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10 things recruiters look for in top job candidates

enlisting recruiters in your job search, what recruiters seek in job candidates,
Recently, I've shared howto find the right recruiters and howto get on recruiters' radar. Now, let's talk about what recruiters look for in top candidates.

I asked several recruiters and headhunters for their input. The overarching revelation I gained is that they seek a WHOLE lot more than just superior capabilities in top candidates.

Here are traits recruiters said they seek, PLUS tips for how to exude such attributes to impress recruiters and their hiring company clients:

1)      Ability:

  • Demonstrate that you can perform the duties of the open position extremely well everywhere … in your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and in interviews.
  • Emphasize that you have good technical skills and that you meet or exceed all or at least most qualifications of the position.
  • Give examples of how you have gained knowledge and new abilities quickly and well in past positions. Also give evidence of continuous career development, such as recent education, certifications, promotions, training courses, etc.
  • Share measurable accomplishments relevant to the position such as dollars raised or saved or percentage of business gained at past companies because of your efforts.

2)      Commitment:

  • Keep in touch with your recruiters. Touch base every 1-2 months to express continued interest, convey new abilities or to let them know about changes in your work status or preferences.  
  • Ask if they have an “in” at hiring companies before applying directly for positions.
  • Express commitment to the position offered to you and continued enthusiasm once on the job. Remember that recruiters typically don’t get paid until you have remained in the position for at least three months.
  • Emphasize your superior work ethic and give proof points about past efforts.

3)      Confidence/Likability:

  • Know and show your strengths, particularly strengths related to the open position.
  • Portray that you are likable, professional, forward thinking, and positive.
  • Be respectful to the recruiter and hiring company representatives. Don't be arrogant or angry. Convey that you are willing to follow company procedures (and not be a rogue employee).
  • Respond promptly and thoroughly to phone calls, emails and requests for information.
  • Have a spark in your eyes and exude a willingness to succeed.

4)      Fit:

  • Ask your network about the company culture and about the kinds of people fit best in the environment. Have internal acquaintances convey how well you will adapt to the company atmosphere.
  • Convince the recruiter and hiring company representatives that you will adapt well to the company culture by sharing situations where you have fit well at past companies.
  • Express how well you interact with executives and technical people and share positive outcomes that you have had managing and delegating to subordinates.
  • Mention your involvement in past corporate charitable endeavors. Says one recruiter, “Participating in such efforts shows their commitment to the corporate culture.”
  • Show that you will be focused on more than just your role, but also on the overall success of the company.

5)      Honesty:

  • Reveal if you are working with other recruiting firms so that they won’t market your resume to the same company.
  • List only skills for which you are truly proficient.
  • Be ready for tough questions intended to see if you are telling the truth about your abilities. Understand that recruiters may bring in an expert to gauge your grasp of relevant skills.   

6)      Networking Prowess:

  • Mention people you know who are respected in the industry. Have them vouch for you and your abilities.
  • Participate in the industry community. Get involved in and support industry associations.

7)      Preparation:

  • Study the job description, company and industry and seek opportunities to reveal your knowledge in your application materials and interviews.
  • Show that you have the requisite experience. Companies don't have to hire someone “willing to learn”. They can hire qualified people who can produce immediately.
  • Arrive on time for interviews and be flawless in your dress and application materials.

8)      Stability/Longevity:

  • Show proof that your career has been stable and that your tenure at companies has been long, strong and successful.
  • If you have had brief stints at certain jobs or gaps between positions, explain the reasons why as briefly and positively as possible. Notes one recruiter, “We must have comfort that you will stick around.” Said, another, “Show me that you had good reasons for making career moves.”
  • Organize your resume to show that your job duties and abilities have progressed throughout your career. Recruiters want to see that you have been upwardly (not downwardly) mobile.

9)      Value Added Problem Solver:

  • Articulate how you will benefit the company above and beyond the job description and pay scale.
  • Relay past successes that you can recreate successfully at the new company.
  • Show how you can solve specific company problems.

Perhaps the most challenging trait recruiters seek is one you may have no control over. Recruiters seek someone who is …

10)   Employed:
“The longer a person is out of work,” says a recruiter, “the harder it is to place you. Clients pay a premium to work through a recruiter. They expect us to present someone who has done the job recently.”
  • Since this particular trait may not be possible for you to convey (if you are between jobs), commit instead to personify the other nine traits mentioned above so recruiters will promote you as the best candidate for their clients’ open positions. Doing so can help youGet a Job!
What questions or comments do you have about enlisting recruiters in your job search? Share them here! -- Kathy


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1 comment :

  1. As a sales recruitment sydney in a BPO firm, I concur with those ten traits you listed. I will also add social activities like volunteer work that will fit our culture.


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