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Insider tips on the hiring process (that can give you an edge)

What to do before you apply for a job

I’ve had to the opportunity to hire people for many teams over the years, and I’ve learned a few things that I didn’t know when I was a job seeker looking for work. Here are some recruiting realities that many candidates don’t know. I hope these can help you out with your job search!

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There’s a good chance your cover letter won’t be read

It’s common practice to send a cover letter with your resume when applying for a job. Many job ads even specifically request one. In reality, however, less than half of these letters are ever read. Employers (and applicant tracking systems) scan resumes for the relevant skills and qualifications and shortlist the ones that have the right credentials for an interview. That crucial decision is often made without referring to the accompanying letter.

Regardless, you should still send one. Here’s why.

It’s business, but it’s personal

Once you’ve secured an interview, you’re in a pretty good spot. Your odds of landing the job have increased from one of potentially hundreds of applicants to one in four or five people interviewed.

The competition is still fierce, however. Each one of those people interviewed will – on paper, at least – have the skills and qualifications to do the job. So, who gets hired? Often, it’s the candidate who most seems like they would be the best fit with the team. The interviewer wants to like you and like the idea of working with you. If you get the job, you will become a part of their daily lives, so personality matters.

Be friendly, positive, and upbeat. Show some of your personality. Quoting prepared answers to common interview questions from memory can come across as stiff and robotic. Try to connect with the interviewer. Here’s one technique I have successfully used for starting off an interview on the right note.

How you look matters

How you look or how you dress, these aren’t indicative of your actual skills. They shouldn’t impact whether or not you’re hired, right? Well, they do. Your appearance – and how you choose to present yourself – has an impact on whether you will be offered the job. First impressions are formed quickly and can be difficult to overcome. Dressing too casually, not being properly groomed, or not taking into account the company culture can all created a negative impression.

Looking the part indicates that you have done your homework, researched the company, and care enough about the role to put the effort into your appearance. Research the company culture, then dress a notch or two more formally than the day-to-day wear for the interview. Dressing up is a sign of respect, however it is possible to overdo it and come across as a bad fit.

Should you still wear a suit to a job interview? Here’s what employers say.

Too much enthusiasm can work against you

It’s true that most employers prefer candidates who seem passionate about the job, this can sometimes come across as a negative. This is because too much enthusiasm can be perceived as desperation.

Interviewers look for candidates who are competent, confident, and personable. They want to hire the best person for the job, the sought-after, in-demand talent. Desperate candidates seem like they just really need the gig. It diminishes their value.

Show that you are excited about the opportunity, and eager to contribute, but keep you’re cool. No matter how much you want the job, don’t overdo it with the follow-up and phone calls. You can’t rush an employer, and trying to pressure them will only push them away.

Here’s how to follow up the right way.

Employers will check more than just your references

Almost every company is going to ask you for professional references – and they will call these before choosing to hire you. But that is not all that they’ll do. Employers will check their own their networks to see if anyone they know has worked with you previously – or if they are connected to anyone at one of your previous places of work. Your professional reputation is important.

Most employers surveyed confirm that they will also Google you and look you up on social networks. So, clean up your posts and profiles when looking for work. Don’t have any public information that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see or that contradicts your resume.

See also:
The top ten social media post that cause employers to reject you.

The truth about your professional references.

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