Pet Peeves from Hiring Managers

When applying for a higher education job, you want to ensure the hiring manager looks at your application. You carefully answer the on-line screening questions—yes, you have the requisite degree; yes, you have the necessary experience; yes, you know how to keep seven balls in the air while simultaneously bicycling backwards and singing Frère Jacques in Tagolog. Still, the hiring manager barely glances at your application. What happened?

Below are some pet peeves from hiring managers:

“I will not look at any application that is written in text speak. Spell out your words! I don’t want to have to get my teen-aged son to translate for me.”

“Misspelled words! You are applying to work at a university. For pete’s sake, show that you know how to spell!”

Other managers mentioned applications typed completely in lower (OR UPPER) case. “That indicates laziness. If he can’t be bothered to use the shift key on a job application, what kind of short cuts will he take with important projects I need him to complete?”

Many applicants dislike providing information on the online application that they’ve already provided in their resumes. However, typing “See resume,” into an on-line application raises the hackles of many hiring managers. “We want each applicant’s info presented in the same format. Telling me to ‘See resume,’ suggests arrogance—you’re too important to have to play by the same rules as anybody else. Or, worse, you’re trying to put yourself in control of the hiring process.”

While the pet peeves may vary, the overall message is the same: don’t take short cuts with the online application. Check your spelling, use the shift key when appropriate, and provide all requested information. Competition for university jobs is fierce, and you don’t want to be kicked out of the race before it’s even started.

Dindy Robinson is Director of Compensation at Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas.

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