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Raina Writes: What are the biggest turn-offs for hiring managers?


Have you seen or heard the ad campaign for the KFC Wrap?

There's a line in it that says the wrap is ‘workplace-appropriate for when finger licking is not’.

It got me thinking. And not just about KFC.

What behaviours and actions are considered inappropriate in the hiring process? Or, rather, what are the big turn-offs for hiring managers?

As you might imagine, I’ve seen and heard it all over the last 20 years. From too little eye contact to too much. Overly-firm handshakes, hugs, swearing, calling the interviewer ‘mate’... the list goes on.

Most of these are obviously inappropriate. But there are other, less outlandish ones, that creep in from time to time. And when they do, they send hiring companies running for the hills.

Being late

Nobody likes to be kept waiting. Unless there’s a very good excuse, tardiness shows a lack of courtesy that most hirers won’t forgive.

Poor communication skills

It’s pretty standard but in order to work effectively with others, employees are typically required to have the ability to listen, interpret and converse effectively. Spelling errors on CVs falls into this category too.

Lack of commercial knowledge or interest

This came up in a Q&A we did last year. Employers increasingly want employees who can demonstrate how their work contributes to the financial performance of the company.

Rudeness to others

This is a big one. If the candidate is rude to anyone from the recruiter to the receptionist to the cleaner to the hiring manager themselves, it’s over before it’s begun. Courtesy and respect are fundamentals.


This is up there with the hugs if I’m being honest. However relaxed a candidate is made to feel, it’s never a good idea for them to share personal details. Especially if those details leave hirers questioning the candidate’s character or embarrassed on their behalf.


Candidates want to impress. Sometimes that leads to bold claims (e.g. listing every tech stack under the sun on a CV). If they can’t back it up when probed, it brings into question their integrity and what else they might be fibbing about.

What sends you running? What behaviours have you witnessed first hand when hiring?

Let me know and we’ll share them in a future post. Oh, and the best story earns a KFC Wrap on us!



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