How to Win a Recruiter’s Heart & Mind

28 03 2017

A very common, and often accepted piece of wisdom in the world of recruiting is that you should follow your gut.

Some of the most respected minds in HR and recruiting advice using intuition to help guide who they hire.

At the same time, there is a real, measurable skills crunch out there. There are more jobs going unfilled in the U.S. than ever before, and it’s because there’s a lack of workers with the right skills to fill them.  

Many recruiters believe strongly in using their hearts – their intuition – to make hiring decisions, but at the same time, they’re having to use their minds to evaluate who has the right skills for important positions.

Want to land your dream job? The one that everyone’s going to apply for the second it comes up? You’ll need to prove you have the skills and pass the intuition test with recruiters and hiring managers.

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Winning a Recruiter’s Heart

Is it possible to win over someone’s intuition? Can you intentionally give someone a good gut feeling about you?

I believe you can.

According to studies on the job interview process, most interviewers make a snap judgment the moment they see you about what kind of candidate you’ll be, and then spend the rest of the interview confirming that judgment and ignoring things that don’t agree with it.

I know, that sounds terribly unfair.

The good news is that there’s a lot you can do about this. The main take away is that the first impression is the impression.

Now, you can bet that if we make snap judgments during interviews, we make them throughout the hiring process.

For example, recruiters spend just 6 seconds looking at resumes.

So first impression matters at every stage of the hiring process, and you can expect it to be even more important if you’re after a desirable job.

Here’s a checklist to go through at each stage of the process to make sure you make the right impression.

The Resume

Generally speaking, recruiters and hiring managers check resumes for sloppiness, usually in the form of glaring typos and grammar errors. Here are a few steps you can take to make sure your resume is error-free.

  • Run it through a spell-checker.

  • Read the entire resume out loud to yourself (it’s one of the best ways to catch errors).

  • Have a friend read through it.

  • Look for these common grammar mistakes.

The Phone Interview

Phone interviews are generally used by recruiters and hiring managers for screening. A few tips to keep you from getting screened.

  • Don’t talk negatively about previous jobs or bosses.

  • Don’t talk about money too much.

  • But be prepared to answer questions about expected salary – know what the going rate is, and why you’re asking for your rate if it’s different.

  • Make it clear that this is the only type of role you’re interested in doing.

The Face-to-Face Interview

You’ve come so far! Don’t blow it in the final phase.

  • If you’re not early, you’re late. Be 15 minutes early, minimum.

  • Use a couple of those extra minutes for a final appearance check.

  • Use a couple minutes to take a short walk once you’ve arrived. It’ll help calm your nerves.

  • Use the bathroom one last time.

  • Smile and be friendly to everyone you meet.

Winning a Recruiter’s Mind

As I mentioned, employers are having a terrible time finding candidates with the skills they need.

The problem has gotten so bad that the time to fill a position is at 27 days, the longest ever.

I talk to recruiters and hiring managers every day at Betterteam, and they almost always mention the lack of qualified people applying to jobs.

I worry that companies get so used to unqualified people applying for jobs that they just expect them to be unqualified, and so miss great hires because they passed by the qualifications they were looking for during the whole 6 seconds they spent with the resume.

So, here’s a quick checklist to help make sure you don’t get passed over for a job you are qualified for.

The Resume

Make it so they’d notice your qualifications even if your resume blew by during a hurricane.

  • Pay close attention to how the employer writes the job ad. Reuse the language they use to describe qualifications in your resume.

  • Make sure the format is easy to read, and that qualifications are bolded and bullet pointed.

The Phone Interview

They’re going to do an initial check to be sure you’ve got the skills.

  • Be ready to talk about specific projects you completed from beginning to end.

  • Know what success looks like for the position, as well as common mistakes people make.

  • Be ready to give specific numbers, i.e. exactly how much you grew sales by in the first quarter.

The Face-to-Face Interview

Almost there! They probably think you’re qualified at this point, but just to be sure…

  • Be ready with specific examples of what you’ve accomplished in previous roles.

  • Know your industry – be able to talk about the best examples of people doing your job well, what direction it’s headed in, etc.

It really is a fantastic time to be looking for a job. If you can show employers that you’ve got the skills they need and make the right impression, you’ve got an excellent shot at landing an awesome job. If you’re looking for more job search advice, check out Betterteams’ list of job boards, by profession. Good luck!

****Campus to Career thanks Paul Peters for this insightful post!!****

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About the author: Paul Peters is content marketer and job ad writer with Betterteam. Before Betterteam he spent 6 years building an education startup, where he was was involved with many aspects of the business, including hiring and marketing. He lives in Whitefish, Montana.

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