After working in recruiting for seven years, I have hired for everything from entry-level, customer service roles to VP-level roles. One thing I’ve learned is that there are a lot of misconceptions about the recruiting process. I’m here to debunk some of these myths and share seven things every recruiter wants you to know. Whether you are currently employed or on the hunt for a new job, keep these things in mind the next time you pursue that next step in your career.
1. I’m Sick of Looking at Resumes
Believe it or not, recruiters don’t love looking at every resume they get. After a while, resumes start to all look alike—so it’s imperative to make your resume stand out.
One of the best ways to do this is by catering your resume to the role for which you’re applying. When recruiters are hiring for a specific job, it’s critical that the candidate is a perfect fit for that role—not just a perfect candidate in general.
It’s also a good idea to include a cover letter that displays how you’ve grown throughout your career. Finally, always be sure to proofread your resume and cover letter before you hit submit. We see way too many resumes with accidental typos and mistakes due to a rushed job or just plain laziness.
2. I’m Rooting For You to Do Well
Every recruiter wants you to ace your interview. In fact, it is in our best interest for you to land the job since our job is to make this happen. To help us help you, be upfront with your recruiter about what your expectations are when it comes to your career and communicate regularly when things change. And remember: Just because you aren’t selected for a specific job does not mean your recruiter has given up! There are many jobs out there that fit your skillset perfectly, and you never know when the next open one will come across our desk.
3. Politeness Goes a Long Way
Believe it or not, politeness can work wonders in landing you that perfect job. Be friendly to the seemingly random person in the hallway; for all you know, they may be a VP! Not only is it a good idea to be friendly to the C-suite employees, but the receptionist is also a great person to befriend. He or she is usually a valued member of the team, and you better believe his or her opinion counts.
Are you having your interview over Skype? You may have to work a little harder to show your enthusiasm, but it is definitely possible. Take time to engage your interviewer and ask questions about his or her day. Try to predict any potential interruptions—i.e., a ringing doorbell or barking dog—and figure out how you can get rid of them before the interview.
4. Your Environment Reflects You
Despite popular belief, I’ve never actually gone and checked anyone’s car in the parking lot during an interview. With that said, if we have an interview over Skype and your environment is disorganized, chaotic, and cluttered, it leads me to believe you are the same. During in-person interviews, make sure your clothes are clean, your portfolio or notebook looks nice, etc.
If you stumble into an interview 10 minutes late with an untucked shirt, most recruiters will consider it sloppy and question whether you’ll do well in the role you are seeking. On the other hand, if you show up 10 minutes early with a well-put-together outfit and a crisp copy of your resume, you will be taken much more seriously.
5. You Can Take Time to Make a Decision
Take time to think after you have been asked a question during the interview. Unless you are interviewing for a job that requires an answer immediately, it’s perfectly normal to ask for a minute to collect your thoughts and think about how to respond to a question. In fact, as recruiters, we would prefer that you take your time than be sloppy. Taking some time doesn’t make it seem like you’re not interested; it simply means you want to think through the question to give the best response possible.
6. It Is Important to Dress to Impress
How you dress for your interview really does matter. I know it isn’t exactly fun to wear, but a suit makes an impression when you are meeting your recruiter or potential employer. It shows me that you respect the process and, more importantly, it shows the hiring manager and others you interact with that you respect them! You don’t necessarily have to break the bank to dress for success either. You can find a suit at Goodwill or thredUp, or if you have a nice pair of pants and a button-down shirt, you may be able to just buy a jacket. The most important thing is that you look professional and presentable.
7. Show Me Why You Deserve the Role
I’ll advocate for you and fight on your behalf, but you need to give me a good reason why. If I believe you are a good candidate, I’ll do whatever it takes to find the perfect role for you—whether it is the one you initially applied for or something that’s a much better fit. I love when I can get to know candidates and learn a little about their career goals and ambitions. Let your recruiter see what makes you special and why you deserve this role and are worth the fight!
The truth is, recruiters have your best interest in mind. Sure, we are responsible for filling an open role, but it’s also important to us that we establish a relationship with you as a candidate. We are here to fight for you, but you have to be willing to show us you’re worth it. Come to your interview on time and prepared to answer any questions your recruiter has for you. Let your personality shine through during the interview process so that it’s obvious why you are a perfect fit for the role.
Hopefully, this list is helpful for you as you prepare for your next experience with a recruiter. Remember, we’re on your side!
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Tania Griffis is a freelance writer and blogger who has a background in human resources, hiring, and copywriting. She loves using a combination of creativity and business savvy to help businesses succeed, including her own blog Run to Radiance, which details her home and craft adventures. She is also a new-ish mama to a beautiful baby girl that keeps both Tania and her husband on their toes.