Recruitment Observations – Getting your next job

Over the past 15 years, I have read over 4,000 resumes, interviewed over 300 candidates, and recruited over 100 employees.  This blog post talks about my recruitment observations over the years with advice to those seeking to be interviewed and how to be best prepared for the interview.

Before you send your details to a prospective employer, be selective.  Do not apply for every possible job that is listed, the scatter gun approach will not get you the interview and will waste everyone’s time.  It is better to apply for 10 jobs and get 3 interviews, than to apply for 100 jobs and get 1 interview.

1. Research the company and the job

Visit the companies website and learn about the company, their products and services, their customers, their suppliers, and their recent history.  Do an internet search for news on the company and visit their social media sites.  Determine whether this is a company that you are passionate about and want to work for.

Check your personal networks to see if you know someone that works at the company.  This is made a lot easier with professional social network sites like LinkedIn where you can see your connections and their connections.  Ask your network about the company, their work culture, and information about the job.  Many company’s have referral programs and your contact may refer you giving you an advantage in the selection process.

2. Provide a tailored cover letter

The cover letter is your opportunity to market yourself and differentiate yourself.  The cover letter must be tailored to the job.  You should talk about why you are interested in the job and how your skills and experience relate to the job advertised.  One impressive candidate even provided a link to a relevant commercial application they created with a license key so I could look at their work.

Too often I receive generic cover letter’s that could be for any role, or worse still talk about a totally different role than that advertised.

3. Provide a concise resume

The resume should be concise and tailored to the job.  You should match the terminology and skills of the job advert where applicable and only briefly mention any irrelevant positions.

Too often I read resumes with spelling errors and MS Word highlights these for my attention; this has even occurred for roles where language skills are important such as Technical Writers.

A good resume length is 5 pages or less, the ability to summarize is important, more detail is not always better.  I have seen some fantastic 2 page resumes that are concise, relevant, and inspiring; in contrast to some painful 20 page resumes that are repetitive, irrelevant, and boring.

4. Prepare for the interview

Find out who will be your interviewers and do some research on them.  Check if any of your contacts know them.  Check their LinkedIn or Facebook pages to learn more about them and see if they have a blog.

Arrive 5 – 10 minutes before the interview.  To be safe, arrive 30 minutes earlier, and relax in a nearby cafe, it is never good to be late and flustered.

Respond to questions with 1 to 2 minute responses.  I have seen candidates that answer with 10 second responses through to candidates that provide 20 minute responses, both of which left us wondering.  For behavioral questions, provide responses that follow the STAR (situation, task, action, result) format.

Do not speak negatively about previous managers or positions.  I am hesitant to recruit applicants with a history of negative experiences, I want those in my team that have a history of contributing to a positive working environment.

Ensure that you have some well thought out questions to ask at the interview.  This is your opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of the company and your interest in the role.

5. Follow up post interview

Candidates that send a thank-you email after the interview are rare, but this simple gesture is noticed.

Ensure that you have referees available that know about the role you applied for and will give you a positive reference.

Even if you do not succeed in getting the role, good candidates will leave a positive impression on the interviewers and may contact them when another relevant position becomes available.



2 Responses to “Recruitment Observations – Getting your next job”

  1. Recruitment Observations – Getting your n... Says:

    […] Over the past 15 years, I have read over 4,000 resumes, interviewed over 300 candidates, and recruited over 100 employees. This blog post talks about my recruitment observations over the years with advice to those seeking to be interviewed and how…  […]

  2. Hazel Chew Says:

    These arevery valuable points, however in today’s day and age only resume and cover letter is just not sufficient, it creates a lot of noise for recruiter as well as the candidate has to keep applying in a black hole. we increasingly need platforms that allow people to show their skill set, Hackertrail is one of them. it allows candidates to crack codes and showcase that they are really qualified for the job, reducing noise at both ends. checkout one of their campaigns for yourself

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