The job market has become job-seeker friendly in many ways. With unemployment at or near record lows for months and automation not yet taking a major toll on the workforce, it's easier to get a job in many fields than it ever has been.
This tight labor market has put workers in the driver's seat in many cases, and forced some companies to loosen hiring requirements to focus on skills and potential instead of degrees.
There's a lot of good news for people looking for jobs, and that gives job-seekers more power. You may have choices as to where to work, or the ability to play multiple offers off of each other.
It's a good situation -- but remember that even though many companies are desperate for qualified bodies, it's still very possible to not get hired. Avoid the red flags below which can keep you from getting the job and, in some cases, make you less employable in general.
1. Never badmouth a current or past employer
Your next employer knows they may someday be your past employer. If you say bad things about where you work now or someplace you have worked in the past, that can scare a new employer away.
Focus on the positive. It's fine to say things like you're leaving because you "don't see an opportunity for advancement" or that you "have outgrown your current position." You should, however, avoid any direct criticism of your current employer or any past employers, even if the interviewer tries to get you to go there.
2. Never ghost an interview
Because the job market is so good, you may get offered multiple interviews. In some cases you may line up interviews for, or even get offered, better jobs then others you have interviews scheduled for. If that happens, you have two options: You can go on an interview for a job you probably don't want, or you can cancel the interview.
Ghosting an interview (simply not showing up) is a terrible idea. First, it's flat out rude. Second, you never know when a recruiter or manager may end up with another company. If you ghost an interview you run the risk of doing long-term damage to your career, as you never know when or where you may come across a person again.
Ideally, you should go on every interview offered until you accept a job. You may be surprised in the interview, or just make a connection that benefits you down the road. It's fine to interview and then remove yourself from consideration if it's not the right fit for you.
3. Never lie
In college, a friend of mine interviewed for a job that required extensive graphic design experience. He said he had that on his resume, and that was plausible due to his time working on various campus publications.
In reality, he did not know anything about graphic design. When he landed the job he spent the next weekend learning as much as he could. He got away with it, but he played a very dangerous game.
Lying on your resume is a terrible idea, especially in the digital era when it's much easier to verify everything. If you get caught lying you may not only not get the job you're applying for (or be let go after you're hired) -- you could do serious damage to your future work prospects.
Go and get hired
Look at the strong job market as an opportunity. Avoid these mistakes, and take advantage of the fact that workers have more choices than they typically do. Do your homework, put yourself out there, and find a position that supports your long-term career goals.
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