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Candidate Screening

After screening in excess of 200 applications, and interviewing over 50 candidates over the last 18 months for internal Impact positions, Director Paul Hooper has written a list of some of the most frustrating things he has encountered. This could be seen as a guide for employers, or as a guide for candidates on what not to do!


My name mis-spelt on an email/envelope

First impression and attention to detail poor.


A Covering Letter has not been sent when asked for and has not been tailored to the job description when it has been sent

Again, lack of attention to detail and not presented their skills and experience in the best possible way.


A CV has not been tailored to the job description

Again, a lack of thought and commitment to presenting their skills and experience and to stand themselves out from the crowd.


Some areas of the application form have been left blank

It could be interpreted as you couldn’t be bothered, lack of attention to detail or you not taking the application seriously. It would be much better to write something along the lines of… I am afraid I don’t have any examples in this area but am very willing to learn and am very confident I have the personality and experience to take this on board.


Grammar and spelling errors

Your résumé is your best chance to present yourself in writing as the ideal candidate for a job, so scrutinize it for accuracy before sending it in. Spelling and grammar are important indicators of a candidate's attention to detail; they highlight defects rather than spotlighting qualities. It may be the difference between getting an interview or not.


More than one candidate tried to use a fun and zany handshake on the first greeting!

These are usually used by secondary school students, professional athletes and close friends that show those who witness them that there is a close, familiar bond.

Using these types of handshakes is reserved for informal settings and they are to be used only when greeting very close people.

If you try using them in a formal setting or with someone who is not a close friend, it gives the impression that you’re not so mature. It also shows that you are not aware of situations you find yourself in.


No research has been done into the Company, its values, its history or its latest news

Applying for a job or going to a job interview without first researching the company is like trying to read with your eyes closed.

Take some time to find out some of the company’s history and background, what their goals and mission statements are, and what kind of reputation they have in the industry.

This information will help you know how to respond to questions and tailor your résumé for the specific job you are applying for.


No real interview preparation particularly with some standard interview questions

OK, so some interview questions are easier to answer than others. But whilst you can’t predict exactly what you’ll be asked, any question has the potential to make you stumble – unless, of course, you’ve prepared in advance.

To help give you an idea of what could come up, research some commonly asked interview questions and prepare some answers before your interview. Even better role-play them with a friend or relative.


Very limited information on a candidate’s CV or preparation when questioned in an interview as to hobbies, interests, sport, cultural or social activities.

I feel this shows someone’s personality, potential cultural fit and uniqueness which may put them ahead of other candidates with similar skills and experiences.


About the author

Paul Hooper

Over 20 years’ industry experience and a founder of Impact Recruitment Services. Paul is dedicated to delivering a recruitment service that exceeds expectations.

Championing a strong work-life balance, he’s a big Liverpool fan and manages a local youth football team, sponsored by Impact.