What the Hiring Managers Want in a Job Applicant

by: Nichole E Monday, October 5th, 2009

As job seekers, we all know what we want in a job; what our perfect job would look like, right?

Well, recruiters and hiring managers know what they like and don’t like in a job seeker. Just as job seekers have thoughts about what makes a job or career desirable, recruiters have opinions about what constitutes ideal job seekers.

copyright Razvan Caliman

copyright Razvan Caliman

For starters, there is no expectation to find a perfect candidate. What a recruiter tries to do is find the best candidate for the job. When it comes to interviews, recruiters prefer job seekers who have a few flaws outside of “working too much” and who are willing to share them. Candidates are not expected to communicate that they have no regrets or that they’ve made no mistakes. Employers would rather see candidates who are real, who can admit mistakes and who are willing to offer what they learned from those experiences.

Another communication issue for candidates to consider is with regard to cover letters. Those who don’t take the time to properly introduce themselves in their letters come across as lacking in basic etiquette. In addition to reading your history and what you’ve accomplished, employers are also wanting to read about who you are. When applying for a job, be sure you give more than just your location or LinkedIn profile link.

In addition to learning about who you are, recruiters like to see what you can bring to them. Odds are, when you sit down in an interview or read through a job description, you get a basic idea of what the company or organization is about, what they do, and what they have to offer their new hires. This communication is a two-way street; recruiters and employers want to know similar information about you. What do you have to offer, and how will you add value to the company and organization? It’s an employer’s market right now, meaning, that for every one job available, there are hundreds of applicants ready to take on the role. Therefore, it’s important to take every opportunity to sell yourself.

Finally, and most importantly, tailor your resume. Make sure the information you provide in both your resume and cover letter speaks specifically to the job for which you are applying. Sending out mass resumes and letters of interest can harm you in your job search. Recruiters and hiring managers can detect whose job searches are genuine and who’s sending out mass, generic applications. The information you provide should work together. For instance, if you talk about how you created an outreach campaign between your organization and a struggling community in your letter of interest but show no relevance or supportive information of doing so on your resume, it could be a flag for some recruiters and hiring managers. They prefer to see a link between your words and your demonstrated skills and career moves. Take the time to read through your resume and cover letter to ensure they fit together.

All forms of communication during your search are important, and each requires focus and work. The work will pay off because recruiters want people who are going to give as much to their job as they get from it.

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