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  • Writer's pictureAnn Willets

Is Lazy the New Norm?

As a recruiter, I’m noticing a disturbing trend, a general lack of effort, and it is beginning to make me wonder… is lazy the new norm, or are some professionals fumbling to adjust to professionalism as they work from home?

The truth is, adulting should be the norm in job hunting. I want to see more candidates truly show up for interviews, prepared and groomed, fully acknowledging that they are a professional going up against other professionals for jobs in which they need to present and deliver accordingly.

I’m not your mother, so I shouldn’t need to remind you of how to dress for an interview or when your interview is about to happen. If you’re going to be a professional, you need to conduct yourself as such. I don’t want to see pajamas or loungewear when I’m interviewing you over Skype or Zoom. I don’t want you to forget when your interview is scheduled.

If you want a job and expect to be babied, you must reevaluate. My clients expect professionalism. They’re looking for qualified talent. Putting in every effort to make a good and lasting impression and being responsible for yourself is the very basis of being an employable professional.

This trend of expecting a recruiter to tell you how to dress and remind you of an interview relates back to the notion that we have become a society of enablers. It’s not far-off to say these days every kid gets a medal. Parents have turned to helicoptering children. More people are losing touch with their sense of accountability and responsibility and replacing it with entitlement and laziness.

Here’s a reality check. With millions of people unemployed, I have hundreds of people submitting resumes and looking for jobs. The first people I’m skipping are going to be the ones who don’t know how to behave in an interview. When I’m dealing with so many candidates, I have to put my faith in the first impression. If you look like a slob, that’s a flag on the play.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it. Don’t sit in your bed for an interview, in loungewear looking like you rolled out of a dryer and show up late. Take time to set up in a spot that’s clear of distraction and offers decent lighting. Ask your housemates to take the dog on a walk or take the kids out for a few minutes, just so you can conduct your interview professionally. It’s called preparation and courtesy.

I completely understand the odd dog bark or a child that walks into the room. Any human being can overlook these things. I can relate. I was a single mother of three who worked remotely. However, these things should be the exception, not the rule.

I have a reasonable expectation that you’re going to present professionally. If you can’t meet those standards, I can’t trust that you will be professional in front of my clients. After my last post, quite a few people commented that “casual is the new norm,” but that is not the case until you land the job.

Until you have an offer in hand and fully adapt to the working culture, you should make every effort to stand out, be professional, and be considerate. It shows that you care enough to give your very best. If your job is casual when you get there, that’s another story.

I say this for the benefit of candidates. Whatever your personal opinion is on the matter doesn’t squat to my clients. What they expect and demand is what counts. Unless you prefer to stay unemployed...and that’s entirely up to you.

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