Whether you are applying directly to a company or via a recruitment agency, more often than not you will be dealing with a Recruitment Consultant. This is the person you must impress first and foremost. This is the person who holds the key to whether you progress or whether you don’t.
Recruiters are specifically trained to pick out the best person for the job. Sometimes this can be out of hundreds of applications. There are a number of common mistakes that job seekers consistently make which often spells the end of the process for them. Here are some helpful hints to help you avoid that outcome:
- Get the basics right
Do not underestimate the importance of this. The number of emails and job applications that a company or recruitment agency receives each week is significant. So, too are the grammar and spelling mistakes that come with them.
Many emails, resumes, and cover letters are unclear in intent, and contain spelling and grammar mistakes. Often, this can be enough for a Recruiter to decline an application straight away. An application that is difficult to read, is full of errors, is too long, doesn’t address the requirements….and so on, does not give off a great first impression. Recruiters often simply do not have the time to try to decipher what you mean and whether you are suitable.
Your resume needs to be brief, clear, easy to read, and well written. A recruiter should be able to glance through it quickly and clearly see that you have the experience, skills and education that they are looking for.
Do not just re-use a cover letter that you have used for another job. All too often, a cover letter used for another advertisement is re-submitted for a different job or company. It is obvious and it does not impress. Instead, you must take the time to specifically address the skills required for the particular job and company you are applying to.
- Do your research
You must anticipate possible interview questions. Ensure that you know your resume in detail and that you have, most importantly, researched the company you are applying to. All too often, candidates are rejected when they cannot answer this simple question, ‘What do you know about our organisation?’
When asked by the recruiter to talk through your previous positions, you must be able to go into detail with regards to your responsibilities and achievements. Do not assume that the recruiter knows what you have previously done. Be confident in your knowledge and skills, let them know that you are the right person for the job.
Sell yourself, if you don’t no one else will.
- Have manners
Do not leave your mobile phone on during an interview. Not even on vibrate. Under no circumstances ever answer a phone call during an interview. This is unprofessional and rude.
So too, is being late for an interview. This shows a lack of detail and care and reflects poorly on you and your organisational skills. If you cannot turn up to an interview on time why would the recruiter think that you can turn up to work on time? On the other hand, do not turn up too early either. This shows an inability to manage time.
Speak professionally in an interview. Do not swear or use slang words. Be friendly and build rapport but do not discuss personal matters in too much detail.
- Consider your contact points
Think about how a recruiter is going to contact you, what impression will they form? Too many job seekers don’t consider what their voicemail message sounds like – does it identify who you are? Do you even have voicemail? Can a recruiter leave you a message?
What is your email address? Is it professional or is it something silly that you may have created in your teenage years? Perhaps set up a mature and professional email account specifically for job applications.
Also consider where do you reside in the electronic world; do you have a Facebook page? If so, ensure that it is only available to those you want it to be available to. Recruiters have become much savvier at checking on candidates through social media. Be mindful of what photos are on the site and what is being written if you have dozens or hundreds of friends linked to you.
- Responding to Rejection
Be careful how you respond to rejection. As much as it is frustrating and disappointing to receive a ‘sorry you have not been successful’ email, resist all temptation to respond negatively. All it does is confirm for the recruiter that they were right to not select you in the first place and they will make a note on your applicant card. If you genuinely want feedback as to what you could have done better or where you could improve, most recruiters would be more than happy to provide this over the phone or via email as long as it is asked for in the correct way.
So just to reiterate, when you are applying for a job be sure to remember that you are in direct competition with a number of other candidates who are also applying. You need to make yourself stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons. If you can impress a recruiter at the start of the process it will go a long way to helping you become the successful candidate down the track.