Our Experts | Courtney Reynolds
Day after day, job seekers reach out to recruiters without saying hello, introducing themselves or being polite. A bad attitude is an instant turn off to a recruiter. If you can’t message a recruiter in a polite way with appropriate information, how can they know that you’d be a professional employee? A few simple practices can set you apart and help you land your next big gig.
When initially reaching out, be professional and authentic. Whether you’re reaching out online or in person, follow these simple guidelines when crafting the first message or conversation:
- Say hello! Introduce yourself and address the recruiter by the correct name. Act like you’re talking with them in person, even if it’s a virtual message.
- Explain what you currently do and why you’re reaching out to them.
- Drop names if you can. Referrals are always great and a connection gives you credibility.
- Dive into what’s next for you: where you want to be and how can they help.
- Say thank you and reiterate your main points.
Now that you’ve made yourself known, it’s time to apply for the job you have your eye on. Though you may have already had a conversation with the hiring manager or even upper-level management, submit the formal application. After applying, send the hiring manager a message alerting them you applied. Next, leave the ball in their court by asking to schedule a time to talk and follow-up. Something like, “When can I expect to hear back from you?” or “When is a good time for us to talk?” If you make it seem like you’re doing all the work, they will be more likely to consider you. Attach your resume in this message so the hiring manager can access it after reading your follow-up.
If you land an initial interview, you’re doing everything right so far. This will most likely be a phone screen with an HR manager. In preparation for this call, find a quiet room and bring your resume so you can look at it when it’s brought up. If you are worried about keeping it handy, download your resume onto your phone or simply take a photo of it from your phone.
When you answer, speak in a professional tone. “Good Afternoon. This is Jim,” is a great example. Assert your skills by minimizing ‘um’ and ‘uh’ and maximizing words that emphasize your personality and skills. If you are tripping over your words or pausing for a long time, smooth it over by stating “I’m sorry, I’m thinking of the best possible example to share with you.” This interview will be based, for the most part, on culture, so study common behavioral and cultural questions and research the company.
You must be doing great because you moved on to the second interview! This interview will most likely be with a hiring manager and be based on skills. Make sure to research the company before, and are ready to talk about your findings and relate them to your personal knowledge. Refer back to the job description and company website whenever possible when answering questions. Show the interviewer you care and are ready to work hard as a part of their team. If you are in a room with multiple people, be sure to make eye contact with everyone in the room. Showing you have a good attitude and know how to talk to people is important.
The final test. This interview is a determining moment for your career, and it’s usually conducted by an executive. Executives have different thought processes. They want to know you’re a good fit for the company. More importantly, they’re interested in whether or not you’re a fit for where the business is headed. Employees working at high levels are forward-thinking and they are the ones spearheading growth of the company. It’s important to them you will fit in with their vision. Try to flip this back on them by talking about your knowledge of their company and your desire to work with them. Flex your skills and use detailed examples. Give facts, be straight to the point and reference anything you can.
Even if you think you nailed every interview and will get the job, follow-up is a crucial step in the process. Say thank you at the end of each interview, but follow-up with each interviewer. This can be an email, LinkedIn message or a handwritten card (a crowd favorite). Showcase things you took from the conversation in these messages, and take this as a final opportunity to sell yourself. If there were any issues throughout, address them now and assure they won’t be an issue moving forward. You may not get a response, but don’t get discouraged. Your follow-up will not go unnoticed.
If you follow all of these tips, hopefully you’ll be starting a new job in a few weeks. It’s all in the attitude when going through the application and interview process, especially with a recruiter. If you are looking to get in touch with a recruiter, contact one of our talented recruiters to assist in your job search.