5 Candidate Bloopers Recruiters Know Too Well


Candidates do the darndest things…

Pity the less-than-diligent candidate whose cover letter opened with the line, “Dear Sir or
Madam”. For while some applicants ace the recruitment process, others fall victim to common blunders that can have recruiters struggling to keep a straight face.

From unfortunate spelling mistakes to trying too hard with corporate jargon, we’ve compiled our list of the top five candidate bloopers that recruiters are faced with time and time again.

1. The CV Slip-Up

All too often, seemingly innocuous spelling errors on resumes can prove to be disastrously hilarious. Take the candidate who managed to misspell both “attention to detail” and “proofreading” on his CV. The latter was a key skill of his, apparently.

Some of our other favourites include the job seeker who claimed he took a career break to “renovate his horse”, the candidate who claimed to be “bilingual in three languages”, and this applicant’s (possibly intentional) description of her job duties as “filing, printing and coping.”

2. The Awkward Interview Attire
While office dress codes may have relaxed over the last twenty years, the interview room remains one place where candidates should consider their outfit choices carefully. Unfortunately, it would appear that some applicants missed the memo.

A few of the wardrobe woes shared by our recruiters include t-shirts emblazoned with controversial slogans or graphics, ripped-to-pieces jeans that were more “hobo” than “boho”, and a particularly revealing garment that showed off far more than the embarrassed interviewer wanted to see.

3. The Copy-Paste Fail

There will always be those time-conscious candidates for whom copying and pasting the same message to multiple recruiters seems like a good idea. To those applicants we say, you might want to double-check that email before hitting “Send.”

For a recruiter, few things are more off-putting than being addressed by the wrong name, having your company referred to as that of your arch rival, or receiving an application for a position you’re not advertising. A little personalisation goes a long way.

4. The Inappropriate Profile Pic

When it comes to that all-important profile picture on an applicant’s resume or LinkedIn page, most recruiters have seen their fair share of photo fails. Our message to camera-wielding candidates? Avoid the following at all costs:
duckface Duckface selfies: Not the best way to get a recruiter to take you seriously.

Posing with pets: No matter how cute your fur baby is, please leave them out.

Blurry “night out” snaps: That Jagerbomb in your hand? Not a good look.

Cartoon avatars: Unless you’re actually a 2D animation, just don’t.

5. The Buzzword Cram

How many times have candidates assured you they can “think outside the box”, are at the “bleeding edge” of technology, and would love to “touch base” with you? While we’re all guilty of using the odd cliche, communication abounding in overused buzzwords can be infuriating in its nonsensical jargon.

And if the candidate in question thinks their corporate lingo is making a good impression, they’re probably wrong. According to Darlene Price, President of Well Said, Inc., “you need to avoid business jargon and be clear in order to get your point across and be heard.”

If you’re despairing over awkward applicant gaffes like the ones above, you might want to remind your candidates that a little diligence and a spot of common sense can make all the difference!


As a recruiter, you can’t always predict what candidates will do – but you can manage them effectively with the right tools! Bullhorn is the world’s most popular candidate management software. Want to learn more? Click here for a free demonstration. 

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