Actually no matter what time of year it is, all Recruiters are all trying to undercover the following…
1. Can you do what is required of the post?
2. What can you do for the organisation?
3. What sort of person are you?
4. Why you, over the other applicants, or candidates they envisage?
5. What have you got going on?
They instinctively know that the person they hire or help hire will reflect on them in some way. It’s like having your family at a friend’s party. What they do, whether good or bad will influence the way they are seen in the organisation going forward. They therefore have a risk to take and you need to help them take it.
So how do you help them meet their objectives?
Can you do what is required of the post?
This will take up at least 80% of the questions. If you have a job specification work through the requirements preparing answers to show how you fit them with workable examples demonstrating the relevant experience you have.
If you do not have a job spec, the advertisement placed for the position would usually have the criteria listed. Alternatively, ask. If you are being represented by an agency was there anything in particular they asked them in order to short list for the position? Then address these elements first.
What can you do for the company?
You need to show what you know about the company and what issues it currently faces. Usually “Tell me what you know about us?” is one of the first opening interview questions.
Do not be fooled, it is not a warm up, and even if they go on to talk about the organisation at length it is vitally important that you demonstrate the time and effort you have taken to learn about them.
This can be done online and through the social media big three: LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. This is a great way to instantly see what people think of a Company and / or its products by using tools such as Twitter Search. You can also canvass opinion by posting a direct question. On LinkedIn run a company search and see if you know anyone who works there who could tell you more?
Highlighting measurable achievements is also a good way of showing what you can bring to the company. Quantify and give results, use examples where you can show how you have saved your current or previous employer time and money or generated new business, income or customer satisfaction, the importance here is the figures themselves e.g. I generated 53k last quarter from new business an increase of 23%, I saved four hours from the time it took to produce the weekly payroll reports, I saved the business 120k by switching suppliers and drawing up a new PSL, and so on. Even if on your CV point it out -
Know your own CV but do not assume they do.
What kind of person you are?
Can they / others work with you? What sort of attitude are you displaying? Are you part of the problem or the solution? You need to have a good self-awareness in the first place of how you operate at work in order to successfully put this across. I have seen many candidates thrown by a personality revealing question admitting they have never given it much thought. Side stepping the issue is also not an option. If asked to reveal something you need to work on never answer with “Nothing” This may be read as arrogance or a complete lack of self-awareness.
Why you, over the other applicants, or candidates they envisage?
You need to answer this with specifics and not in generalised statements about yourself. You need to match their requirement with your specific experience and demonstrable skill set. To conclude you need to show you want this particular job and not any job. Be specific. This is a great chance to show your enthusiasm and passion, that you are interested in working with them.
What have you got going on?
If you have managed to hit the four criteria above it’s the Recruiter’s job to secure you for their company. They therefore will want some signal of interest from you and uncover any competition they have for it.
Be honest, if you want the job let them know. Indicate what other opportunities you have going on without being explicit. It’s a fine line, withholding information could sour the relationship, yet being too open weaken your negotiation position.
We all want someone in demand; it reaffirms our choices if they are also attractive to others.
So did you give them what they wanted? The easier you make it for the Recruiter to meet their objectives the more chance you have in securing the role, you never know you might just get that party invite after all?
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Sarah Cooper has over 14 years Recruitment experience gained in both an internal and agency environment. As one of the founding Directors of McGinnis Loy Ltd, specialist Finance and HR Recruiters, she is still actively recruiting in the marketplace today. Follow her tweets @approachmarket