Monday, January 11, 2010

How not to get hired, from the VP of HR at CSN Stores

Advice from Bridget Diorio, vice president of human resources at the Boston e-commerce company CSN Stores, on how good candidates can eliminate themselves from consideration for a job.


Begin forwarded message:

- Where you guys are mostly hiring in 2010... what sorts of positions?

We anticipate hiring 50 or more new professionals across several categories within the next six months to a year. Right now, we're interviewing for Software Engineers, Marketing Managers and Assistant Marketing Managers, Business/Financial Analysts and Customer Service Representatives. The employment outlook here at CSN Stores is quite promising as we head into a new decade, which means that this is a great time to join our team. Our business continues to grow, so we have an ongoing need for more friendly, very talented people to become CSNers.

- What are one or two of the resume flubs/mistakes that people often make that can knock them out of consideration?

About 30 percent of all candidates, many who are abundantly qualified for positions, neglect one of the most important parts of anyone’s job application – the cover letter. Unfortunately, this puts these candidates at a disadvantage compared to others who use a cover letter to really sell their achievements and what they believe they can bring to CSN Stores.

Also, candidates who don't submit cover letters appear to be less interested in securing a position here at CSN Stores. Like all employers, we’re seeking enthusiastic, upbeat people who really want to help build our business and contribute to our friendly culture. For these reasons and many others, we highly recommend that everyone applying for a new job include a cover letter with a resume.

Other factors that can negatively impact someone's candidacy include typos in a cover letter or resume and the overall aesthetics of the materials they submit. If a document is formatted badly, for instance, the recruiter may think that the applicant doesn't take much pride in his or her work.

I recommend that applicants take the extra time required to assemble great materials, as that will pay off for them in their job search process.

- What have you noticed people doing in interviews that can turn them from a strong candidate into one that's no longer in the running?

Candidates who don't do some homework to learn more about CSN Stores often hurt their chances of being hired. Conversely, the best way a candidate can WOW us is by searching for news ab out our company and then integrating that knowledge into the interview.

We've generated a great deal of media coverage in the past two years that is easy to access online. Candidates can conduct Google searches for CSN Stores or some of our 200+ online shops, such as, Cookware.comand They can also go to our home page,, to find a link to our News Center. Avid social media surfers can find valuable CSN information on Facebook, Twitter and the CSN Stores Blog, as well.

If they've taken some time to learn about us, in advance, that tells us that they're serious about embarking upon a career with us. And that helps them to make a great first impression.

- How about faux pas after the interview, maybe in terms of follow up (too much or too little?)

A short thank you note or e-mail within a day or two following the interview is always appreciated by our recruiters.

After they’ve sent their brief note or e-mail, candidates often need to be patient and wait to hear back from us. During every interview, we tell each candidate when we plan to be back in touch. That's because we want to reserve enough time to visit with other candidates and give everyone the proper consideration for every position.

Sometimes candidates call us and e-mail us several times, well in advance of the time we said we'd get back to them. While we appreciate their enthusiasm and interest, we also like to see that they listened to us and can show respect for our very fair process.

The best time to demonstrate passion for the position is during your interview. If you’ve done well in your interview, rest assured that we will remember you and give you every consideration as we make our final hiring decisions. Too much follow-up can actually work against you.

We have days when we're interviewing as many as 10 or 20 people, especially in the case of Customer Service Representatives. So it can take time to evaluate them fairly and choose the right candidate who will thrive, grow and be happy here at CSN Stores. In the end, that’s really best for everyone.

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