aka: Interview Tips to Help you Kill it Before You Even Get in the Door
Serious candidates are available candidates.
You saw a job posting online that looked perfect for you? Great! You applied to my job ad and guess what: I was excited to call you! I just did but… your voicemail is not set up?! My excitement is gone and, quite likely, so are your chances of talking to me.
If you’re job-hunting and still balancing a full-time career, it’s understandable that you may not always be immediately reachable and available to chat with your Recruiter on a whim during core business hours. However, if you’re serious about your job search, be seriously present: make sure your voicemail is set up and has free space for messages; answer an email quickly and promptly (i.e. check your email regularly); and be smart enough to have saved up some sick days, vacation days, or some time off of whatever kind to be available for interviews.
Got a call from a Recruiter regarding the application you sent? Sweet! If you can’t answer the call on the spot, write them a message on LinkedIn coordinating a time to speak – your proactive attitude speaks volumes about your sense of dedication. Be available, be plugged in, and be committed: it’ll pay off tenfold.
Social Media is fair game, folks.
Spoiler alert: the recruiter who you sent your resume to has almost immediately checked you out on social media. Yeah, we looked up your Facebook and Twitter pages and judged you based on what you put out. Sorry, but your angry rants and inappropriate selfies were a turn off. Not keeping your sh*t private = your full consent to have it affect your job hunt.
If you choose to put it out into the digital world, it becomes fair game for all to access – including your Recruiter. Seems like a no-brainer, right? Wrong. Surprisingly, a Recruiter’s best tool after LinkedIn is Facebook – and we’re always using it to scope out a candidate. Why?
I’ll repeat what has already been said earlier. As a Recruitment firm, our job is to represent our clients’ (companies) best interests; to maintain our reputation and theirs alongside it; and to ensure our core business and philosophical values are never sacrificed.
Accordingly, auditing your social media footprint is a strong means of protecting our clients’ interests, and protecting ourselves from essentially wasting our time. Got touchy or controversial political opinions? A few slightly-scandalous pictures from that night in the club? Keep them to yourself; if you don’t, then don’t be surprised if they end up affecting your professional life in one way or another.
Clichés on your resume? We’ve officially become allergic.
Keep irrelevant or obvious stuff off your resume. I know that you have used Microsoft Word and I am pretty sure that you claim to be a strong multi-tasker. A resume is meant to differentiate you and showcase what unique skills and experience you bring to the table; clichéd statements about being “dynamic” and “a team player” bring nothing to the table about who you are, how you stand out from the crowd, and may even in certain circumstances (with recruiters like us, for example) be an active ingredient in passing on your candidacy.
Anyone would rather read something original, regardless of what form that piece of writing takes, than sift through some old and tired clichés. Your resume should be no different.
Indeed, one of the biggest job-hunting mistakes is not treating the job-hunt as a whole as reflection of your own personal brand. From the way you portray yourself online (LinkedIn, other social media platforms, etc.) to your email communication and level of engagement, to your resume itself: job-hunting is a reflection of the professional you are, and the professional you want to be. A resume should be treated, whether we like it or not, as a piece of marketing material: it is the first point of contact, the very first “first impression,” which anyone receives of you. Make sure it reflects who you are – in a real way.
Find examples of interesting resumes online and get inspired; have a professional career-services department revamp your resume with your guidelines attached; and ask your friends or trusted contacts what they think stands out about you. If you’re kind of a cliché person, well then please do go right ahead with a standard, stale, cliché-littered CV. However, if you believe that you truly can bring something original, something different, and something innovative to the proverbial table, make sure your resume is able to convey that.
Keep your selfies to yourself-ie.
Congrats on your wedding! Your prom looks like it was fun also! Here comes the “but”. I don’t care about seeing your digital memories of it on LinkedIn (or your CV!). Same goes for your selfies, pictures with people cut out of them (I can spot that third limb on your shoulder), or any other personal shots. My all-time “fav”: LinkedIn profile picture of an HR professional posing in front of a bed. In what looked like her nightie. #awkward
If you’re taking your job search seriously, then take your LinkedIn profile picture seriously as well. No selfies as your LinkedIn profile picture – period. Just don’t do it. It looks unprofessional, immature, and is overall strange (remember: you wouldn’t want anyone hiring you based off your Facebook page, so don’t encourage that to happen via LinkedIn).
I’m no photographer or photo-stylist, but here are a few basic LinkedIn picture tips that you can count on: a shot of you from the bust-upwards is a safe and secure bet; be dressed sharp in your picture, but not overly so; make sure the picture is high-quality, and take professional shots if you can; and for the love of it all, smile in your picture: people are infectiously attracted to others who are happy and positive – and recruiters want to be attracted to you.
Just in case you didn’t hear me, I’ll say it again: no.selfies.please.