By Liam Horan, Career Coach & Managing Director, Sli Nua Careers
A point often overlooked by jobseekers is the extent to which recruiters and employers might well be observing you from the word ‘go’. All eyes are you, and perhaps even earlier than you think. By this, I mean your first contact with the company, the quality of the initial email, how well your CV is written or how quickly you get back to them when they contact you.
I know of an in-house recruiter who, upon identifying a number of likely candidates for a role, commences email exchanges with all of these candidates. “The purpose of this exchange is to see how well people do in the general to and fro of email correspondence,” he explains.
“Do they put a capital letter on my name? Do they put a capital letter on their own name? Do they say thank you or kind regards? Do they help me to decide that I should recruit them”.
He asks them for a referee if they haven’t already given one on their CV or an additional one if they have given just one or two. “The most impressive reply I ever got to this request was from a lady who got back with three referees, including their private and personal email addresses, work phone numbers, mobile numbers and, crucially, the best available times to call,” he says.
“She had taken the time to contact all three referees to check when would be the most appropriate times for me to ring them. I was very impressed because she showed huge attention to detail and a real consideration for my time.
“It saved me having to chase these people around the place. She gave me ranges of options such as best time to ring this man is 4-5 on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday afternoon.
“I wasn’t tied to any one time. This was consistent with everything else she did throughout the recruitment process. She presented herself as someone very organised, very thorough and very keen to help.
“I recruited her and she turned out to be every bit as reliable as she appeared in the recruitment process. She went on to become a very valued employee who later went up the ranks within the company.”
So don’t underestimate the little trappings of recruitment. You’ve heard it before, but it is no harm to reiterate it here: always talk to the receptionist or the car park attendant. They may have a huge influence within the organisation. They often get asked their opinions. And, indeed, they might volunteer an opinion (either positive or negative) if they had a particularly telling encounter with the candidate.
They might even be the owner.
The recruitment process is a mixture of formality (CV, interview) and informality. Was the candidate likeable? Was he friendly at reception? What did his previous employer but one (the one whose name is not on the CV at all but whom the company discreetly sussed out) say about her?
Candidates tend to focus more on the formal elements and neglect the informal parts. Our advice is to keep both parts in the mix.
Be flexible. Be enthusiastic. Be responsive. Be helpful. Not alone do you make life easier for the recruiter, but you advance your own candidature.
Liam Horan is Managing Director of Sli Nua Careers Ltd. You can read more blogs from Sli Nua Careers coaches HERE, and make a booking for CV Preparation and Interview Training.