Candidate behavior that I really like

Here are some “not so obvious” candidate behaviours that really impress recruiters:

Write a cover letter specifically for every vacancy. I mean very specifically. Address the advertiser by name and address the selection criteria in the ad so that the reader knows the cover letter is written specifically for this role.

Research the interviewer, as well as the vacancy. Over 6 million Australians have a LinkedIn profile now, so you can usually find the person you are booked in to meet. Let the interviewer know you have viewed their profile, and turn the information into a question. It shows you’ve researched well.

Work hard at building rapport with the interviewer (they will do the same). An interview is two strangers coming together and the candidate is probably nervous. Great candidates build rapport and are happy to paint a picture of themselves as a person, not just an employee.

Thoroughly research the role/company. “Yeah I had a look at the company website” is not good enough. “I read in the Financial Review that cloud technology has really allowed the business to grow more quickly than the competition” is much better.

Bring a compendium to the interview, with 3 or 4 questions written on the top page. This shows the interviewer you have done your research and are approaching the interview seriously – like you would a business meeting – preparing in advance.

Bring awards, results, publications, written references to the interview. A “brag book” if you like. Graphic designers always bring a portfolio but seldom do candidates for other roles. Handing across something that proves or demonstrates your work is always interesting and often impressive.

Provide detailed, relevant examples to support your answers.Provide specific detailed insights into your work and results. I’m not just talking about the questions that start with “Tell me about a time when…”, candidates who can provide strong examples from the workplace provide better answers.

Be convincing that you are an expert in your field. I recently interviewed a retail sales rep from a footwear company. A straight forward role he had held however he really impressed me with his level of detail when discussing the latest advances in technical running shoes. He demonstrated that he has mastered his craft, which suggests he can do the same again in his next role.

Ask for advice at the end of the interview. “What can I do to improve my interview technique?” It shows you understand the process, and acknowledges that you are open to improving. It also makes it easy for the interviewer to help you improve.

Send a “thank you” after the interview. Recruiters have got feelings too and appreciate the polite post interview thank you (normally via email or text). It does make a difference and shows you understand how to communicate well.

Keep the interviewer updated. Going for other interviews? I don’t mind at all – I just need you to be honest and keep me updated.

Stay in touch (long-term). If you didn’t get the job this need not be a once off transaction. The perfect job may pop up in 8 months time and staying in touch will keep you at the front of mind.

James Witcombe

The Candidate Coach

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