We’ve all been there: spotting a seemingly perfect job advertisement and hoping beyond hope that we can get it.
But, in today’s competitive job market, you need to pull out all the stops to give yourself the best chance of landing the dream role. Here are our top tips to help guide you through the application, interview and offer stages – the best of luck in your search.
Whether you’re applying through an application form, CV and cover letter, or newer medium such as a video CV, you should ensure that all supplied information is both impressive and 100% accurate. In most cases, this will be the first point of contact, and your platform for impressing a potential employer. The average employer takes just 8.8 seconds reviewing each CV, so layout and readability are as important as the finer details. It can seem taxing, but tailoring the key information of an application to each role can do wonders for an application. You can be sure that if you don’t, your competition will.
When tailoring a CV to show how perfect a fit you are, it can seem tempting to exaggerate claims in order to stand out from the competition. However, if the HR team struggle to validate your claims later down the line, this could slow down, or even cancel, a hire. Our Candidate Health Check found that 64 per cent of all applications contained inaccuracies in 2015 – whether this was imprecise starting dates of employments, incorrect grades, or even embellished qualifications. Background screening is now commonplace in many organisations, so be sure to double check any applications to ensure hiring processes are as slick and easy as possible. Honesty really is the best policy.
In many cases, it’s no longer as simple a process as application, then interview, then offer. In today’s competitive jobs market, extra layers of processes can help hiring managers make decisions, and are evolving, with group interviews, phone or video interviews, or capability and psychometric tests becoming ever more prevalent. In any initial communication, be sure to get confirmation on what’s to come so you can prepare fully for any possible processes. And, ahead of turning up on the day, closely re-read your application to ensure you are able to answer any questions accurately and in an informed manner.
When it comes to the interview, do remember that this is a two-way street. Ask what you need to know about the team and role to ensure that you can make an informed decision about whether to accept if you are offered it.
While of course it’s important to impress, be sure to look out for and ask questions to ensure that the job is the correct fit for you too. Look at how employees interact with each other, how collaborative the environment appears to be, and be sure to ask interviewers about progression opportunities within a role, if that is important to you.
After the interview, this is no time to sit back and wait. There are a number of steps that you can take in order to maximise your chances of success. Firstly, check your social media profiles to ensure that if your prospective employer requests to look at these you are happy with the content.
Next, check your references. Glowing references are a thing of the past from many larger companies, and now HR departments instead opt to merely provide confirmation of employment, start and end dates, and job titles. This can be frustrating when trying to demonstrate past performance, so getting these details accurate is absolutely crucial if this is the only source of contact they have. It’s now all on the candidate to ensure their application and covering letters demonstrate expertise, so be sure to spend the time so that hiring managers know just how suited you are to a role. Where possible, inform referees that their input may be soon needed to ensure they are ready to supply accurate details.
If all goes well, your dream job will soon be yours. By demonstrating honesty, being prepared, and ensuring your public profile matches the expectations of a potential employer, you can maximise the chances of scoring a perfect-fit role. And if you don’t get the role, remember to ask for feedback so that you can learn for next time.
Becky Mossman is HR Director – Global HR Business Partners at candidate due diligence firm HireRight