Your resume has garnered the recruiter’s attention, and an introduction call has been scheduled, either via the phone or using a video conferencing tool like Zoom or Teams. Of course, if you want to speak to the hiring manager, you will first have to impress the recruiter. That said, treat the recruiter with the same respect and consideration you would the hiring manager. Anything less can hurt your chances of getting to the next phase. So, follow these six simple steps to impress your recruiter.
1. Hit the basics out of the park: Recruiters are interested in your experience. Specifically, does your background align with the position’s responsibilities? Will you meet the expectations of the hiring manager and the company? And are you a good fit culturally?
As always, applicants should tailor their resumes to every position for which they apply. Equally, you should tailor your interview responses to the same job description. Know what the position requires and how your resume aligns. Prepare several brief statements that demonstrate each job requirement and your transferable expertise. Lastly, there is nothing wrong with playing to and highlighting your strengths.
2. Show you care: Recruiters talk to 20-40 plus candidates per day, and often more than 500 per month. That said, recruiters will immediately notice a blasé attitude, and if you have one, it is unlikely you will be considered for an interview with the hiring manager—regardless of your qualifications.
Always show genuine enthusiasm for what you do. Relate your earnest interest in learning more about the position, culture, and company. Recruiters are looking for a win-win and do not want to waste your time or theirs. This approach will likely lead to the next interview phase.
3. Culture is king: A company’s culture and team approach are typically purpose-built to recognize individual strengths and encourage high performance. To be a successful candidate, you must quickly demonstrate your ability to fit into the company culture. Do your homework to research as much as you can about the company, the leadership team, priority services, and clients. Always review the company’s website several times before your first call. Specifically, their mission statement, values, leadership, service offerings, and press releases. I also suggest running a LinkedIn search on your recruiter, the hiring manager, and company leadership. You can never be too to informed.
This preparation will help the recruiter see you as a proper fit during the call and happy to move you into the next phase.
4. Realize recruiters want to help you: A recruiter’s specialized skills include their ability to procure the best candidate for all positions. Sounds simple, right? It’s not. Sourcing from a pool of candidates that dozens of other companies call, screening hundreds of resumes for position alignment, and weening out the unqualified and exaggerators under tight deadlines is complicated and stressful. Do your best to make the recruiter’s job easier—use honey, not vinegar.
Most recruiters have a wealth of knowledge, and they love sharing their knowledge with others. Therefore, asking recruiters for advice is recommended. As the adage goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression. So, ask questions about the company, its culture, hiring lifecycle process, the ideal candidate, community outreach, and more. Ask them about your resume and what made them contact you. It is equally essential for you to interview the recruiter so long as your questions are timely.
5. You will be tested: Whether formal or informal, expect to be tested and be prepared. Many screening processes include simple tests before or just after the first call. These can consist of personality tests such as Myers-Briggs or DISC (two of my favorite
These tests can take as little as fifteen minutes up to an hour. Most require gut responses to multiple-choice answers. Make sure you read and follow the test directions. Again, the timely and accurate responses will only aid your ability to be considered for the next phase.
6. ALWAYS follow up: Too many applicants miss this simple step, which can ruin their chances of making it to the next phase. After the call, it is important to email a courteous thank you to your recruiter. That said, make sure you have their email address. Your thank-you email should be personalized and include:
• Your appreciation
• A summary of your qualifications and value
• A request for the logical next steps
When it comes to impressing a recruiter, it is important to do your homework. The hiring process today is more competitive than ever. Be prepared, be honest, be professional, and put in the effort to be the “perfect candidate.”
Author: Sean Delaney, GovCon innovator who helps federal agencies with solutions that improve performance, reduce risks, and increase efficiencies, is a Sr. Vice President at MBA CSi
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