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6 things job hunters can do to stand out from the crowd

Some of this advice may seem common sense, but recruiters say that candidates don’t often adhere to their advice

Job candidates typically take advice from professional friends, online articles, and personal experiences for tips on securing their dream position. While some may provide legitimately helpful advice, some may not – and bad advice can be counterproductive in the job search.

To avoid this happening, The American Genius went straight to the horse’s mouths – the recruiters and hiring managers – and collected a list of things they wish that candidates would do more often.

Here’s their 6 tips for success:

  1. Ask meaningful questions

Typical questions like, “What does a normal day look like in the role I’m applying for?” are okay, but candidates should think deeper. The best and most successful candidates approach the interview with the aim of having a conversation.

Senior Recruiter of Vitamin Talent, Renee Diaz, says, “I would say [candidates] don’t genuinely interview the employer during their interview. They just answer and often ask vague questions. They don’t dig about the people – “rough” days, “best” days, biggest accomplishments, why the interviewer chose this company, or why are they still there.”

Director of Luna Data Solutions, Lucas Mitchell, gives a great example: “I wish just one candidate would ask me how their role contributes to the business. I talk to more people than I can count that don’t care what their role does, they just want a job. That’s great, and congrats on wanting to earn an income, but if you don’t know why your job is vital for the business to grow, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it.”

Corporate Recruiting Manager with All Native Group, Justin Williams, points out another interesting question to ask: “I have seen on rare occasion a candidate ask to meet with the team or tour the office so they can see what the culture is like. Now normally we won’t tour the candidates or have them interview other people unplanned, but I must say this is really impressive when they do. It shows above-and-beyond initiative and interest in our company. Out of the hundreds of interviews I’ve done, I’ve seen only 2 people do this. I hired them both times.”

  1. Follow directions

Although candidates may want to strive to do their absolute best when applying for a job, it’s important not to overlook the basics.

Owner at Palmas Capital Partners, Kevin Smits, explains that, “quite often [candidates] won’t follow the directions we give them to apply. We are very specific in our process and if they can’t get the steps right, we know they aren’t going to be a fit.”

Tailor your CV and covering letter to each company and position you apply for.  And yes, reading and following directions is a part of the process.

  1. Follow up

Follow-ups are so important, yet rarely done.  Smits suggests doing so by sending a simple yet thoughtful thank you note. Thank them for their time and tell them you enjoyed meeting them.  Be sure to call back something specific from your conversation.

  1. Understand and explain the impact of the job function

Division Director with Modis, Brett Simon, says candidates should “understand and be able to articulate how their job function impacts the rest of the organization. People that can do that effectively are always ahead of the curve.”

Diaz stresses the importance of doing your research saying, “Too few candidates research the company – who they are, what they do, their competitors, recent news AND they don’t research who they are interviewing with. It SHOCKS me.”

Good research makes you look more educated, interested and better equipped for the role.

  1. Have and practise an elevator pitch

Allyson Hoffman, agent with Vitamin Talent, explains that having a elevator pitch is a golden yet often forgotten rule, “I wish more candidates had a clear elevator pitch. It’s especially important for those just starting out or making a career shift. Don’t make the hiring manager figure out who you are and what you want to do.”

  1. Don’t dwell on the past

Recruiters are most interested in your up-to-date information. Staci Kae Alter, founder of Click Career Consulting says, “Everyone should have an up-to-date summary on their profile and resume so we understand what all of the past work history listed below has culminated in.”

Director at Brooksource, Rob Howard, suggests: “A candidate should never talk about experience at length that is older than 5 years old. Of course, there are special circumstances, but use that as a general rule of thumb.”

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