When you learn to think like a recruiter, you’ll be much closer to landing that interview — and the job.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could guarantee you’d receive more calls from recruiters after you submit your resume? Well, you can. All you have to do is think like a recruiter.
Most recruiters receive tons of applications for every job opening. They look for any reason to reject an applicant for not being a good fit. Most of the early rounds of elimination have to do with the qualifications of the job. But the further your application gets, the more all applications look alike. Recruiters have to turn down qualified applicants in favor of those who stand out from the rest.
The applications that stand out are the ones that answer these three questions all recruiters ask. (Click here to tweet this list.)
1. Why do you want this job?
Recruiters want to know what’s in it for you. Why you want a job tells a recruiter about your long-term goals and what you hope to gain with your employment. Are you looking for a job out of desperation? Or do you have a personal interest in this particular position and company?
Recruiters look for candidates who actually want to work for their company. They want to find an employee who will be excited and passionate both about the work and about long-term career opportunities.
Make sure your cover letter and application give a solid reason for why you want this job. Is it because you have a great personal connection to the business? Maybe you love the company’s reputation. Maybe you know this job would be a great starting point for career development.
No matter what your reason, be genuine and make it clear to the recruiter you’re applying not just to pay the bills, but because you really want this job. You’ll automatically stand out from the others in the pile.
2. What do we gain by hiring you?
Meeting the requirements for a job isn’t enough to get a call back. Recruiters want applicants who provide additional value. In other words, what can you bring to the job that no one else can?
This may be extra certifications, education or work experience in the field. Even unique attributes, such as travel experience, are effective when presented in the right way.
The key is to explain how your experiences fix a problem for the company or relate to the job in unconventional ways. Do that, and your value will skyrocket.
Identifying the company’s problems may take some research, but it’s worth it. For example, if you learn that the company is expanding to Brazil, your study abroad experience will be a huge benefit. Maybe the company needs to expand its community outreach, and you have connections with local media resources from a communications internship.
Drawing connections between how something unique about you benefits the business can make a huge difference in your application. Just make sure to explicitly connect your experience and the job, since recruiters likely won’t make the connection themselves.
You should also be as specific as possible by including examples, statistics and figures that prove your unique qualities can be an asset to the company. If you do it right, you’ll get bonus points for proving you can think creatively about how to fix the company’s needs.
3. How do I know you’ll be a good fit?
Turnover is a huge concern for human resources. HR teams want happy workplaces, and recruiters know the first step is to hire the people who fit the company culture. The candidates who fit the company’s culture are the ones recruiters want to talk to, so try to demonstrate that your personality is a match.
A simple way to show your personality aligns with the culture is to do your research. Look for hints that offer insight into what it’s like to work at this particular company. For example, if you see words like “team” or “partnership” on their website and corporate communications, stress your ability to collaborate with others. If you see phrases like “high-energy” or “highly motivated,” try to give off a peppy vibe.
Getting a call back for an interview is as easy as looking at your application through the lens of a hiring manager. Ask yourself the same questions recruiters will ask when they see your application materials. Try it for yourself, and you’ll be surprised by how many positive responses you’ll get — and how quickly you get hired.
Peggy Carouthers is a freelance writer and blogger with previous experience as an HR manager. You can connect with her on Twitter.