This is a bit of an HR rant. I am currently recruiting lots of staff, and the process is driving me a little insane. It is one of those things that is just so much harder in India that in other countries.
Whenever I had to hire people overseas, I generally got a range of good candidates, and had to pick the one that i thought best matched the culture of the company, or work team.
My current experience is about finding someone who can do the job. So many candidates fill up their CVs with junk that pre-screening is much harder. At the interview stage, many are poorly presented. One candidate walked in, shook my hand, and then turned around and slipped his pre-tied tie over his head, tightened it, and then turned back to me, as if he had been invisible the whole time . Seriously, why would I send you out to meet my clients?
For anyone who is looking for a job, here are some tips to help you stand out.
1. Almost 75% of the CVs I receive are those ‘competency’ based ones, where the CV begins with a list of skills and illustrations of those skills. This CV type is really only useful if you have gaping holes in your career, or are changing industry, BUT even then, you have to illustrate each skill with real examples from your experience, not just blah blah blah (lots of descriptive important sounding words that you have never really done. I would steer clear of these CVs if you can, as most recruiters will just skim past to the employment section. Just jump into your work experience. Also, keep your CV as short as possible – no one is going to read 7 pages from someone with 3 years of work experience. They skim it, and your important points are missed.
2. The ‘Objective’ statement. I would only include this if you are looking for something specific and want to inform the employer upfront. Don’t just write something about results oriented teams blah blah your contributions blah blah grow with company blah blah. No one cares or reads this. If you feel that you have to use this space on the page, put a one-paragraph pitch about yourself, that actually describes you (not who you wish you were).
3. Turn up for your interview. If you really can’t make it, call and tell me. Yes, I’m serious. It sounds so simple, but i am amazed at how many people just don’t come to pre-confirmed interviews. I’ll sometimes follow up with candidates who’s CV’s look really promising, just in case there was a communication error by the recruiter, but usually i get some really bland excuse such as “I’m sorry, I couldn’t come due to some reasons”, (Yep, that’s a real quote.) followed by pleading for another chance to come. Even if you do come, and deliver a great interview, I’m still going to wonder about your professionalism.
4. Understand the job properly before you rant about your skills. If you are unsure, then ask me questions. A candidate yesterday went on for 30 mins about his amazing team leadership abilities (including his strategies for ‘micro-managing’ his staff), until i told him it was an independent position with no one reporting to him. I want you to ask me questions. I want to see that you want to understand the role in detail, and that you are interested because it is the right job for you.
5. Use the interview to show off your skills. If I am interviewing you for a sales position, then sell yourself. Try to close me. I want to see you controlling the conversation. If i challenge something on your CV, spin it into positive, and bounce on to the next point you want to discuss.
6. Follow up. Some people seem to believe that you shouldn’t show that you are actually interested in a job, because it make you look desperate and the company will offer you less money. In reality, a recruiter would much rather take a candidate who really wants to work with their company, that one who doesn’t seem interested. The only caveat here is to follow up politely. Call twice a week for a week or two, then once a week. Email with about the same frequency. Understand that the interviewing process might go on for a month or two before we finalise on a candidate, so your goal should be to keep your name in our top-of-mind awareness.
That is for now. This is half about about making my job as a recruiter easier, and half about helping you to present yourself better. Either way, it will help you find a job