It’s not easy looking for a new job. Who better to give you advice than people who work with job candidates every day – our recruiters! They spend their time helping people to write better and more effective resumes, research companies, and prepare for interviews. Staffing 360 talked to our team of recruiters, as well as talent sourcers, account executives, and others, and as you’ll see below, they are full of helpful tips gleaned from years of experience.
1. Be Prepared – The Resume
Your resume is key. Technical recruiter Mansi Shukla told us “the resume speaks volumes about your personality as well as your qualifications. It’s the first step towards finding your dream job!” A good resume was mentioned by all our recruiters, who stressed the importance of updating and tailoring it for the specific job you are applying for. Be honest when you present yourself. Know your skills and their value and highlight those which are required for the position you want.
Laurence Friedman, one of our technical recruiters, says it’s your job to “convince an employer why their future is better with you than without you” and the resume is the start of that. Know which aspects of your background set you apart from everyone else and capitalize on those points when you write your resume. Ina Magat points out “hiring managers and recruiters look at hundreds of resumes in a day, so yours must be both precise and convincing.”
Megan Doyle emphasizes “formatting is important!” Punctuation, grammar, spelling, etc. all matter. Proofread, proofread, and proofread again. Have someone else proof it for you. It’s hard to see mistakes in something you’re so familiar with.
2. Be Prepared – The Interview
One thing all our recruiters agreed on is that preparation is critical, important, a must do – how many other ways can they stress this! Dana Cookson puts it simply, “Preparation leads to success.” For phone and in-person interviews, Brian Glassanos cautions, “job seekers should always know what the company is about, what they do, and be able to provide great reasons why they should hire you.” Find out about their core values so you can get a better idea if you are a good fit for the position and for the company as well. Dana also told us “the more research and preparation you do, the more impressive you become in the interview.”
Visit the customer’s website and make sure you understand their business and strengths. Thoroughly research the company, the interviewer(s), and the position. Find out more about what the company does and what skills they are looking for. Michelle Olech, a technical recruiter, says “when you understand the company’s business and the interviewer’s key responsibilities, it will help you discover how you can play a key role within the organization.” Many recruiters, including Jaymeson Zarling, advise candidates to “Ask questions!!” Prepare them ahead of time based on your research.
Talent Sourcer Megan Connolly tells Staffing 360, “Practice makes perfect. The best way to prepare for an interview is to have practice interviews with friends or family. This way you will be more prepared and more confident when it comes to the real interview.”
Brian adds: “Never allow yourself to go into a situation under-prepared.”
3. Be Professional
Our recruiters definitely stressed this. Ryann Borja told us “It’s important to make a good first impression.” Luise Sanchez counsels that “a candidate should always be professional – at all times but especially for any interview. Whether you are interviewing for an entry level warehouse position, software developer, or lead engineer, treat it as if you’re coming in to be the CEO.” How important is this?
Laura Curtin explained, “Studies have shown that within 30 seconds the average adult has formed an impression of an individual they are meeting for the first time. With this in mind, I encourage candidates to dress for success.” If you aren’t sure, err on the side of dressing up rather than dressing down and choose the conservative side as well. “If it’s a phone interview, even if they can’t see you, dress for it. You’ll feel more professional and it will give you a boost of confidence,” Ryann recommends. “Make sure to present the best you possible.”
4. Be Confident
Speaking of confidence, our recruiters talked about this – across the board. Again and again, they told Staffing 360 that candidates should be – need to be – confident in their skills and experience. Adriana Pegueros stressed that “Companies are full of people with good backgrounds and excellent resumes; often what will make someone stand out is the confidence to present what you are capable of contributing.” Matthew Smith says, “Develop your story. Make sure you can concisely tell hiring managers what makes you stand out from other candidates.” Confidence is a winning attribute to develop.
Talent Sourcer Jeff Payne agrees, “Always have a story. Anyone can get a job, but getting a position doing something you really love and are passionate about; that takes more than just a resume.” Krista Jensen also advises candidates to “never downplay any experience they may have. There is always something valuable you can learn from any employment position you’ve held in the past, so it is important to recognize, and utilize those lessons in the future.” You don’t want to be cocky or overbearing but you do want to convey that you can get things done and are confident in your abilities.
5. Be Honest and Open
Be true to yourself and open with your recruiter. Dan Friedland, one of our technical recruiters, promises, “Try your best and stay true to the goals you wish to achieve. If you know where you want to go and what you want to achieve, I will do my best to find the opportunities that will help pave your path of success and personal fulfillment.” Recruiters are there to help you, but they need your help to do it well. Your search will be more successful if you communicate as much as possible with them about your experience, skill set, and career goals.
Be honest. Debbie McCoy reminds us all that “your word is everything.” Others adamantly agreed. Be honest. Be honest on your resume. Be honest with the interviewer. Be honest when you answer questions. There are plenty of high profile examples of lies being uncovered, and far more examples in the regular world that no one hears about. Be assured, lying will almost always be discovered and will not be tolerated. Consider this advice from our President and CEO Jerry Brenholz, “often times what the person lied about [a degree, past experience, even a criminal record] wouldn’t have kept them from getting the job, but the lying did!” Background and reference checks are done for a reason.
6. Be Positive
Think positive! Stay positive and persistent. Never give up. These were frequent refrains from our ATR colleagues, including Matthew Shrader, Kevin Toombs, and Le Vo. Do not give up! Talent sourcer Sarah Schattenfield shared this perspective, “It can be easy to feel like searching for a good job is somewhat like a needle in a haystack but it is extremely important to stay positive and remember, the perfect job is out there, it is just a matter of finding it.”