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Recruiters share 6 things job hunters can do to stand out

(BUSINESS NEWS) Some of this advice may seem common sense, but recruiters confide in us how infrequently candidates actually adhere to their advice.

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Real advice from real hiring folk

Job candidates typically adhere to online reviews, advice from professional friends, and personal experiences for tips on securing their dream position. While some may provide legitimately helpful advice, some may not – and bad advice can be counterproductive in the job search.

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To avoid such, we went straight to the horse’s mouths – the recruiters and hiring managers – and collected a list of things they wish candidates would do more often. If the job search has been solemn for you or any other candidates you know, share and use these exclusive tips.

Six tips for success

1. Ask meaningful questions
Typical questions like, “What’s a normal day look like in the role I’m applying for?” are okay, but candidates should think deeper. The best and most successful candidates treat the interview as a conversation.

Says Renee Diaz, Senior Recruiter with Vitamin Talent, “I would say [candidates] don’t genuinely interview the employer during their interview. They just answer and often ask vague questions. They don’t dig about the people – “rough” days, “best” days, biggest accomplishments, why the interviewer chose this company, or why are they still there.”

Lucas Mitchell, Director of Luna Data Solutions gives a great example: “I wish just one candidate would ask me how their role contributes to the business. I talk to more people than I can count that don’t care what their role does, they just want a job. That’s great, and congrats on wanting to earn an income, but if you don’t know why your job is vital for the business to grow, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it.”

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Mitchell concludes:
[clickToTweet tweet=”If you don’t know why your job is vital for the business to grow, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.” quote=”If you don’t know why your job is vital for the business to grow, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it.”]

Justin Williams, Corporate Recruiting Manager with All Native Group, points out another interesting question to ask: “I have seen on rare occasion a candidate ask to meet with the team or tour the office so they can see what the culture is like. Now normally we won’t tour the candidates or have them interview other people unplanned, but I must say this is really impressive when they do. It shows above-and-beyond initiative and interest in our company. Out of the hundreds of interviews I’ve done, I’ve seen only 2 people do this. I hired them both times.”

2. Follow directions
It’s understandable to want to go above and beyond when applying for a job, but don’t overlook the basics.

Kevin Smits, Owner at Palmas Capital Partners explains that, “quite often [candidates] won’t follow the directions we give them to apply. We are very specific in our process and if they can’t get the steps right, we know they aren’t going to be a fit.”

Even if it’s exhausting, remember that each application, resume, and cover letter should be carefully crafted for each different company and position. And yes, reading and following directions is a part of the process.

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3. Follow up
If you want the job, its natural to follow up. Smits also suggests doing so by sending a simple yet thoughtful thank you note. Thank them for their time and tell them you enjoyed meeting them.

Call back something specific from your conversation.

4. Understand and explain the impact of the job function
Brett Simon, Division Director with Modis, says candidates should “understand and be able to articulate how their job function impacts the rest of the organization. People that can do that effectively are always ahead of the curve.”

Renee Diaz once again outlines how imperative thorough research beyond just your desired role is: “Too few candidates research the company – who they are, what they do, their competitors, recent news AND they don’t research who they are interviewing with. It SHOCKS me.”

Good research makes you look more interested, more educated, and better equipped for the role.

Not only that, but it also provides you jumping off points for conversation and deeper questions (hello, #1) in the interview.

5. Have an elevator pitch.
DUH. Allyson Hoffman, agent with Vitamin Talent, explains that having a elevator pitch is a golden yet often forgotten rule, “I wish more candidates had a clear elevator pitch. It’s especially important for those just starting out or making a career shift. Don’t make the hiring manager figure out who you are and what you want to do.”

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[clickToTweet tweet=”Don’t make the hiring manager figure out who you are and what you want to do.” quote=”Don’t make the hiring manager figure out who you are and what you want to do.”]

6. Don’t dwell on the past
Although past experiences may be applicable and relevant, recruiters want to see up-to-date information. Staci Kae Alter, founder of Click Career Consulting says, “Everyone should have an up-to-date summary on their profile and resume so we understand what all of the past work history listed below has culminated in.”

How do you know what’s up to date?

Rob Howard, Director at Brooksource, suggests: “A candidate should never talk about experience at length that is older than 5 years old. Of course there are special circumstances, but use that as a general rule of thumb.”

Get more career help

Interested in more articles like this? Check out our weekly Career Link Roundup, especially curated for job seekers and employers alike. Read all of our back issues and sign up to get it in your inbox.

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Written By

Lauren Flanigan is a Staff Writer at The American Genius, hailing from the windy hills of Cincinnati, with a degree in Marketing from the University of Cincinnati. She has escaped the hills, and currently resides in Atlanta, where you can almost always find her camping at a Starbucks strategizing on how to take over the world.

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  1. Pingback: Good experiences with a staffing firm and recruiters - what are *those* like?

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