Job applicants should double check their spelling and focus on both their experience and appearance to land the job they want, according to new research


  • Experience, attitude and typos can all make the difference between success and failure
  • Employers’ final hiring decisions are more likely to be driven by gut feeling than a candidate’s interview performance
  • Research by the world’s largest job site Indeed provides top tips jobseekers can use to land the role they want

Job applicants should double check their spelling and focus on both their experience and appearance to land the job they want, according to new research from the world’s largest job site, Indeed.

The analysis, which looked at the hiring behaviour of decision makers at small businesses – those with fewer than 10 employees – covers the application and CV-sending stage as well as the interview process.

The findings yield some practical tips that candidates can use to maximise their chances of success – and many easy fixes can be made right at the start of the application process.


Would-be employees are advised to read the job description thoroughly and to use their application to show their understanding and suitability, while also demonstrating they have the necessary experience and paying close attention to their spelling and grammar.

Researchers – who polled 1,000 small business employers – found the vast majority (81%) place a higher premium on a candidate’s experience than on their education.

Table: Top 5 pitfalls to avoid on a CV

Rank Reason for rejecting a CV % of employers who would be put off
1 Insufficient experience 21%
2 Misunderstood job suitability 19%
3 Spelling or grammatical errors 19%
4 Too many short-term roles 11%
5 Overqualified 7%

Job interviews can be nerve-wracking even for the most qualified and best prepared candidates, but there are a few fundamental steps that everyone can take to improve their chances of getting hired. The single most important thing to demonstrate is enthusiasm for the role, with a third (33%) of employers saying they wouldn’t hire a candidate who showed a poor attitude.

While preparing for an interview, candidates are often tempted to focus on the minutiae of the questions they may face. Yet employers are most likely to recruit someone they connect with personally – with more than a quarter (28%) of bosses saying they hire based on gut feeling.

Table: Top 5 reasons employers say yes to a candidate

Rank Reason for hiring % of employers swayed by this reason
1 Gut feeling 28%
2= Candidate has relevant experience 23%
2= Strong interview performance 23%
4 Good qualifications 8%
5 Candidate reminds the employer of themself 6%


Bill Richards, UK Managing Director at global job site Indeed, comments: “Applying for a new job can be daunting, exciting, frustrating and rewarding. So understanding what employers are looking for – and what factors are most likely to sway their hiring decision – is invaluable for jobseekers.

“While it is obviously important to get your CV looking good, do your homework and perform well at interview, the fact that most hiring managers ultimately go with their gut shows how a lot of our nervous energy about the application process may be misplaced.

“No-one gets every job they apply for, but equally no-one likes to be knocked back after investing time and effort into applying for a job. So to maximise their chance of success, it’s vital that candidates go for appropriate positions, and use their CV and application to demonstrate both their suitability and their enthusiasm for the role.”