Beware Applicants – Don’t Burn Bridges

by Bluewater Advisory

January 10, 2013

Hi and Happy New Year! I am Mark Debinski, Founder & President of Bluewater Advisory and Bluewater Search, broadcasting today from beautiful Mobile Bay. Today’s blog topic is: Don’t Burn Bridges.

Our blog today is a little bit different in that we usually speak to business owners or those business executives making a hiring or organizational development decision. In this case, our blog is speaking directly to candidates. We would like to share three common mistakes and sometimes fatal flaws that we see in the recruitment and search process that candidates often make and hopefully you can learn from the mistakes of others.

1. Improper Exit
2. Bad Will
3. White Lies

Let’s start with the first, improper exit. When you choose to leave an organization – sometimes it may be your choice – either way, the way you conduct yourself and the behavior around your exit interview and other exit processes, will carry forward and often weave their way into references for your next area of employment. Many candidates mistakenly think that former employers don’t give references. You would be surprised! We process and screen hundreds of candidates each month and 9 out of 10 times we can get a solid reference on a former employee and a bad exit or poor behavior during an exit will usually carry through during that reference.

The second and sometimes fatal flaw that we see is what we call bad will. You might not be happy with the way your last job ended. It’s okay to complain to your friends and family but we will caution you to think twice maybe three times before you post something very negative on a social media site for everyone to see. Whether in your mind that it’s your feelings and it’s true, etc., we have seen candidate searches get derailed because the potential future employer sees the acidity and the negativity that the candidate has put out there in public about their former employer and the potential future employer thinks, “I don’t know if I want that person on my team”.

The third common mistake and often fatal flaw we see are those white lies on resumes. What I’m talking about are those small embellishments that oftentimes people think are okay to put either in the resume or in the onboarding/application process and more often than not it comes back to bite them and can often be the difference between a hire and a non-hire. Just two weeks ago, we had a candidate in their final interview with the President of a large organization and they had indicated on their resume that they had specific experience in a certain area of supply chain. During the interview process, the President of the hiring company asked the candidate how he had actually used that experience and implemented some of those techniques in his former job and capacity. When push came to shove, the candidate actually just had attended a class and hadn’t done anything with the material. That was enough for the President and the hiring company to count that candidate out of the hiring pool.

Again, three common mistakes and often fatal flaws that we see are: an improper exit, bad will and white lies on resumes and other applicant areas.

If you would like more information, reach out to us anytime at or and we would be happy to help you.

Thanks and have a great day!