Here’s what you can do instead to “wow” hiring managers and stand out above the crowd
You are on the hunt for a job – eager for your next chapter, ready to impress. You’ve landed the interview. Now, what can you do to wow your prospective employer You may be surprised to hear that the key to success lies in going back to basics, returning to “old school” fundamentals so to speak.
I’ve been in the recruiting industry for two decades. My team and I interview over 1,200 job seekers a year, and I speak to HR and hiring managers every single day. Recently, I’ve seen many hiring managers get frustrated with highly-qualified job candidates based on some simple etiquette-related mistakes, and these are becoming more common by the day.
So, here are five quick and easy tips to make you stand out to a perspective employer:
- The two-second follow-up: it’s a simple courtesy that literally takes two-seconds. When you receive an email from a recruiter or prospective employer, always take a moment to confirm receipt. Just hit “reply” on your phone with a quick note like: “Thank you, I’ve received your email.” It’s even more important to respond when they’ve instructed you to do so in their email!
- Prioritizing little details: there is a saying used in recruitment: “The best predictor of future behaviour is past or current behaviour.” Hiring managers and recruiters look out for this. If a job candidate is given certain instructions and they don’t follow them, it’s a red flag – no matter how amazing they are. So make sure you’re clear on next steps and when in doubt, ask for clarification.
- Keeping interview time commitments: putting work aside for a moment, imagine this – you’ve got a date tonight for 7pm. You’re looking forward to it. But your date calls at the very last minute to cancel. They got a better offer somewhere else. Not cool, right? Unfortunately, this is happening a lot with job seekers too. When a company calls for a pre-scheduled phone interview, some candidates say they can’t talk, and that the employer will have to call back another time. Or they cancel an in-person interview within 30 minutes (or sometimes less) before the start time, because they’ve received a better offer. It leaves employers and recruiters, with a bad taste in our mouth.
- A little background prep goes a long way: taking as little as 15 minutes to review the job description, and company website ahead of the interview is crucial to making a positive impression. It may sound shocking, but you’d be surprised how many times we’ve heard hiring managers say that job candidates have come to the interview knowing nothing about the job, and nothing about the company! Just a few minutes of research here can pay off in spades.
- Being accurate in sharing past work experiences: as recruiters, we interview job candidates for a living, so we’ve gotten really good at assessing inaccurate information – over-exaggerations, glorified resumes, misinformation, and those “little white lies.” We pay attention to all sorts of cues that reveal the true story, from micro-expressions, to use of verb tenses and vocabulary choices. When candidates aren’t honest, they instantly lose credibility, so it’s always better to just tell it like it is.
Remember, many Canadians nowadays are changing jobs every two to three years, so it is a very small world. If you follow these five quick and easy tips, your actions will stand out above the rest, and you will leave a lasting, positive impression with key decision-makers not only for a new position today, but also for future opportunities tomorrow.
Julie Labrie is the President of BlueSky Personnel Solutions, a recruitment agency specializing in French/Bilingual placements. Her company was named the #1 recruitment agency in Toronto, and Julie was honoured as the #3 recruiter in Canada by Top Recruiter. Julie is also a regular media commentator and the Globe and Mail’s resident recruitment expert.