The top nine things recruiters focus on when hiring new employees—and what you should avoid! Read on.
Whether you are fresh out of college or looking for a job change—getting hired must be your top priority. Given that, it’s important to get into a recruiter’s head. After all, they hold your fate snugly in their hands.
Every recruiter or company has its own hiring process. While some might just want to know if you’re a culture fit, others will ask you brain-teasers to test your problem-solving skills. The best way to prepare is by researching the company, the interviewer and common interview questions. Typically, recruiters focus on a balanced mix of soft and hard skills, ranging from your personality and attitude to the grammar of your resume and cover letter.
Nine things recruiters look for:
- A well-prepared candidate: Undoubtedly, if you want the job, you better know it well. Do your research on the company and the role you are interviewing for. This will give you an edge over other candidates, and you will be more likely to get the job.
- Tailored and formatted resume: Your resume is not the place to showcase your creative prowess by way of utilizing ten different fonts and sizes. When recruiters read your resume, they are looking for clear formatting, no grammatical errors and how aligned the content is with the role you’ve applied for. Grammar might seem like an insignificant issue in the grand scheme of things, but it shows recruiters that you pay attention to detail.
Furthermore, you should tailor your resume or CV to the specific job you are applying for because it demonstrates that you understand what the role entails.
- Communication skills: Can you express yourself well? In order to nail the job, you will need to be able to communicate with your potential employer. This includes being able to answer questions confidently and ask for clarification when necessary. Good communication also involves active listening, so pay attention to what the interviewer is saying and ask follow-up questions.
- Convivial personality: No one wants to work with a Debbie Downer who constantly brings everyone’s mood down. Companies are looking for individuals who will add to the workplace dynamic, not hinder it. When interviewers ask you questions about your hobbies and interests, they are trying to get a sense of your personality. So, it is important to be genuine in your responses and let your personality shine through.
- Willingness to learn: The most sought-after employees are those who are willing to learn new things and take on new challenges. When interviewers ask you about a time when you had to learn something new, they are trying to gauge your willingness to step out of your comfort zone. Show them that you are open to learning new things and that you thrive in challenging environments.
- Team player: Most roles require you to work with other people, so it is important to show that you are a team player. Interviewers might ask you about a time when you had to work with a difficult team member. In doing so, they are trying to see how well you handle conflict. Be sure to give an honest answer and provide a resolution to the situation.
- Your accomplishments: Interviewers want to know what you have accomplished in your previous roles. And they typically do so by making note of the wins or success metrics on your resume or cover letter. So, if you made significant progress in your previous jobs or college, make sure you put the numbers in there. For instance, if you helped your company’s social media presence grow by 10 percent, it should be on your resume.
- Leadership skills: Whether you are applying for the role of a manager or not, remember that companies are always looking for potential leaders. You can show your leadership skills either by pointing to previous managerial experiences or the strategies or skills you possess to become a great leader.
- Professionalism: This goes beyond how you present yourself during interviews. Recruiters start gauging your professionalism from the time you send out your application. How well do you converse over emails? Did you arrive on time—preferably early—for the interview? Did you use your phone during the interview? All these little things make a great difference and show recruiters how professional you are.
What should you avoid during job interviews?
- Being unkempt and unprepared: This one’s a no-brainer. You should make sure you are well-groomed and dressed professionally for the interview. This shows that you respect the interviewer and the company. Furthermore, you should be prepared for the interview by doing your research ahead of time.
- Being negative or indifferent: It is important to be positive during job interviews. Smile, make eye contact and show that you are interested in the role. It is also important to be enthusiastic about the company. If you come across as being indifferent or negative, it will reflect poorly on you.
- Lying: Padding your resume might seem like a good idea until you have to explain your accomplishments to a potential employer. Given that they meet thousands of candidates, odds are that they will see right through your bluffs, thus destroying your chances of securing a job.
- Complaining about your former employer: This is just simply not a good look for you. It makes you appear unprofessional and difficult to work with. If you must say something about your former employer, make sure it is positive.
- Being too friendly: There’s enthusiasm, and then there’s pulling out a bag of chips and proposing a game of beer pong to your recruiter. Respect the boundaries. If a recruiter appears to be friendly and fun, it doesn’t mean that they are your friend immediately. They understand how stressful a job interview can be and want to make that experience as pleasant as possible for you. However, it’s not an invitation to unleash your friendly side on them.
Even though you may tick off everything on the aforementioned list, you might still not get the job. That’s okay. Sometimes, someone with more experience and skill ends up getting the role. Don’t let that dishearten you. The key is to not give up and to understand that the more you practice, the luckier you’ll get. Finally, reach out to the recruiter for feedback so that you can improve for future interviews.
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