Being a Candidate of Choice

Recruiters are in a unique position, in that what we do is neither purely art or purely science. It isn’t always about the ‘best’ resume, the pedigree school, or the numerous accolades. Occasionally different attributes cloud the clear cut decision based on skills, especially if that is critical in the position. Sometimes it’s really all about the intangibles that keep you in the running for that position. (Wait, you mean it’s not about that I was the #1 recruiter/sales-guy/excel spreadsheet ninja in my office?) Nope. It’s sometimes about the small stuff, and contrary to the book, you need to sweat this small stuff: 

This isn’t exactly all from 1st hand experience, but from a number of things I’ve either had happen or have been witness to over the years.

1. Follow all the steps that the employer has asked of you
If they say that to consider you, they need a resume, references, and some type of assessment, then complete them all, as asked. The manager/recruiter is too busy to sift through all the people who decide that they are the best candidate and don’t need to jump through all your hoops. The name on the resume says it all. No – it does not.

2. When you have a call scheduled – Be There. 
Nothing is as frustrating as carving time out of your day to talk to someone, and having them not show or call. Yes, things happen that are sometimes beyond control, but at least make an effort to communicate this. In this day and age of not being able to NOT BE FOUND, it’s borderline unacceptable. It’s also an indicator to me that you might be willing to blow off that big deadline. (Again, wild circumstances do occur, and those are excluded)

3. Ask me questions. Be curious.
Inevitably, you’ll have questions about the role or company. And that’s expected since it’s a big deal to change your job. But after talking for 30-45 minutes, if you tell me “no, that covers it all”, I’m skeptical. Asking me thoughtful questions shows me your interest in the job and your passion for what you do.

4. Ditch the functional resume.
All it tells me is you can’t tell me what you did in each job. As many will tell you, the functional resume is dead. Show me that you know what you did.

5. Quantify.
Tell me what your numbers were. How many projects were you involved with concurrently? What processes did you improve? How did your work contribute to the overall success of the company?. The more you can give me to paint the picture that you know exactly how much of A & B it took to get to C, the more I know that you are vested in your work. You wouldn’t estimate how much you owe on taxes, you’d get all your paperwork together. Same same.

It’s all about presenting yourself in the best light possible. Sometimes you get just one shot to be great. Treat each time that it’s that shot.


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