Let’s face it, in today’s challenging market, the job hunt can be a particularly overwhelming process. Candidates are often faced with the difficult task of making their resume stand out in a sea of qualified and talented prospects. Every website has a different take on what interviewers are looking for and can often leave job seekers feeling lost. We’ve rounded up the top 5 questions every candidate wants answered and got our recruiting experts to weigh in.
Let’s meet the experts and see what they have to say.
Indu Sharma, Senior Technical Recruiter at TransTech IT Staffing
Rumana Rangwala, Senior Technical Recruiter at TransTech IT Staffing
Gina Crook, Technical Recruiter at TransTech IT Staffing
Emily Adams, Senior Technical Recruiter at TransTech IT Staffing
Leigh Cofrin, Senior Associate – Direct Hire Solutions at TransTech IT Staffing
Question 1: What do recruiters look for in a resume?
The average recruiter spends only a couple of minutes scanning a resume. All recruiters look for resumes that are short and to the point. The recruiters try to match up the role with the resume; they start with the keyword search and domain/industry.
Domain becomes especially important for the more functional roles. While discussing the potential role with the candidate, recruiters dig deeper into the keywords. They match experience with the requirements.
Question 2: How do recruiters ultimately decide which candidate to present to the client?
It is very important that the consultant has the right combination of skills, experience, communication and attitude. The recruiter seeks to match the candidate with a position that is a good fit for both parties, personally and professionally. Building rapport with recruiters helps them get a better sense of what you are like as a person and what the right fit would be for you.
Our clients typically give us 2-5 key areas to focus on in the search and we prioritize those areas when deciding on which candidates to move forward in the process. It is not always the most technical skill set that wins. It is the overall package and combination of technical skills, soft skills, business knowledge and cultural fit.
Question 3: How should a candidate handle a non-responsive recruiter?
If you left a voicemail and didn’t hear back, send an email. It’s a great idea to check their company website, see if there is a position that is a great match and include the specific job in your message saying that you would like to be considered for that role. I always find it helpful to set up a time to speak and send a calendar invite, setting up what you would like to accomplish during that time.
Question 4: What will kill a candidate’s chance of getting an interview?
First and foremost, a disorganized resume with misspellings or grammatical errors will 100% kill a candidate’s chances of getting an interview. Employers see that as lazy and not detail-oriented, both qualities not appealing in an employee. Another reason would be timing. If candidates can’t get their resume in the manager’s hands in a timely fashion, they will miss their opportunity to interview with the manager.
Question 5: How should a candidate ask about the next step of the interview process without being pushy?
The first thing to remember is that both parties in an interview are evaluating if the position is a good match. At the end of an interview I always counsel my candidates to ask two questions:
1. After speaking to me how do you see my skills and experience as a match for this role?
This gives the person interviewing a great chance to counter any perceived objections. This question also gives the candidate a “reality check” for how well they match the position based on the response. If the interviewer sees a strong match to most of your skills or tells you other candidates had a stronger skill match after the interview you now have some valuable clues as to how well you did or what you need to address in order to move forward.
The candidate should always close the interview by thanking the interviewer for their time, expressing their interest in the position and then closing the interview by asking the question:
2. What is the next step in the interview process and when should I expect to hear back from the company?
This is a very appropriate question and shows good follow up skills.
Typically your interviewer will then tell you all you need to know with answers like:
We expect to make a decision by Friday or we still have quite a few candidates that we need to interview, so I would not expect to hear anything for at least a week or two. Sometimes the response is that a decision maker is traveling/out of the office for a period of time, or we will send all applicants an email letting them know the results within 2 weeks.
By asking these questions you are doing yourself a favor as well as the company. Once you understand the time frame and circumstances you will not be upset because you now understand the response time. The company is also happy because they do not have applicants calling constantly asking for feedback prior to a decision date.
Now that you’ve heard some tips from the experts, you should be able to:
- Tweak your resume and improve your interview hit rate
- Avoid pitfalls that prevent client interviews
- Engage a busy recruiter to give you the information you need and deserve
- Persuade your recruiter that you are the right person for the job
- Confirm the next step of the process without feeling awkward
If you have your own questions you’d like answered, feel free to add them into the comments below.