The six mistakes we wish graduate recruiters wouldn't make

Students are terrified of committing even the smallest error on graduate recruitment forms - so why is it okay for recruiters to be so sloppy?

It's that time of the year again. We finalists have woken up to the reality that, come July, the lovely people from Student Finance won’t be sending us any more money. And so the rat race of landing a job begins.

For most, it’s an arduous and lengthy process involving more rejection emails than you've had birthdays. But it’s not just you who needs to worry about making a good impression every step of the way. Oh, no. This is a two-way deal.

So listen up, graduate recruiters! We may be desperate, but, realistically speaking, there are more suitable opportunities out there than we have time to apply for. What this means for you is that even the tiniest slip-up and we could be writing you off for good. Sound familiar?

If you’re as keen to hire ‘top talent’ as you say you are, here are some things to watch out for.

Silly mistakes

We’re always reminded how highly valued 'a keen eye for detail' is by employers, so it’s a bit embarrassing when application forms or email correspondence are riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes, or your interview is scheduled on a day that doesn’t actually exist. Yes, 'sir/madam', I look forward to meeting you on 31 September as well.

It may just have been the slip of an HR person’s finger, but it makes a bad first impression, and first impressions - we are constantly reminded - are crucial.

Incomplete application forms

Many graduate employers outsource their online application form to a third party, which is fair enough - they can’t do everything themselves - but some then don’t bother to make sure that it’s appropriate for their needs. Often, when I’m asked to select my subject (law, hardly unheard of) from a drop down list, it’s not there and I’m forced to choose something else entirely. I could probably just about have forgiven this sort of irritating blunder if one of the guilty parties hadn't been a City law firm.

Unclear application form

Neither is it helpful when you’re given a page where it’s mandatory to upload up to five attachments, which would be fine if you were actually told what those attachments should be. Am I really meant to guess?

And other times, the system just slows to a snail’s pace before crashing repeatedly. Not cool.

Application form isn’t tailored to graduates

'What is your current salary?' 'Are you currently in employment?' 'If not, why not?'

It’s all just a bit awkward, really. Typing 'n/a' into half of the fields gets boring quite quickly. I’m applying for a graduate role, so please give me a graduate application form.

Being backwards

The bad news is that even if you manage to bag yourself an interview, the misery might not end there. I was invited to an interview the other day only to be met with an all-female HR person team, old boys performing the core business, and receptionists wearing more makeup than a Doctor Who alien.

This was the same firm where, in his welcome speech, one of the senior managers told us: “To get a job here, you have to pass what we call the ‘good bloke test’. Or the ‘good blokette test’,” he added, clumsily, motioning to the single female interviewee in the room.

This is the 21st Century, you’re not in Mad Men. If you say that you 'value diversity highly' then act like it.

Not letting us know when we’re unsuccessful

And if the interview doesn’t work out, at least all recruiters will let you know about it, right? Wrong. A few offer to give feedback, and that’s great, but many will unashamedly tell you that they’re not even willing to send out a mail merged email. It’s a basic courtesy, especially if you’ve asked us to keep a date free for potential next round interviews.

The sad thing is that, given the state of the job market, even if we decide not to apply to a company because of the way that they come across, there are hundreds of others who will. And what’s to say that the best candidates are the fussiest? The truth is that, unlike applicants, graduate recruiters have a negligible amount to lose from slip-ups or lapses in courtesy here or there.

So, graduates, strap yourself in and prepare for some annoyances on the way, but don't worry, because it’ll be alright in the end.

Or so they say.

Sebastian Salek is a freelance writer and a law student at Clare College, Cambridge. Follow him on Twitter here.

Sport
footballLIVE City face Stoke, while Warnock returns to Palace dugout
Arts and Entertainment
books
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Junior VB.NET Application Developer (ASP.NET, SQL, Graduate)

£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...

Financial Technical Consultant (C++, C#, Finance, MSc, PhD)

£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Financial Technical Consultant (C++, C#, F...

Year 3 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 3 Teacher Required We are curr...

Year 5 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 5 Primary Teaching positionRands...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone