Working in the job search business affords talent acquisition pros with fantastic, nitty-gritty, human level interaction. It’s professional, and can be personal, at times. Through the course of an interview process, recruiters get to know candidates. We coordinate interviews around already busy schedules, and anyone who’s been successful in the job hunt knows it takes patience, tact, and the ability to be available – even when it’s not convenient. Most candidates find a way to avail themselves. That’s not to say they don’t have their challenges in doing so. For the most part, it takes a little jockeying of schedules, and we’re able to make interviews happen.

Every now and again, we hear an excuse that leaves us scratching our heads. We shrug it off, and move on. Sometimes candidates forget the early stages of the interview process are just as important as the latter [part of the process]. It’s easy for good candidates to be overlooked, so avoiding mistakes is crucial. From the ease with which you can schedule interviews to your responsiveness, clear communication, and preparedness – factors that are seemingly insignificant to you – can affect how you are perceived.

Companies want to hire people that are easy to employ.  The interview/hiring/selection process is designed to weed out people. This effort to narrow attention to key, likely successful, candidates allows the employer to better qualify what they view as best-fit candidates. Mistakes and excuses can halt your pursuit of new opportunities, even before you get started.

Here are 3 of my favorite excuses for not starting a job search:

“I’d listen if it were a great opportunity.”

Every opportunity is great for someone. If not you, maybe someone you know is perfect. This is a career investment that savvy candidates are willing to make because they understand one conversation leads to another and another. Every interaction broadens a professional network. An expanded network demonstrates its value over time, not today. Embrace the introductory call invitations, and the informational interview opportunities. In time, the foundation you lay can lead to a more stable future.

“It’s a busy time for me now.”

Waiting for the right time is short sided, and just plain silly. Never put your career progress on someone else’s shoulders. You control your career. Professional and personal responsibilities often take priority and pull us away from our individual development. Only you can reign in you. Schedule time for self every week. Find time. Get up earlier or stay up later. 15 minutes, 5 days each week provides you with more than an hour of time dedicated to you. What can you accomplish, specifically for your own career progression, this week?

“I’m not looking now.”

What you’re really saying is, “I’m just waiting to get canned.” Don’t look past the professional leverage you have while you are employed to explore, even if it’s just to validate. Workforce conditions are changing. Established companies and less mature companies are seeking talent at a time when available talent is limited. The result is a shortage. Talent shortages lead to increase compensation, benefits, and other incentives.

It’s a professional imperative to ditch these self-destroying job search excuses. Effort and commitment can accelerate the search for your next great opportunity, and they’re in your control. It’s your job to capitalize before the opportunity fades.

David Rose is Vice President of Recruiting with YELLOW DOG Recruiting. Follow David on Twitter @YELLOWDOG_01.