I have done a lot of hiring and firing in my career in IT. Let me throw a few at you.
- Too nervous. If someone doesn't act like they know they can do the job, they don't get it.
- Too talkative. I know someone mentioned this. But when someone tries to take too much control of the interview, it feels like they are trying to keep you from asking the hard questions.
- Too friendly. We aren't buddies. Don't try to act like you're going to come in and take over the place with your personality.
- "I can do anything" attitude. No you can't, and you're not going to learn that here. I want to know what you can't do as well.
- Candidate doesn't trust me. This is little more obscure. I know you want the job. My job is to find a candidate. If you cannot do the job, we all fail. I need to make an honest assessment of what you will work well in. If you hold back, squirm, try to answer what I want to hear, instead of the truth, I will know.
- Pretty much any 'tude. If you don't behave during an interview, I'm not letting you loose on my employees and clients.
- Husband called me. Okay, this only happened once. But I was ready to make an offer to a woman that I was sure was a decent fit. Then her husband called me to discuss the terms. He wasn't all that heavy handed, mostly he was pretty reasonable. But I pulled that offer sheet and trashed it. (Some of the women in the office were pretty mad at me for that.)
- ANY of the references are not enthusiastic. If this person can't find 3 people to speak well of him, he's gone.
Rejection before the interview (resume)
Once on a plane I saw an HR person reviewing resumes. He must have had a stack of 300. I learned a lot on that flight. Each resume got somewhere in the vicinity of 3 seconds before he decided which pile to put it in. I do that. So:
- Too long. The resume is to get the interview. Leave some for the intervewi. One page for the short-experience types. Two for the longer-termers. Only the exceptional, scientific or top executive should consider longer. (I make the occasional exception for Indians. In their culture they have a longer is better resume attitude. I've seen ten-page resumes for entry-level candidates. You can't get a concise resume out of them. And in my industry, you don't want to skip over the Indians.)
- Too General. Don't spend much on what the company did, or what the project was. I want to know what you did.
- Too flowery. Just tell me about you, no pictures, diagrams or fancy layouts.
- Sounds like a democrat (okay, I just made that up)