Competing in today’s labour market requires more than a resume and cover letter – it involves in-depth research and solid understanding of the company and the people who will hire you.
“63% of recruiters will have higher hiring volumes in 2015.”
With more opportunities comes more competition. As a job seeker, do you understand what hiring managers go through to ensure they hire the right candidate? Let’s peek behind the curtain and see what goes into hiring the right person for the job.
Unless you have done some hiring in your career, it’s not easy to put yourself in the shoes of an HR professional. If someone from HR invites you to an interview they are taking a huge gamble on you being the person you say you are. They base their decision on the needs of the company and they compare these needs to 1) what you claimed in your resume, and 2) what they found out about you online. They also rely on their instincts to weed out candidates (a skill they have honed throughout their career).
HR professionals are not in the business of wasting time on candidates who aren’t serious contenders for their vacancies or where the candidate has spent little to no time addressing how they meet the minimum requirements. Their job is to get the best possible candidate for the company; not to find out how you may grow into the position. As a job seeker it is your job to make their work easier.
Up your game.
You are busy in your day-to-day work life doing great work, concentrating on what needs to get done and how to get it done efficiently. This makes you a super employee – but not necessarily a good candidate.
Take the time and make the investment in getting your career portfolio in shape, before you need it. The five-year old resume that landed you your current is no guarantee of securing a new gig.
When you send your application to HR remember they see applications from people who have invested countless hours researching and writing their resumes and cover letters. You’re competing with job seekers who not only have their documents professionally crafted, but those who are being professionally coached on how to conduct an effective job search, interview techniques, and how to leverage social media. Today, you have to do more than ever before to convince a hiring manager you’re a worthy candidate.
Think like a Hiring Manager.
When it comes time to talk about your accomplishments, you get stuck. That’s perfectly normal. You don’t regularly sit down and ask yourself what makes you a great hire. Since you are the only person who will have to answer, “Why should we hire you?” start developing your answers. Take a few moments to ask yourself these questions.
What do they want from you?
Fortune Magazine recently spoke to the hiring managers of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” and shared this advice to applicants:
“Assume there are many qualified candidates for the position so help the recruiter and hiring team know you, how you align to [the company’s] culture and mission, and what differentiators you will bring to the team….”
– Val Davenport, Director Talent Programs, USAA
“The best candidates today “build a bridge” from their backgrounds to the specific job they seek. They align the big questions of the position (the desired outcomes, the key competencies and the key skills) to what they have done in the past.”
– Andrew Majoch, Director, U.S. Commercial Staffing, Genentech
“Give examples of how you have handled complex problems and situations.”
– Elaine Poucher, Recruiting Director, Protiviti
“Tailor your story to prove your value and let me know who you are as a person at the same time.”
– Kevin Knapp, Recruiting and Talent Director, the Container Store
Make it easy for everyone.
Make the hiring managers’ decision a simple one. Read, study, and address all of the qualifications listed on the job advertisement. The job ad is literally advertising the key qualifications required for the job applicant. Employers have taken the time to tell you everything they need from an ideal candidate. Use this information to tell them why and how you meet all their requirements. Use specific examples from your career that demonstrate and support each claim.
Employers want to know what you can do for them. They want to feel confident in the knowledge they can trust you to do great work, impress their customers, bring in revenue, meet objectives, and deliver projects on time and on budget.
Competing for a job is seldom a simple task. You need to know how to grab and hold the hiring managers attention. It requires an investment of time and energy to get your application noticed. Preparing yourself and your documents with the needs of the hiring manager in mind will help you demonstrate you have what they need.