Show Them You’re Interest

By Joe Stein

As I am sure you are aware, in today’s economy, competition is fierce for open positions. It is not uncommon for there to be dozens or even hundreds of applicants for a single opening. For many of these open jobs, there are several candidates at the top who have similar impressive qualifications.
 
An easy way to differentiate yourself from the pack is through the level of interest that you show during the recruitment process. It is human nature for a Recruiter or Hiring Manager to focus more on a person who expresses interest in both them and the open position.
 
So, how does a person break away from the competition through their interest level? Below are some simple and easy ways you can grab the attention of the Recruiter and/or Hiring Manager and move to the head of the class.
 
 
·        Personalize – A Recruiter appreciates when a Job Seeker has taken the effort to send them something that is not merely “one size fits all”. Take the time to personalize your Cover Letter and Resume by matching your skills with information gathered from the advertisement or Job Description. The effort you expend will make it easier for the busy Recruiter to evaluate your candidacy, and just may be the reason you are placed in the “call back” pile.
 
·        Answer Your Phone – It is a major annoyance to a Recruiter to have to leave voice mail messages. Generally, a Recruiter will leave no more than two messages, but it may only be once. Try to answer your phone if you are seeking a new job. For those who like screening their calls to avoid those pesky telemarketers, you may have to toughen it out for a couple of months.
 
·        Provide Multiple Options – You want to get yourself in front of the Recruiter and Hiring Manager as quickly as possible. Provide multiple avenues to reach you, such as a home landline, mobile phone, and e-mail. It shows you are serious about landing a new position.
 
·        Respond Promptly – If you do receive a voice message during your job search, return the call as soon as you can. Leave a message to alert the Recruiter that you received the call, and try to leave an approximate time when you will call again. Generally, it is best to call at the beginning or end of the day to reach the person directly.
 
·        Be Flexible – A Recruiter is juggling many different things as they attempt to schedule phone and in-person interviews. Make their lives easier and show that you are serious about the position by being flexible when needed. Try to be prepared, at any time, to discuss the position. I suggest keeping a file of your hot leads with you at all times. If you are not ready on-the-spot, then give multiple options of when you can quickly schedule the appointment. The key point is your readiness: If you are not prepared, then do not schedule anything ad hoc, since you may destroy your one opportunity with a lousy performance.
 
·        Show Enthusiasm – Of course, if this is see-through phony, then it will backfire, but the thought being that a little enthusiasm will go a long way. Become engaged in the conversation, positively affirm important points, and don’t forget to smile. Make sure you get across the point that this position and employer is a priority to you.
 
·        Dress and Act Professional – The general rule of thumb is to dress one level above the position you are seeking. It is very tempting, now that we are in the summer months, to relax in this category and wear sandals, sunglasses, shorts, etc. Let that attitude be for your competition and you will gain a competitive advantage by your display of interest.
 
·        Always Be on Time – It is important not to be tardy for any appointment you may have. Give yourself enough time (anticipating any obstacles) to arrive for an in-person appointment 10-15 minutes prior to the start. Try not to arrive any earlier, as your early entry may prove to be a distraction to the Interviewer, who may feel obligated to greet you.
 
·        Do the Thank You’s – Whether your method is to e-mail or send a card (my personal favorite), make sure to, on a timely (that day) basis, send out your thank you messages. This quick turnaround will send the signal that you thought the interview went well and you are ready for the next step.
 
·        Have the References Ready – When requested by the Recruiter, have your list of references immediately available. This shows the Recruiter that you have been anticipating this request and wanted to be prepared to deliver.
 
 
Some “experts” recommend that a candidate NOT express an interest level beyond routine. The thought being that showing more interest may hamper the Job Seeker when it is time to negotiate during the offer process. During these tough economic times, most Job Seekers, however, would just like to reach the offer stage, and displaying a positive interest in the position just may tip the scales in his or her favor.
 
As always, best of luck in your job search.