Before meeting with any recruiter a job candidate will do all the usual things. They will update their resume, research the role and company, develop answers to lots of behavioral interview questions and double check what they plan to wear so they look professional.
But what else do they need to do to make sure they are successful. We asked recruiters from a range of different companies and industries what things they wish job seekers knew before they walked into an interview with a recruiter.
Five Things Recruiters Wish You Knew Before the Interview:
1. I Want to Love or Hate you
Recruiters are looking to match the best candidate to the role they have open. That person needs to be experienced, qualified and a great cultural fit for the placement to be successful. Recruiters need to find this one person among the hundreds of applications they have received so they are looking to quickly split all applicants into 2 distinct piles – Love you or hate you.
I love you gets closer review and possibly an interview, I hate you goes into the ‘no’ pile which is just as satisfying because it culls the list down significantly. To make sure you stay in the positive group you need to:
- Come across as confident and likable. People want to work with people they get along with and people they quite like. If the recruiter feels you are likable and they themselves develop a rapport with you, you have a much better chance of being shortlisted for the role.
- Showcase your soft skills and emotional intelligence. Many companies ask recruiters to not just look at skills and experience but to asses the candidates soft skills like communication, self awareness, listening skills etc…
2. Give Me a Good Reason to Remember You
Recruiters see hundreds of candidates for a huge number of roles every week. It’s not surprising that after the interview they sometimes find it hard to remember each person without referring back to their notes. If you can, you should give them a positive reason to remember you either personally or even better professionally. Think about things like:
- Can you make a connection like both attending the same high school, university etc…
- Do you both like the same sport?
- Do you know people in common?
- Can you share an unusual career success story?
3. This Job Not Any Job
Recruiters are not silly, they know you are applying for multiple roles and that it’s quite likely you would be happy with any of those roles if they were offered to you. Despite that, they are only going to put forward candidates who show they are specifically interested in the role they have. If you come across as “anything will do” trust me, you will get nothing. You need to make sure you:
- Have thoroughly researched the company, its competitors and the job description
- Have specific questions to ask that show you have done your homework
- Tell them how you specifically would contribute to the company in the first 3,6 and 12 months
- Answer every employers silent question….what’s in it for me?
4. Non Generic Follow Up Please
Every candidate will send a follow up note after an interview with a recruiter. This is just good job interview practice. What recruiters really respond to though is a more personal follow up, rather than the standard thanks for meeting with me. Consider things like:
- Did you discuss any specific software or data base options in the meeting? Could you send a link to further information or an example that touches on your discussion
- Did you connect over a love of sports? Could you send a link to an article relating to that sport that the recruiter would find interesting
- Did you discuss a unique agency the recruiter found interesting? Could you send through the contact details or the website url
5. Be Clean, Consistent & Up to Date
Once a recruiter sorts the resumes into the yes and no piles they will often do a quick online check of all the potential candidates to see if there are any serious warning signs. They will look at how professional your social profile is as well as the consistency of information across all your social assets. You need to ensure that you:
- Clean up Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all other social media assets you have. Recruiters have it when they find foul language, questionable photos, evidence of drug and alcohol use etc…It means they must remove you from the potential list and that reviewing you to that point was a waste of their time.
- Check your information on your LinkedIn profile is consistent with the information on your resume. Inconsistency send alarm bells that you may be lying.
- If you have updated your resume since meeting with the recruiter send them an updated copy or advise them that your online version has been updated. They must asses you on your most current information and experience at all times.
Quick Tips From Recruiters:
Silence is not rejection
Just because you don’t hear back from a recruiter immediately does not mean they are ignoring you or have written you off. Recruiters must wait for feedback from clients and sometimes this just means there are delays. Be patients and trust the process.
Don’t lie on your resume
A good recruiter will always check the facts and details on your resume. Don’t lie, you are going to get caught and that will mean the recruiter will not put you forward for any role.
Stretch but don’t overreach too far
Don’t apply for roles that are way, way beyond your skill and experience level. It’s ok to stretch a little but if it is unrealistic you are just wasting the recruiters time and your own and that is really annoying. Remember recruiters are filling many roles at once and they are extremely busy.