugs, but it still breaks my heart that not only did they lose their child (which I do know is true) but they messed up an opportunity for employment. That employee had the perfect skills for an order that had an immediate need and they wanted to get to work to keep busy.

Lately I have had a string of fails that took me by surprise. Professional looking employees who interviewed well, conducted themselves in a similar manner, tested well, etc.. yet they fail.

Which brings me to the good.

You never know who is doing drugs!

We screen every new hire as well as screen after an on the job injury, because at the end of the day it is a liability not to. Even with the best red flag detector, there will always be people who know how to hold themselves professionally yet they hide a dark secret. The last thing you need is to send someone to a job site, representing YOUR company, when they could show up high or worse– get injured due to being high.

Now even with your screening process (in our case: phone screen, interview, drug screen, AND background screen) you will not catch everyone. Perhaps they have never been caught doing illegal activities and perhaps they were smart and expected the drug screen… but at least you can say that you did your due diligence in screening them.

Testing urine may not be glamorous, but it sure is important!


Do you have any funny/shocking drug screen stories?

Share below!


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