Recruiters say these 4 red flags are costing you a job offer

It is a market for job seekers and companies are focused on working quickly and efficiently to fill numerous vacancies. But with the rapid rate of quitting and hiring over the past year, some recruiters are rethinking the signs that someone might be a good employee, and what might be holding them back from moving on to the next round of interviews.

CNBC Make It spoke to hiring experts for their top four red flags that could cost you the job offer.

Can’t explain your job hopping

Job hopping is having a moment: 23% of workers who left a job in the past year are open to another job this year, according to a recent Employ survey of more than 1,500 people. A short period may not carry the same stigma as it used to, says Employ CEO Pete Lamson. “It’s a new world where the frequency of job changes is accelerating, and employers need to understand that.”

But you should still be ready to explain why you’re back in the job market after a short tenure.

For example, you might focus on how the scope of the job has changed between when you interviewed and when you started, says Kathryn Minshew, CEO of The Muse. You could also focus on the impact you made on a job, even after a short time there.

Keep the conversation simple and forward-looking, says career coach Chelsea Jay: The former work environment was no longer for me, and this is what I look for in the future.

Trash-talking your current or former employer

According to a Muse survey of 2,500 people, about 72% of young job seekers say they feel they bought a new job too much and regret taking it. But slandering a former employer is bad form, said Paul McDonald, Robert Half’s senior executive director.

Instead of addressing what you felt they were doing wrong, frame the experience instead as a lesson learned about what you like and don’t appreciate in a workplace.

For example, if you didn’t like the competitive nature of a previous company, Minshew suggests saying something like, “I thrive in a collaborative environment where I get a lot of information about the different parts of the company, colleagues want to help each other and there is a minimum of politics or gossip.”

Appearing unprepared

You may find more recruiters these days sending you cold messages on LinkedIn in the hopes of getting your hands on you, even if you’re not actively looking for a new job. While that may get the ball rolling in conversations, recruiters say they can see when someone enters an informational interview without having done any fundamental research in preparation. In any case, do a quick check with the company and prepare some questions about the job to show your interest.

Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half, says his biggest annoyance is when a candidate shows up for a virtual interview that appears to be caught off guard. After two years of remote work, people feel more comfortable with video calls, so he notices when people don’t have great technical etiquette or present themselves too casually for a professional conversation. But life happens, and sometimes you have to take a call from your car on your lunch break, or if you’re stuck in traffic on your way home. Explain it at the top, he suggests, and thank the interviewer for understanding. Then dive into the conversation.

You also need to be prepared to broach the salary interview in initial interviews, says Angela Copeland, senior vice president of marketing at She recommends waiting for the recruiter to bring up the pay first so you can counter by asking what range they work with. If HR doesn’t provide a number, show that you’ve done your research by naming a competitive range based on your area and qualifications.

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