7 Reasons Employers Can Get ‘Turned Off’ by Job Seekers

33% of hiring managers claim to know whether or not they would hire a candidate within 30 seconds of meeting them

When applying or interviewing for jobs, there are certain characteristics, behavious or qualities in job seekers that employers are instantly turned off by.

Preferences and priorities can vary between employers, however here are some of the most common factors that discourage employers…

1. Unprofessional Appearance

62% of employers say that a candidate’s dress sense will affect the hiring decision

When interviewing for a job, employers are expecting to be interviewing a professionally presented applicant. If you attend an interview with an untidy or inappropriate appearance it creates a negative impression. 


  • Wear freshly cleaned and ironed clothes
  • Be presentable (no holes in clothes, loose threads, scuffs on your shoes, half painted fingernails etc.)
  • Keep your colours neutral (safe colours would be black, navy, white, cream, light blue, grey or brown)

2. Lack of Preparation

The most common reason why a candidate would fail a job interview is a lack of understanding of the role – followed by lateness, poor people skills and dishonesty

A standard question you can expect in an interview is centered around your knowledge about the company itself and the position you’ve applied for. Employers want to hear what attracted you to apply to the role and what attracted you to the company, as well as knowing that you’ve done your background research on the company. A lack of preparation into the background of the company can show a lack of disinterest and enthusiasm in the position. 


According to StandOut CV, employers expect the following factors when an applicant attends an interview, in order of importance:

1. What the job entails

2. Why you are suitable for the job

3. Basic details of the employer’s business

3. Negativity

Employers are looking for enthusiasm and positivity in their next hire, so if you are showing a negative attitude, this is going to raise some concerns to employers. This includes talking negatively about your previous employments, your work colleagues and your attitude towards work. 

4. Overconfidence or arrogance

85% of employers would consider rudeness to be an instant reason for rejection

Confidence is a positive attribute to bring to an interview, it has been rated as the number one personality trait which recruiters look for in an interview, as it gives confidence to employers that you would add value to their organisation. However, there is a line between being confident and being overconfident. Excessive confidence or arrogance can be extremely off-putting. 

5. Lack of enthusiasm

4 in 10 employers would reject a candidate if they showed no enthusiasm

A huge red flag to employers in interviews is candidates who are showing a lack of enthusiasm for the position. Showing minimal interest in role you’ve applied for will make employers question why you’ve applied for the position and it doesn’t make them feel confident that you will be the right person to bring a new wave of eagerness, passion, excitement and ambition to the role, which are all characteristics employers value and look for in their new hire.

6. Inconsistent employment history

100% of employers will ask candidates to explain a gap in employment if they spot one

Frequent job changes or a history of short-term employment without reasonable explanations can make employers question a your commitment and reliability. Having too many jobs can be just as off putting as not having any employment history. This is because it gives the impression of ‘job hopping’ which doesn’t show commitment and it can give the impression that you can’t hold down a job. 

If you have a genuine reason for frequent short term placements or gaps in your employment, stating this on your application can help to avoid employers getting the wrong impression. 

7. Interview lateness

84% of interviewers regard lateness (without forewarning and explanation) as the worst interview offence possible

You interview is the chance to make a really positive impression to a potential employer, so if you’re late, you are already starting your interview on the wrong foot!

Being late will instantly raise concerns about your punctuality, which is a key professional attribute that employers expect. By turning up late to your interview, it gives the impression that you wouldn’t turn up on time to your job. Aim to arrive at least 10 minutes early and to avoid lateness to interviews, plan your route to the interview location in advance, taking into account traffic and potential delays. 

Sources used: https://standout-cv.com/job-interview-statistics#why-do-candidates-fail-job-interviews

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