If you’re a horror movie fan, you know they’re full of morons who do stupid things that get them killed. Of course what you do in a crisis situation is quite different when you’re watching a scene unfold in a cozy living room with a bowl of popcorn compared to when you’re actually experiencing it yourself. If you’re a job seeker, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Out of desperation, you may resort to behavior you otherwise wouldn’t – like hiding under the bed, shooting the killer everywhere but in the head, or suddenly being unable to use a doorknob to open the door.

Your job search can throw you a few curve balls too. Without the eerie music to warn you of imminent danger, are you still vigilant enough to avoid the Clichés you’d experience if you were in a horror movie?

  1. Home-made detour signs in the middle of nowhere. You’re better off driving around randomly and running out of gas than following signs like these. Those who do are just asking for the demented backwoods fellas who made the signs to hunt them down and brutally murder them one-by-one. Similarly, if you come across Craig’s List ad stating, “Need Mad Scientist to Clone Dog”, “20-30 Henchmen needed for moderately-sized supervillain organization with excellent growth potential”, or “Are you a ghost surfing the web (if you’re DEAD and reading this, please respond!)”, would you expect sane things to transpire if you respond? (For more hilarious CL ads, click here).
  2. Short-term victories. “Hey – let’s keep the beaches open…even though there are sharks in the water!” “I think I’ll bring my crazy alcoholic husband and innocent son to a grand hotel in the mountains for the entire winter – with no possible escape except a snowmobile.” “I must capture it to study it in the name of science!” Don’t be that dummy who takes a quick buck over long-term success.
  3. Buying a haunted house. You know the story: young couple buys a big old house below market value, moves in, ready to begin their idyllic life together. It’s not long before they witness some spooky, supernatural events. Rather than run like cowards, they stay, and it’s not long before the walls start shaking, the earth starts quaking, and their dog becomes possessed by the ghost of a civil war solider who is buried on the very space where their house is built. All of this could have been avoided if they’d just left at the first sign of blood on the walls. Folks: if it looks creepy, it is creepy. Get out!
  4. Taunting the weirdo nut-job who lives down the street. There are 2 possibilities with a guy like this: he’s either a musically-gifted psychopath with an English accent, or he’s a misunderstood social outcast who ends up being your last hope for survival. In the real-world, this guy could be the one who helps you land a job, or your friendly neighborhood murderer. Either way, taunting a guy like this is never a good idea.
  5. Not being prepared.  “Oh gee, my car engine won’t start and that zombie is quickly approaching!” “Uh oh – I forgot to pay my cell phone bill and have no phone reception!”“Help! Mutants are roaming the streets but I don’t know the route out of town!” You never know what surprises life will throw at you. The more prepared you are, the better off you’ll be.
  6. Not looking where you’re going.  On nearly every foot-chase scene in horror movies, there’s that point where a character makes what seems like a very promising move to escape the killer, darting into the wilderness. But like a complete idiot, he doesn’t actually look in the direction he’s running…when BAM! He runs straight into the killer himself!  Without goals, we’re easily distracted. Think about what you’re really trying to accomplish and make a plan to get there.
  7. Assuming you’re safe.  At some point in horror movies, the hero defeats the monster and pats him/herself on the back, breathing a sigh of sweet relief, and then….CHOP CHOP! Have you ever assumed you had an offer, only to find that it didn’t go through? You’re not safe in a horror movie, and there are no guarantees for safety in your career. If your job search isn’t working, stop and reevaluate your process.
  8. Being a jerk.  If there’s one constant in horror films, it’s that the jerk ends up dead. Being nice increases your chances for survival, people! In the real world, being a jerk may cause you to develop a bad reputation or prevent you from getting a job.
  9. Splitting Up.  We all know that the guy who goes against logic and splits off from the group to investigate a strange noise in a creepy forest is going to get killed. When going up against zombies or insane serial killers, your odds of survival increase substantially if you stay together. It works the same way in the real-world. We’ve all heard how important networking is to one’s job search success. Remember though that it’s not just the sheer number of people in your network who are important, but the relationship you have with them.
  10. Investigating Creepy Noises.  Whispering from the room upstairs. Rustling in the bushes. Tapping on the windows. There are very obvious reasons why sane people pull away from these situations: the killer is the one making the noises! Scams have been going on since the dawn of humans. Once and for all: if it sounds too good to be true, it is. Stick to your guns and be true to yourself. If you aren’t confident in your abilities, how will employers be confident in you?

Halloween Quote

There’s one very good reason we love horror films:  bad guys get killed and often die gruesome deaths.  Unfortunately, life doesn’t always work that way. So take these 10 Horror Movie Clichés Job Seekers Should Avoid to heart. Happy Hunting!

Did You Know? –  Edythe Richards loves to lurk on LinkedIn, but she screams bloody murder when she receives the default LinkedIn request!