Candidates: Think like a recruiter to score your dream job

Have you ever wondered how you can stand out from the crowd when it comes to finding a job? Tracy Earl, Founder of Say Hello Recruitment provides her theory on how thinking like a recruiter can help you score your next gig.

I often get asked; “Can you please read over my CV and let me know what I should change?” or “What’s it going to take for me to get the job at X company” Although important, these aren’t the main things that you need to be thinking about if you’re expecting to walk into your dream job on Monday. Here’s my advice: you need to think and mimic a modern day recruiter if you’re wanting to increase your chances of being scouted and approached for great jobs.

I’ve been in recruitment since 2007, and over the years I’ve called candidates who have submitted a job application, their experience looks great and when I phone them, they don’t even recall what our company does. If you’re currently job hunting, you should stop reading this blog right now. Yes, that right, stop reading this and create a list of the awesome companies that you admire and you’ve always wanted to work for. This is your ‘hit-list’ (Naz from the Bachelor NZ has clearly inspired this thought). Use this list as your inspiration, and before you hit ‘send’ on that job application - research those organisations to get an idea of their culture as this will help you decide if it’s the company for you. Once you’ve done that, head on back here and we can pick up from where we left off..

By now, you’ve probably figured out that recruiters are often using social media to find talented people for jobs. Social media and emerging technology makes it easier than ever for recruiters to connect with prospective candidates. First things first, if I’ve found you on social media - I’ll google you. Go on, google yourself - what appears? My advice is: don’t change who you are, we expect you to be human but if you’d rather not have the world see what you get up to outside of work - ensure that your social media accounts are locked down. The internet is a wonderful thing.. but that photo of me in a skimpy bikini on the beach in Fiji? Yeah, I’d rather not see that appear in google search.

Be open to communication from recruiters across all your social media accounts - LinkedIn is not the only channel recruiters are using to communicate with candidates. I use Google+, Twitter, About.me, blogs, Facebook, Skype, google hangouts, email and phone to connect with potential candidates. Keep an open mind to this, we’re just trying to communicate with you on the social platforms where you hang out most.

Have you seen a recruiter looking at your profile on Linkedin recently? Here’s your next step:  send them a connection request with a note saying hello. If I’ve been viewing your linkedin profile, it may be because I’m checking out your skills and experience in relation to a role I’ve got available. Even if it turns out that you’re not the perfect fit for the role, you’ve made a new connection, you’ve expanded your network and if you’re already connected to this recruiter, it’s much easier to communicate with each other when something suitable does come along.

It amazes me how often people don’t include specific skills and experience on their Linkedin profile. I was recently recruiting a role which required somebody with experience using a certain software that isn’t widely adopted in New Zealand. I could list out the dozen or so people that have this experience who I’d found on Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook. People were missing from this list though. I knew this because through google search, I’d found the companies who use this software, and some companies weren’t represented by any candidates through my social sourcing efforts. I did end up finding a candidate (and hiring them) but suggested they update their profile to reflect this particular skill-set. If you’re working with new technology or systems, include them in your profile to help recruiters find you - you do want to be found right?

When you’re wondering about what to include in your Linkedin profile, think about key-words, just like SEO, you need to ensure you’ve included the right keywords in your profile so that you appear in a recruiter’s search. This doesn’t mean that you should write the word “Marketing” 10 times across your profile - be specific, i.e - “Marketing Automation Specialist”. Recruiters will use acronyms and variations of job titles to find you and to be honest, the lazy recruiters won’t find you and they probably don’t deserve you anyway, but if you’re genuinely looking for a job - make sure you consider this.

Show some personality - you’re human right? You have feelings, interests, a life outside of work? Good! There’s a section at the bottom of your linkedin profile that you can update with your interests. When I find somebody with awesome work experience, I’ll always head to this section to see if we’ve got one or more interests in common - it makes for a good conversation starter!  No need to get too specific however - you don’t need to list out all your children’s names and ages, or what you had for breakfast.

Want your job application to stand out from the crowd? My friend Christina was aiming to do just that when she created this awesome video for Z Energy to let them know she wanted to work for them. When I get job applications like this, my day is instantly made because these types of applications don’t end up in a recruiter’s inbox often. I can recall recently, a candidate sent a short video of herself with her skills playing out across the screen whilst she spoke about her burning desire to join our company. I had hiring managers and recruiters gathered around my desk watching the video - she had definitely grabbed our attention! In fact, I can recall all the memorable job applications and names of those who submitted them. You don’t need to spend any cash to do something like this - just get creative.

Good recruiters put a lot of effort into researching you before crafting a personalised message outlining a role they’re recruiting. It’s good practice to respond. A simple “thanks, but no thanks” email will do the trick if the position on offer is not quite the role you’re after…. you never know, the recruiter might just happen to be recruiting your dream job right around the corner...

To learn more about Tracy, you can find her on twitter or contact her on tracy@sayhello.co.nz