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Looking for a job? What do recruiters look for in a candidate?

Human resources recruiters have a big job. Increasingly, they have to sort through dozens or even hundreds of resumes for one single position. They are often time poor and need to be able to assess your qualities quickly.

When you are job seeking, you need to remember a few things that will make the process easier for both the recruiter and for you. By taking the following things into account, you could help to set yourself ahead of the pack.

1.      Enthusiasm and upbeat personalities

Think of a recruiter who has to fill a position. They will be assessing your personality within only a few seconds of meeting or speaking with you. For example, if you receive a phone call saying, “Hi, this is Recruiter X and I wanted to discuss your application for opportunity Y.” The worst thing you could say here is, “Huh?”

The best answer to give would be to say, “Yes, thanks for calling. I have been very excited about the opportunity since I first saw it advertised.” It’s the same deal if you are called to meet with a recruiter in person. Smile, look confident and have a strong, positive personal energy.

2.      Business integrity and ethics

Strong candidates give an impression of having a solid foundation for their work experience. Speaking poorly about your former bosses or colleagues is a no-no. Lying is also one way to get the HR recruiter offside. Be as honest as you can and try to think of responses to tricky questions in advance.

Show respect. The director of a large international company, Philippa Foster Black, has said, “Not only is ethical behaviour in business life the right thing to do in principle, we have shown that it pays off in financial returns.” Her research showed that ethical businesses outperformed non-ethical businesses consistently.

3.      People who are not arrogant or too over-confident

Confidence is an important trait to display but arrogance is not. Arrive on time, make eye contact, listen to the person you are speaking to and do not interrupt. Don’t brag about your achievements and don’t try to “one-up” the interviewer or recruiter.

Often arrogance is a cover for people’s weaknesses and insecurities. Looking for a job role can be difficult, and often our confidence can take a knock with every rejection. Have faith in yourself and prepare well; this can be a good way to build up your confidence.

4.      Candidates who can keep calm and deal with their nerves

Speaking to a recruiter can be a stressful situation. Getting an interview and having to present yourself can be even more stressful. Don’t over dramatize the situation, put things into perspective. Sometimes, having a familiar ritual can be a good way to ease stress and help keep you calm.

If you come across as being full of nerves, the human resources recruiter may decide to go with another candidate who is able to present themselves better. Some nerves are normal and being well prepared and confident can help you to give off the right impression.

5.      Those who ask for more time with tricky questions

If you get thrown a curly question that you are unable to answer right away, ask to come back to the question at the end of the interview. This can be a good technique to give you some time to collect your thoughts. Try to think in advance of the questions you are likely to be asked.

Be honest about your experience and try to think of specific examples of work you’ve done and things you have achieved. It’s important that you do as much research as you can in advance as this can help you come across as a strong candidate.

6.      Candidates who have not smoked or had strong coffee or smelly food beforehand!

This may seem like a small point but it’s a definite no-no to show up for a face to face meeting smelling like smoke. Take a good fifteen minutes to compose yourself before going in for a meeting or an interview.

Having good personal hygiene and impeccable grooming shows that you have both self respect, and respect for the recruiter. Make sure you look fresh and are on time. Your outfit should be appropriate and should be free of stains and marks.

7.      A candidate who is a good cultural fit for the team

The main three things the recruiter will be asking themselves are: Can this person do the job? Can this person do the job here? Can this person do the job now? To assist you in giving the impression that you can meet the requirements of the role, preparation is key.

Can you research what type of culture the company has? Are they a ‘suits and ties’ or ‘T shirts and jeans’ culture? What sort of hours does the team work? How diverse is the workplace environment? By taking the time to ask questions and prepare in advance with research you will give yourself a better chance at being successful.  

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