Even in a Tight Job Market, Recruiters Say These 4 Red Flags Will Cost You the Offer

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It's a job-seeker's market, and companies are focused on working quickly and efficiently to fill scores of openings. But with the rapid rate of quitting and hiring in the last year, some recruiters are rethinking the signs that someone could be a good employee, and what could nix them from getting to the next round of interviews.

CNBC Make It spoke with recruiting experts for their top four red flags that could cost you the job offer.

Not being able to explain your job-hopping

Job-hopping is having a moment: 23% of workers who left a job in the last year are open to changing jobs again this year, according to a recent Employ survey of more than 1,500 people. A short stint might not carry the same stigma as it once did, says Pete Lamson, CEO of Employ. "It's a new world out there where the frequency of changing jobs is accelerating, and employers need to be understanding of that."

But, you should still be ready to explain why you're back on the job market after a short tenure.

For example, you could focus on how the scope of the job changed between the time you interviewed and when you started, says The Muse CEO Kathryn Minshew. You could also focus on the impact you made on a job even after a short time there.

Keep the conversation simple and future-focused, says career coach Chelsea Jay: The past work environment was no longer for me, and this is what I'm looking for going forward.

Trash-talking your current or former employer

Some 72% of young job-seekers say they felt oversold on a new job and regretted taking it, according to a Muse survey of 2,500 people. But bad-mouthing a former employer is poor form, says Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half.

Instead of going in on what you felt they did wrong, you could instead frame the experience as a lesson learned in what you do and don't value in a workplace.

For example, if you didn't like the competitive nature of a previous company, Minshew suggests saying something like: "I thrive best in a really collaborative environment, where I'm given a lot of information about the various areas of the company, colleagues want to help each other out and there's a minimum of politics or gossip."

Showing up unprepared

You might find more recruiters cold-messaging you on LinkedIn these days hoping to catch you even if you're not actively looking for a new job. While that could get the ball rolling on conversations, recruiters say they can tell when someone comes into an informational interview without having done any basic research to prepare. At minimum, do a quick check on the company and prepare some questions about the job to show your interest.

Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half, says his biggest pet peeve is when a candidate shows up to a virtual interview seemingly caught off guard. After two years of remote work, people are more comfortable with video calls, so he notices when people don't have great tech etiquette or present themselves too casually for a professional call. But life happens, and sometimes you have to take a call from your car during your lunch break, or as you're stuck in traffic on your way home. Explain it at the top, he suggests, and thank the interviewer for their understanding. Then dive into the conversation.

You should be also prepared to broach the salary conversation in first interviews, says Angela Copeland, senior vice president of marketing at She recommends waiting for the recruiter to bring up pay first so you can counter by asking the range they're working with. If HR won't give a number, show you've done your research by naming a competitive range based on your area and qualifications.

Acting entitled

It's one thing to show up unprepared to an interview, but another to give the impression you're doing the recruiter a favor by taking their call.

While the U.S. may be seeing record hiring, "job-seekers should not overexaggerate in their minds how great the market is" to the point of appearing entitled, Copeland says. "You still want to put your best foot forward, show up and be professional."

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