What companies and recruiters look for in a job candidate
Being called for an interview is an exciting—and nerve-wracking—time in the job search process. While your resume and cover letter are essential for getting your foot in the door, the interview can make or break your shot at landing your dream job.
You can give yourself the best chance for a successful interview by knowing what recruiters and employers are looking for when they start talking with you face to face. It may be impossible to know the specific details of individual recruiters’ preferences, but you can make some general preparations to increase your odds.
Do your homework: Know the company who’s interviewing you
Who would you rather spend time in a slow elevator with—a casual acquaintance who knows your name and enough detail about you to hold a relevant conversation, or the guy who keeps calling you Suzy when your name is Shirley? Doing a little homework on the company goes a long way toward impressing the interviewer.
When you have some background knowledge about the hiring company, it shows that you’re serious about wanting the position. Do some research ahead of time, and use your findings to explain why you want to work in that particular job, for this particular company.
You can also take things a step further and look into the industry you’ve chosen. Be prepared to talk about current newsworthy events—either directly related to the company, such as their newest product release, or general industry trends.
Show your stuff: Come bearing samples of your work
You may have heard the phrase “show, don’t tell” associated with writing and composition, but it also applies to job interviews. You can tell an interviewer all about the work you’ve done in the past—but it’s far more effective to show it.
Put together a portfolio before the interview and be ready to showcase physical examples of your accomplishments. This can range from actual projects you’ve worked on, if they lend themselves to visual presentations, to printouts of results. Having visual, tangible samples demonstrates that you worked hard to prepare for the interview.
If you can’t offer a concrete presentation, be ready to list the top selling points—like additional education, certifications, or enhanced soft skills—that set you apart from other candidates.
Know your future: Have goals for the position and talk about them
If you were to land the job you’re interviewing for, where do you see yourself five years from now? Give this topic some serious thought prior to the interview, and while you’re talking to the recruiter, explain your goals and how you plan to accomplish them. This shows that you’re looking at the bigger picture and will be dedicated to a long-term future with the company.
One of the most important ways to show your interest is to ask questions at the end of the interview. This not only demonstrates your desire for the job, but also gives you insight into what you’ll actually be doing in the position.
Finally, pinpoint the next steps following the interview. Ask the recruiter what the hiring process entails, how and when you should follow up, and whether they need anything else from your end, such as references or forms for background checks.
Get a helping hand
Helpmates Staffing can help you target your job search to find your dream position, and prepare for interviews that wow recruiters and employers. For more than 40 years, we’ve worked with the best employers throughout southern California, and we have access to unique career opportunities you won’t find anywhere else. Contact us to find out how Helpmates can jumpstart your career.