The job market is more competitive than ever these days. There are more candidates looking for work than there are jobs available and it truly is an employer’s market. What does this mean for candidates? How do you, as a candidate, stand out? Let me give you some insight from the recruiter’s side of the interview desk.
As an executive recruiter, I see a vast number of resumes from qualified candidates and yet I have to screen them and select only the top 3 to push forward to my clients for review and interview. There are things that you as a candidate can do to stand out not only to recruiters but in your own job search. Here are a few suggestions on how you can edge out the competition:
1. Education – Give yourself the edge over other candidates and look at the field you want to work in. Work towards industry specific certifications and take courses that will further your education and help you remain up to date on current legislation, programs, methods etc., pertaining to your field of employment.
2. Networking – Use the connections that you have whether they are past business colleagues, professors or instructors, or co-workers. Use your connections and ask them to direct you to the people that they know of that are hiring.
3. Follow Up – Within a few days of submitting your application reach out via email or phone to the recruiter and follow up. Be professional in your follow up email. If you are calling a recruiter directly don’t expect to have a long conversation about the position and how your skills match the criteria required, simply ask them if they can confirm that they have received your resume and if the position is still open.
These are just a few of the things you can do to set yourself apart from other applicants. Visit our website www.lucaspsg.ca to review our job postings and find out more about our recruiters and how they can help you in your search.
Stay tuned for Part 2 – What does this mean for Employers?
We’ve all been in the same position, 2 candidates have made it to the final round of hiring and on paper they are both seemingly perfect for the position. So what makes a recruiters decision in these types of situations? In my opinion it’s a little bit of both – fact and instinct.
Facts are facts, they are black and white there is no in between. If personality, written, mathematical, or industry knowledge assessments have been a part of your recruitment process, the numbers don’t lie. The results are what they are and can’t be changed. These are the facts about your candidate.
Along with assessments, references and educational qualifications are also facts (items and things that can’t be changed) that help shape your opinion of your candidates. But what about those things that aren’t tangible, that can’t be measured one way or the other? These also contribute to your opinion of candidates. How a candidate handles themselves during an interview, how candidates present themselves, how they answer your questions and how they behave during the interview process will also be a large and very important factor in deciding which candidate to move forward with.
When 2 candidates are in line for a position and both seem perfect on paper, I feel that instinct becomes more important than fact to make the final decision. A recruiter’s instinct is usually always right. Why? Because we know our clients, and the environment that we are recruiting for, and we know what personalities will fit well with those clients and within those environments. In the end, if required we make a decision based on our instinct about our candidates, and our knowledge of our clients.
If you are faced with a dilemma between 2 candidates – go with your instinct… it’s probably the right choice!
Lucas Professional Search Group
More than anyone, I understand that people are always nervous when entering a job interview. I also understand that many candidates worry and stress over potential questions that may be posed to them during an interview. I always hope that my candidates will be comfortable enough when interviewing with me that they will be honest and relax enough to have a genuine conversation with me about themselves and their potential. If I could give my candidates 3 pieces of advice for interviewing it would be:
First, remember the recruiter called you for an interview! So somewhere something on your resume caught their attention and they are interested in you as a potential candidate. This is extremely important considering the amount of resumes recruiters receive for any given position. If a recruiter contacts you after you have submitted your resume to them, try and remember that they see potential in you and your skills otherwise they wouldn’t have called you.
Second despite what you might think the questions recruiters ask you are not meant to trap you or entice you to say the wrong things. We really want to know what you disliked the most about your previous position, or what you feel you can work on to become a stronger employee, or what you feel you are the best at. During an interview it’s okay to speak highly of yourself if the question asked allows it, it’s your time to impress the person interviewing you and showcase your talents. Don’t be afraid of this, it’s your time to shine during the interview.
Lastly remember the importance of first impressions. The hand shake, your attire and overall presentation during the interview is still extremely important. You only have the brief window of the interview to make an impression on the person interviewing you so make it a strong positive and professional impression.
Next time you step into an interview, remember the recruiter selected you so they are interested in you, take every opportunity to speak of your accomplishments when asked and make your first impression a positive and lasting one… Good Luck in Your Job Search!
Lucas Professional Search Group
Who knows you and what you are capable of better than you? No one! So who better than you to develop your own personal brand.
When developing you own personal brand identify what sets you apart from others. Determine what talents you have that will help a potential organization drive forward. Ensure that you have specific examples of how you have been successful. An Accounts Receivable Coordinator may be able to offer the following example: I have excellent attention to detail. I took the initiative to develop a tracking spreadsheet for the company’s financials and as a result of this I was able to identify a significant discrepancy that resulted in our organizations saving $10,000. This example is great because it identifies what sets you apart (attention to detail) the actions that you took (taking the initiative to develop a spreadsheet) and what your end result was (saving the organization money). The other great detail with this example is that it is quantifiable. Employers tend to base future performance on demonstrated past performance. Ask yourself this question – what do you bring to the table that no other candidate does?
Be confident, not arrogant. There is a fine line between being self-assured and portraying that you are better than others. Organizations are looking for confident professionals that will work well with the team, not professionals that feel that they are above the team. Being confident can also be displayed through body language. A firm handshake, eye contact, posture – they all make an impact.
Develop your personal brand and maintain it in a positive way. Be aware of what you post on your personal LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter accounts as many potential employers may have access to what you are posting. Do not put anything up that you would not want a potential employer to see.
I know who I am and what my personal brand is… do you?
Lucas Professional Search Group
With technology inundating our world, it’s no wonder that job seekers often turn to texting, tweeting, emailing, and sending messages via social media sites as their primary method of communication. Out of all of these technological lines of communication, email is the most widely used. This approach to the job search is not always appropriate and good old fashioned voice mail is often forgotten. Many times email is the only method of communication available on a job posting. If this is the case then email is perfectly acceptable for all questions and concerns during the hiring process. Keep in mind that emoticons and acronyms such as LOL, TTYL, and Thx are never acceptable.
There is certain information that should never be sent via email and where voice mail will always be preferred by anyone who is hiring and interviewing candidates. These situations can include interview cancellations, backing out of a 2nd or 3rd interview, or requiring information such as salary expectations, benefits, and time frame of the hiring process. When leaving a voicemail for any hiring professional always clearly leave your name, contact information and the reason for your call.
The key thing to remember is that communication is vital during a job search process. It’s important that both the job seeker and hiring manager is in constant contact during the process and both are updated on any changes from either party. At the end of the day the key is always to keep communication professional, friendly and respectful during any hiring process no matter what avenue you choose.
No matter what avenue you choose; email or voicemail, keep it professional.