5 ways your past can sabotage your job search

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Aug 24

Getting a job is a difficult enough task without having your past sabotage your job search efforts. HR professionals are understandably very concerned about hiring the wrong person, because the average cost of a bad hire equals up to 30 percent of the individuals’ annual salary. Therefore, it’s important to properly manage your past information. Below introduces five ways that your work and personal life can sabotage your job search.

Inconsistent Job History

The first thing that HR professionals look for on a resume are the job history details. Having an inconsistent job history is the first warning bell that goes off. That is, often changing jobs or only working a limited time at each employee will harm your job search efforts. If possible, only include long term jobs with a legitimate explanation for any employment gap on your resume.

Many job seekers make the deadly mistake of ignoring the ‘employment gap’ section on the job application. HR professionals are very suspicious of any unexplained unemployment gaps. School, a long commute and health and family problems are all legitimate reasons for leaving employment. If asked during the interview, be sure to clearly explain your active job efforts and how proactive you were during any unemployment gaps.

Bad Work Experience

Many employees face workplace issues that lead to termination. These include interpersonal conflicts, harassment and even discrimination. However, HR professionals naturally side with other businesses. Therefore, be careful about explaining how and why you were unfairly terminated at a past job. Briefly explain the situation and avoid badmouthing your previous employee, even if they acted unfairly or inappropriately. Explain in the most professional way possible that the previous employment was not a good fit for either party. If possible, use a previous co-worker from the place of employment as reference.

Criminal History

Getting hired with a criminal history presents certain difficulties. While it is legal to cite criminal history as a reason for not hiring an applicant in certain states, most HR professionals will typically focus on the fact that the individual does not have the right qualifications compared with other applicants. They do this because they want to avoid potential lawsuits based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits employment discrimination.

Still, if you have criminal charges on your record and live in a state where it is legal to not hire because of past criminal convictions, consider using an expunction attorney to fix your legal record. Expungement attorneys can obtain a court order to close criminal records, which will improve your chances of obtaining employment.

Bad Credit History

Some companies check credit history as part of the background check. The financial industry is federally regulated and, therefore, most financial jobs require a credit check as part of the licensing process. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that consumers be able to access their free credit report for free every year. Therefore, consider first obtaining a copy of your free credit report from Equifax, Experian or TransUnion. Use this opportunity to correct any mistakes. In addition to this, you can prepare answers to expected questions about your previous financial decisions.

Online Footprint

Reputation matters when it comes to a job search, regardless of whether it is a high-profile position or just a regular hourly job. If you have worked within an industry for many years, your reputation will matter. Traditionally, reputation inquiries involved word of mouth discussions. Now, online footprints are treated the same as reputation.

Be careful about what you share on social media sites. Remove any questionable comments or photos from social media websites. Refine your LinkedIn site to demonstrate your skills and professionalism. Enter your name into different search engines and social media sites to verify what is currently available on the internet about you.

In conclusion, common factors that sabotage job searches include inconsistent job history, a bad work experience, your online footprint and criminal and credit history. Clean up all these details in order to give yourself the best shot at landing that killer position. You can learn more statistics about the costs of bad hiring decisions at Greenjobinterview.com.

Anica is a professional content and copywriter who graduated from the University of San Francisco. She loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.


About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.