By Max MacGillivray
As ever, it’s a tough job market out there. As a candidate you need to be on top of your game during your job search to source that elusive role that is really going to propel your career further forward. While your experience is of course important, it is just one piece of the puzzle to gaining your next role. Recruiters and potential employers are evaluating everything about you to determine if you’re going to be a fit for a business and every single action and communication – whether it be verbal, non-verbal, or written, can be the difference between getting that next progressive and enhancing role or being passed over for a better prepared candidate.
The points I raise you are unlikely to hear from recruiters or potential employers because the bulk of them are wrongly, discouraged from giving such feedback. You are then left wondering as to where you went wrong. With this exactly in mind, I’m sharing a list of the most common things recruiters and employers want from you the candidate that you won’t find in any job description.
So deep breath…and here we go…
1. Timing is everything
Timing is everything when looking for a job and the early bird gets the worm. The first contact from a recruiter is a test of your interest, as well as your communication skills – so always respond quickly!
2. We don’t like it when people aren’t on time
It doesn’t matter what the reason is – if you’re late, it’s a bad first impression. Check weather, check traffic, and leave yourself double the amount of time you’ll actually need to get to your interview on time.
3. Pushy behaviour doesn’t go down at all well
Don’t call and email every day to follow up. The recruiter or employer will contact you when they have news. If you feel a burning desire to follow up anyway, use the opportunity to ask questions relevant to the position – not just to “check in”.
4. We pay attention to your verbal communication skills
We listen very closely during interviews. If your rhetoric is cluttered with “like” and “uhm” and “you know” or those who are too casual in their speech and use slang or profanity, you won’t get the job. Practice your answers and compose yourself before answering to sound as professional as possible. Conduct a role play interview with a trusted contact or family member prior to interview.
5. We want you to showcase your business communication skills
No matter how casual the recruiter seems to be via email, always stay professional. Don’t start an email with “Hey” or use abbreviations or slang when providing written content to employers.
6. Your handshake might very well be your first impression…and your last…
Too hard, too soft, too sweaty – it’s most likely a recruiter’s first interaction with you, and if it’s awful, they’ll remember…always.
7. We pay attention to how you’re dressed
Go for clean, neat, and simple. Avoid flashy, provocative, or messy outfits, or again that’s all the recruiter or employer will remember.
8. Bad personal hygiene is, well, come on….just bad
Whether it’s messy hair, BO, or even a minor case of halitosis, the interview team will remember that above your stellar background. Take a few minutes to prep, pop a mint, and (lightly) spray some perfume/aftershave to be interview ready if you so wish.
9. We expect you to do your research
Make sure at least two of your questions to the interviewer cite information about the company or the position you are interviewing for. There’s no excuse for not spending just a few minutes on the employer’s website before an interview. The bulk of employer’s websites have great content as well as their Linked In profiles.
10. Your eye contact needs to work
Not looking a recruiter or employer in the eye makes them think you’re hiding something or aren’t interested in what they’re saying, but likewise staring too long will make them uncomfortable.
11. We really like candidates who demonstrate real passion for a role
Recruiters want to know that you want their job, not just a job. Look to tie something specific about the role to your personal interests and goals.
12. Focusing too much on money is a real bad red flag
Employers expect some small negotiations over salary, but making an unreasonable salary request shows that you’re in it for the money, not for the job.
13. We want you to ask questions – and really good questions
Make your questions count. Find out what the daily/weekly role routine looks like, what the reporting structure is, or why the job is open – questions like these will show recruiters and employers that you’re interested in finding out if this is the right job for you. Find out what their biggest problem is for this role and tell them how you will solve that problem for them. They will love you for that!
14. Honesty is everything
Whether you already know you’re accepting another offer, you embellished your experience, or you have some heinous misdemeanour crime that you’re trying to hide, the recruiter and employer will find out eventually – and they won’t be happy that you lied about it.
15. We don’t like cockiness
Confidence is important in an interview, but there’s a fine line between knowing you can do the job and thinking that you know more than the interviewer. Accept that they know the job better than you do, and make your interview about finding out how you can contribute to the team, not just telling them that you’re the best.
16. You should always send a thank you
Write a clear, concise thank you note/email to each of your interviewers, and cite something different from each of your conversations. Send the note 1-2 days after your interview. As such make sure you gain their business cards at the interview.
17. We see right through your buzzwords
You can only throw so many buzzwords into a conversation before the team starts to think you’re just quoting a textbook. You need to show them that you’re up to speed on the latest innovative ideas and how you’ve used them – the buzzwords themselves – won’t convey that you know what you’re doing.
18. Stumbling through your experience raises red flags
You should know your CV like the back of your hand. Stumbling on questions about your experience makes the interviewer think you might have embellished your actual experience and career.
19. We want to know about your impact at past companies
Recruiters and employers want to know why your daily tasks mattered – did they create revenue? Did you contribute to the implementation of a marketing plan? Think bigger than just your old day job when answering questions about your experience.
20. We keep an eye out for consistency
Every single communication and action is being scrutinized during the interview process, and every person you speak with during the interview process will have some sort of say in the final decision. Make sure your communications, and your actions, are consistent throughout the entire interview process, and the interviewers will be confident that you’ll succeed in the role.
These are some of the most common things my colleagues and I hear hiring managers groan about after interviewing candidates. If you remember that hiring managers are evaluating the full picture – not just what’s on your CV – you’ll be prepared to nail your next interview and get that career enhancing role!
To view some of the great roles we have available as a key recruitment consultancy in the international food sectors, just CLICK HERE
Max MacGillivray – Director, Redfox
To see Max’s profile CLICK HERE