1. Recruiters are selective. When asked how many job seekers expressing an interest are seen or spoken to the results were evenly spread, but a small majority (17.5%) say they only consider up to 1 in 10.
· How this helps: If you’re not 100% right for the role, you could still be considered. It depends on the agency, but some specialize in square pegs and round holes. 28% think that completely irrelevant skills would be a negative, but others say they handle this “frequently - it's all about knowing what the client will like.”
2. Don’t expect an immediate meeting. 97% use email or phone calls for the first stage because “initial telephone and skills assessment saves time for all parties concerned”.
· How this helps: Rather than viewing it as a blocking tactic or bad sign, understand that recruiters know that “time is precious” and they “only meet a candidate if I'm confident I can place them”. They see a phone call as a way to find out “how I can help them or if not where to direct them”.
3. No-one is perfect. After the initial contact, the wheat is sorted from the chafe. Half put through just 0-20% of candidates and no-one puts through everyone they screen.
· How this helps: Don’t despair if you get a few knock-backs. 40% say they reject due to lack of experience while 30% feel skills are missing so have a clear understanding of these requirements, and how you fit in, before you start.
4. Worry about the important things at interview. No-one would reject someone for interview based on looks and 43.5% said looks are irrelevant at interview, but hygiene is vital (49%) and both body language (45%) and dress sense (43%) are important.
· How this helps: Present yourself according to the job in question. “The importance of appearance will depend on the role”. Consider you’ll be an integral part of the employer’s brand and prep yourself accordingly.
5. Give the right impression. People might think that getting ‘friendly’ with the interviewer, saying they could do their job or being deadly serious at all times might help, but the majority of recruiters think this makes candidates just look either daft or rather silly.
· How this helps: Don’t commit the deadly sins of ensuring fresh breath by chewing gum or lying about your CV either. While the first certainly doesn’t seem that awful (especially considering the hygiene comments) these are definitely deal breakers for roughly 50% of recruiters.
6. Do your homework. Researching the company, role and industry are vital. Other areas recruiters feel are important are the department (36%) and the competition (43%) because “it shows they researched over/beyond the accepted norm.”
· How this helps: Earn extra brownie points by researching the interviewer – 36.5% think this is a useful trick while 20% feel it is vital. Just don’t take it too far. As one recruiter said: “candidates can sometimes over prepare, especially on the interviewer. This can be bordering on stalking!”
7. Beware those ‘outside interests’. Recruiters feel that all but travel and charitable work are irrelevant to someone’s chances. These are useful talking points because “anything that shows teamwork/individuality and compassion can be good.”
· How this helps: The consensus seems to be to “banish anything that you can’t talk about in detail and be able to explain relevance to the role.” Some “have had various clients turn candidates down on the basis that they are not happy that they like trains or kite flying or opera.”
8. If you get it wrong, don’t despair. When asked about a jobseeker getting the time, date or location of the interview wrong, researching the wrong business or being held up about half felt these could damage a jobseeker’s chances, but nearly 1 in 10 thought this would rarely be the case.
· How this helps: Make sure you keep them up to date by calling and explaining the delay. Only 3 people thought that this would still affect success, while nearly half felt this would help ensure your chance of getting the job was unaffected.
9. You’re given feedback for a reason. Over 90% of recruiters always provide feedback after an interview, most commonly via telephone but also over email.
· How this helps: Learn from it to improve your chances with the next job you apply for – that’s why recruiters take the time to do this for you. Only 5% felt their feedback was always taken on board however.
10. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Even if someone gets all of the above right, they should not rely on a single job opportunity. Over 60% of recruiters think that 3-5 applications is the magic number, while 18% think that people should apply for 8 or more.
· How this helps: Recruiters expect you to spread your bets so work with them on this. Many will even put you forward for a number of positions themselves as this increases their chances of success too.