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Having been in recruitment for 15 years I have met thousands of potential job seekers. On the whole it is me asking the questions so that I am able to ascertain the information that I need to match candidates and clients alike. Recently I was asked a very simple but pertinent question by one job seeker. The question; “what makes a good candidate?”
It’s a great question and I guess to some degree from a recruiter’s perspective it depends on what their clients are looking for. If it is purely technical skills then that might be all that matters however in my role as a legal recruiter specialising in assisting some of the biggest UK companies recruit in-house lawyers they and ultimately I, are interested in a whole host of elements.
Having given the question some though here are my thoughts on what makes a good candidate.
In this blog I am not focusing on career success, more what is it about a person when I meet them that makes me excited to be representing them.
Some of the most impressive candidates that I have met didn’t initially look anymore impressive on paper than other CVs but what set them apart was a mixture of personality and their impact. If I have learnt one thing over my 15 years in business it is that people buy (in) to people and ultimately it is personality that most of my clients have focused on over the years when making their recruitment decisions.
Below are key headers to focus on so that you stand out from the crowd in a positive way and increase your chances of having an impact on people, particularly in an interview or professional situation.
1. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Even a good joke told badly or in a monotone fashion is boring. Communicate what you have done and what you might be looking for with passion!
2. Understand ‘YOUR’ achievements. Be clear on what ‘you’ did as opposed to ‘we’. Know what you want to tell the interviewer about your experience. There is nothing worse than trying to get blood out of a stone or alternatively have to listen to too much information.
3. Make sure you listen to the question and don’t interrupt too often. If you do interrupt this communicates that you see yourself as more important than who you are speaking to, or impatient. Either way not great attributes.
4. Dress appropriately. In the odd occasion where a suit might not be required make sure you err on caution.
5. Manage your emotions. Most interviewers recognise that most people get nervous at interview. Sometimes the more you want a job the more nervous you can be. Experience of interviews is often the key to overcoming nerves so get some experience if you can. If you have not interviewed for some years go for a job interview even if you are not fully convinced it is the job for you. Getting the experience will be invaluable.
6. Start and end with a strong hand-shake (not a bone crusher!) and keep eye contact (without staring!) This is all about having presence and confidence.
Ultimately, people will remember how you made them feel long after they’ve forgotten what you said.