The Interview

Looking for a jobRecently I advertised in a well known employment site and within about 48 hours had over 95 candidates.

I was quite surprised – not by the number of responses – but how little the candidates consider the job they are applying for.

At least half the candidates didn’t add a cover letter – even though my ad read please add cover letter.

Few candidates tried to address the actual job – seems they weren’t actually looking at the ad, rather just sent their standard resumé and, if lucky, with a fairly plain covering note saying “Find resumé attached”.

So I figured I’d share the experience, of this and the last few rounds, of the recruiting process as an insight to potential job seekers and at least offer my humble opinion.

Just This Employers View

I may not be indicative of all markets or styles but I figured I’d try to give some feedback to prospective job seekers and an insight into at least my process of hiring. I’ll also point out that I’m not working with the big end of town, this is the admin style position (sub $50k) – right smack bang where it’s most competitive!

I’ve split the process of hiring a new candidate into three sections:

  • The Approach
  • The Resumé
  • The Interview

What are you Applying For?

Before you ever saw the ad up online, someone like me has given considered thought to the layout of the ad, how it’s worded, and made some assumptions about the hoped for candidate, their skills and experience.

As I know the position I’ve already thought about what sort of “apple” I want! So if you’re an “orange” gees you better stand out!

So How Do I Look?

Well with 90+ resumés arriving in the first few days I’ll set aside time to do a first pass. This is pretty much a skim, no more than a few minutes on each, and I’m actually looking for reasons to knock you out as quick as possible.

If you’re an average candidate and didn’t add a cover letter – GONE. If your cover letter has spelling errors all through it – GONE. If your resumé has gaps all through it or you’ve jumped job to job every 3 – 6 months – GONE.

After all, if you can’t follow explicit requests, can’t use a spell checker and have about as much loyalty as a non returning boomerang then I’ve got over 90 other resumés to view.

Tips for Job Seekers

So, some tips on what to look for when planning your approach:

  1. What are the keywords in the ad? From the role, recurring phrases, skills or assets, experience? Capture them in your cover letter and resumé
  2. Are there specific instructions? Have they asked to add a cover letter, photo, share an experience? Well do it! If you don’t you’ve already given a reason not to look.
  3. Do you know who you’re applying to? Whether the role, the company, the area. Do a little research and capture what you’ve found early to stand out – I’m talking the first paragraph of your cover letter – state that you’ve looked at the website, or have a keen interest in this business or industry.

The old question at the interview … what makes you stand out more than all the others?

Well you only get the chance to answer that if you make the cut – and to make the cut you better prepare your cover letter, your resumé and tailor your approach to the job advertised.

Want THE Job Not A Job

An employer wants to get the impression that you want THE job not just a job.

You need to come up with ways to stand out from the pack – to show that you are interested and deserve to make the first pass of even properly reading your resumé.

I’ve seen 100’s of resumés over the past 12 months and there are a number of ways to stand out.

Will cover that next time … The Resumé

8 responses to “The Interview

  1. Hi Corrie

    I was thrilled to read your post and understand the process and it makes 100% sense. Wow, so that is why. 🙂

    I currently have a job, but have not been particularly happy within my new role for various reasons, and I always feel no matter the role, you have to enjoy what you do.

    So now and then I give it some deep thought and place myself out there, but do not get many responses, I might now know why.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts in the upcoming months. Can not wait to read how to stand out.

    Great post!

  2. Thanks for sharing and how sad that people do not think or reflect about their actions. Years ago my friends and I made it a monthly practice to find a new job just to hone our interviewing skills.

    Leanne Hoagland-Smith
    Author of Be the Red jacket

  3. Great post! I think a lot of this is just common sense: you want to let your prospective employer know what you can bring to the job and you always want to dot your “i”s and cross your “t”s. That first impression can make all the difference and you want to make the most of that first impression. Great blog and I’ll be back for more!

  4. It is amazing that in this tight job market, applicants send in inadequate responses. Apparently, nothing has changed since I was a manager looking at applications five years ago.

  5. Pingback: The Résumé | Blog Ponderings

  6. I find your post very informative. Your tips seem to be so obvious, however there are still plenty of professionals who make basic mistakes in writing their CVs.

    • Hey Kasia, thank you for coming by. I’m the first to admit I made and still make tons of mistakes pitching myself 🙂 It’s difficult to play a 3rd person role to sell yourself.

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