How to Stand Out as Their Ideal Candidate

April 8th, 2013

When interviewers talk to job candidates, the “process of elimination” kicks in fast. In other words, hiring managers and recruiters make up their minds quickly whether or not a candidate is worth further consideration. So when you’re interacting with an interviewer, first impressions do count – and you may not have much time to present a strong case for yourself.

So, what’s a job seeker to do?

In today’s market, the competition is fierce and employers are looking for the ideal candidate, often from a very large pool of contenders. You need to draw a picture of that candidate – and then insert yourself into that picture.

Do You Really, Truly Want the Job?

If you really want to be the ideal candidate, it means you have sincere passion for the job. If you don’t, the interviewer will pick this up early on in your conversation. Hiring managers and recruiters are trained to gauge candidates’ interest levels. So the first step in becoming the ideal candidate is deciding whether or not you want to fill that role.

  • Will you like the job? Do you like the company and the industry?  Doing the most thorough research possible will help you make this key decision.
  • Describe the ideal candidate to yourself. Don’t force yourself into this role, but use it as a reference point to help you understand the qualities needed to capture the recruiter’s attention and ultimately land the job.

Be Prepared

Once you’ve made the decision to go ahead, structure your own experience, characteristics and skills to fit the needs of the employer. These tips will help:

  • Research the job and the company. Potential employers consider this a reflection of your interest, intelligence and commitment.
  • Get some related experience. Include this on your resume and in your conversation with recruiters. Remember, this is not limited to paid job experience.  It can also include internships, volunteer work and personal experience.
  • Prepare your talking points. Think about what you want to convey to a recruiter, and write it down in the form of bullet points. Highlight three or four of your top accomplishments or other credentials for the job. Interviewing can be nerve wracking, so it’s helpful to be able to come back to your prepared talking points.
  • Role play. Practice makes perfect. Anticipate the questions a recruiter may ask and rehearse your responses.
  • Prepare your own list of thoughtful, well-researched questions. In addition to providing you with valuable information, this shows you’ve done your homework and have a genuine interest in the job.
  • Dress and act professionally.
  • Smile! Be courteous and confident. Skills can be learned on the job, but your personality is yours alone, and it can be a deal breaker. Make it work for you!

Last but not least, make sure your online presence backs you up and be sure that your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date. And contact Select Group today so we can help you become the ideal job candidate!

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