The 10 Worst Timewaster Job Search Tactics

You’ve been on the job hunt for weeks and still no interview? Welcome to the club. I reveal 10 Timewasters and how to avoid them if you want to reduce your stress and search time.


Job searching details are different for almost every job seeker but timewasting seems to be a common theme. Sorry in advance if this applies to you, but if you’re applying immediately to every job you come across that’s remotely related to your field, and if you’re handing your resume over to anyone you meet, and if you are chasing hiring managers like your life depends on it, then you are likely already making at least 3 of the most common mistakes.

I assure you if you drop some or all of the following timewasting tactics you will improve your chances of scoring an interview significantly.  So, if you want to change your situation let’s get started ASAP.


Timewaster #1: Totally focusing on online job posts

In general, job postings and ‘want ads’ produce limited value. However, it is also a mistake to ignore them altogether.


Some of the best chances for jobs from ads are in specialty trade publications, online forums, twitter posts and job web sites of specific industries. I suggest that you spend no more than 20 per cent of your valuable time on public job postings.


Timewaster #2: Arriving unprepared to job interviews

No matter how you look at it, all job interviews are comprised of five basic elements: articulating your value, conveying your knowledge of the company, asking intelligent questions, negotiating compensation and following-up.

You need to practise these items in advance so you can ‘ace’ the interview. ‘Winging it’ just won’t do!


Timewaster #3: Looking only for job openings

Searching for companies with ‘openings’ is an obsolete job hunting method. The best jobs are never ‘vacancies’ or ‘openings’. Rather, more than 40% of positions are created for the applicant, oftentimes at the interview or the networking or referral stage.

The key is to shift your focus from ‘openings’ to ‘opportunities’ (which exist nearly everywhere).


Timewaster #4: Leaving yourself open to many kinds of jobs

The real key to a successful job search is to focus on finding the RIGHT job – not just any job. Unless, of course, it really is ‘just’ a job for you…

Critical factors to consider include satisfaction, growth potential, location, cultural fit, great co-workers, a pleasing environment and competitive compensation.


Timewaster #5: Completely random and unplanned approach to your search

Most people spend more time planning a vacation than planning a job search.

I suggest the following tips to conduct a proper job search: a well-thought out methodology; daily solitude and planning; space in the home dedicated to the search; and a system for accountability. If you need more info or help, contact me.


Timewaster #6: None or ineffective networking

Networking should be the second most important focus area of your job search. I know from daily interviews that most people go about it the wrong way – by talking too much and asking for jobs at every opportunity.

The best networkers are listeners rather than talkers, have a clear agenda, and are not shy about asking for feedback and guidance. Remember that networking is more about giving than it is about taking.


Timewaster #7: Allowing others to control your job search

Of course, it is best to conduct your own research and target the right companies yourself. Remember: only you can ‘sell yourself’ effectively and land a job.

I am not suggesting that you do it all alone. You should work with a small selection of professionals – they can play an important role in your search. But you’ll need to maintain control over the whole process.


Timewaster #8: Mailing out unsolicited resumes

Unsolicited resumes are considered garbage, scrap paper and wasted effort. Secretaries kill them, HR managers recycle them or, at best, file them away, and hiring decision-makers pitch them.

My suggestion: abandon this job search tactic completely.


Timewaster #9: Doing it alone

You pay a plumber to fix your pipes; an accountant to sort your taxes; an attorney to create an estate plan. Why would you not invest in professional help with your job search?

Job search or career coaches provide objective guidance, help you ‘think outside the box,’ and provide a proven system for job search success. Many offer excellent advice on salary negotiations – often exceeding the job seeker’s expectations.


Timewaster #10: Under or overselling yourself

Not knowing your market value is a BIG MISTAKE.

You must research and assess your value in the marketplace before you attend a single interview. Never disclose your salary requirements – always get the employer to name the salary or range first.

The time to talk money is when the employer has made it clear that you are their top candidate, and after they make an offer. Don’t fall into the trap of answering that question too early. If you need help, contact me, I can give you a few pointers how to park that question until the right moment arises.

So, are you making any of these mistakes? If so, stop wasting your precious time.  If you have other tips please share them with us and in the meantime hunt wisely!