Follow Those Instructions! | Articles & Tips | | Rochester




 Articles and Advice

 Follow Those Instructions!

By Joe Stein

An underrated piece of a person’s job search is how all of their actions impact their candidacy for a position. An example of this is how your ability to follow the instructions of an employer assists a job search. In comparison, your failure to follow the instructions provided by a prospective employer may hinder or even eliminate your candidacy.
It is easy to fall into bad habits and not follow instructions. It may be because you believe you know a better way to do things, or time constraints have created a need to cut corners. Whatever the reason may be, you are treading on dangerous ground when you do not follow the instructions provided by the company.

For Recruiters and Hiring Managers, an applicant not following instructions can lead to a few different reactions. The reaction is almost always negative, since being able to follow basic instructions is a necessity in almost any type of job. At minimum, it is an annoyance causing extra work or frustration. At the other extreme, it is a deal breaker viewed as a serious breach of protocol. The reaction is generally a result of the direct impact to the Recruiter or Hiring Manager, due to your inability to follow instructions. 

Let’s examine some ways you can display your ability to follow instructions:
·        Cover Letter & Resume – Send these documents in the format requested and the method desired. If there is specific information, such as a listing of certifications or a reference number, then please provide the needed information in the documents. The philosophy is that if the company didn’t really need to have this information, they would not have made the request of applicants.
·        Applications – Prospective employers who are accepting applications will sometimes have specific times that they are open for those to apply. If times are posted in an advertisement, then arrive during that time period. Arriving at a different time may cause you to be turned away, or significantly inconvenience someone in their attempt to accommodate you. When completing the application, fill out all sections. Many Job Seekers decide for themselves to skip sections because they are including a resume. Unless you are told that explicitly by the Recruiter, fill out all sections of the application.
·        Position Requirements – Most advertisements have specific requirements needed for the position in experience and/or education. Some Job Seekers have the mistaken attitude of submitting their application or resume regardless of whether they are qualified. The thought process of these misguided individuals is “what do I have to lose?” The problem with that strategy is you almost always will be immediately filed in the “no” category, and often your name just may be remembered negatively by a Recruiter when it comes to other positions you may be qualified for in the future. Instead, review the criteria in the job advertisement and determine if you are a legitimate candidate, or should you spend your valuable time pursuing other positions.
·        Appointments – Whatever the reason for the appointment, please be available at the time you committed to. If the appointment is in-person, then arrive 5-10, minutes early, in anticipation of the engagement. If the appointment is by phone, then be available for the call and in a position where you will be able to speak without interruption.
·        Following-Up – Showing up unannounced at the site of a facility may show to some that you are a “go getter”, however, to most it will be considered rude and a nuisance.   The same thought process applies in situations where you are told, after a phone or in-person interview, that you will be hearing from the company by a certain day. If you find yourself in this situation, then send a respectful Thank You Card and wait for the call. Do not call continually during this time frame, looking for an update.
·        Testing – Get ready for a huge pet peeve of mine. Those who know that a company background, credit, or drug screens and still takes the test(s), knowing that they will fail. Apparently, the idea is to take a chance and see what happens…maybe you will get lucky. In reality, you waste time that could be spent searching for a position you will be eligible for, and also wastes the time and the money of the prospective employer. Most companies won’t give you a 2nd look in the future if you fail one of their pre-employment tests.
Conducting a Job Search can be hard work, but there are a number of easy, small things that you can do to help yourself. One of those things is to follow the instructions of a prospective employer when pursuing them. By following those instructions, you may find yourself with a competitive advantage over other applicants and landing the position you were hoping for.

As always, best of luck in your job search.
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