Job-seekers have enough on their plate without wondering what otherwise positive workplace attributes may cost them a job offer.
But add one of those so-called attributes to the plate they must, as more and more career experts say multi-tasking is a red flag for hiring managers.
"Employers are more interested in outcomes than efforts," notes Anne Grinols, a business instructor at Baylor University. "Multitasking refers to the latter, so I would not use the term 'multitasking' on my resume. Instead, I would indicate expertise in multiple areas, timely production and excellence in outcomes."
One reason why employers may reject applicants who tout their multitasking skills is the notion of actually doing more than one task at once really doesn't exist - and it all comes down to how or brains work.
According to Grinols, there is both conscious and unconscious approach to accomplishing tasks. "The subconscious takes care of some activity, as we go on 'automatic pilot," she explains. "When we've done something over and over again, we don't give it the same proactive attention. Unfortunately, this can happen when we do something as familiar as driving. Long-distance drivers can begin to think about other things, thus paying less attention to the road and the other drivers, and their driving suffers."
On the other hand, conscious mental activity happens one activity at a time, she says.
"For example, if a student texts during a lecture - or an employee texts during a meeting - the information being taught or discussed will be lost to the one who is texting," Grinols adds. "People going back and forth between two conscious mental activities lose some time and efficiency of brain function that robs them of effective accomplishment of one activity, or both."
In a real world example, Grinols cites a staffer who's given an assignment to accomplish a goal and also to participate in a team meeting. "Don't start thinking about the strategy as you sit in the meeting, or your active participation in the meeting - which includes listening to the input of others - will suffer," she says. "Focus on each one separately to be able to succeed at an optimal level at both. Employers expect optimal-level accomplishment."
Workplace experts agree with Grinols, and wonder why job-seekers bring up multitasking at all during job interviews.