The challenge when meeting recruiters is to convince them that you have what it takes to move to the next phase of the process and have a personal conversation with someone in the organization you are interested in.
The recruiter is the gatekeeper
Their role is to sift through the herd of applicants and select only those candidates who they believe show real promise and who deserve a further investment in time by “inside” managers and leaders.
When you meet with a recruiter, their internal currency is at stake. If they allow you beyond the gate and you turn out to be unworthy by insiders, their reputation is tarnished, their performance is judged negatively and their bonus is in jeopardy.
On the other hand, if they push you through and you are viewed as a star after a few more interviews, they are viewed as a brilliant judge of talent for their organization.
Knowing this, the task is to make you so desirable that it’s a no brainer for the gatekeeper to allow you – no, push you – through the gates.
Here are 5 ways to get by ’em…
1. Do your homework on their organization. Your challenge is to paint a picture of how you could fit into their plans. You can’t do this if you know little about their challenges and strategies .
Know facts on revenues and trends, competitors, products and services, employee benefit programs, current media attention, leaders’ backgrounds. And know their Vision and Values if they have them. Treat this as required study.
2. Make it about them. You definitely will get the opportunity to answer their questions about you, but show an active interest in what’s going on with their organization.
Use your “homework facts” to ask leading questions and learn what’s keeping them awake at night. Recruiters notice this attention and initiative.
4. Separate yourself from the applicant herd. This is undeniably THE most critical way to impress. Virtually every other person who sits in front of this recruiter will pontificate about themselves in the same way.
They will all go on and on about what they have learned in school; the marks they earned and how they think their skills could be put to use in a work environment. Don’t go there! Or at least don’t stop there.
Your agenda must be to paint a picture for the recruiter that shows specifically how you are NOT LIKE other applicants.
Work on the “Why should we recruit YOU when there are so many others who want to work for us?” question. And if the recruiter doesn’t ask it (a commentary on their performance), you beg the question and answer it yourself
5. Think of yourself as a bundle of value. A package of skills, competencies, attitudes, knowledge and experience an organization can take advantage of (leverage your homework facts). Describe yourself as more than the sum of your parts. You are more than the knowledge expressed by your academic achievement.
My formal degree is in mathematics yet I never used a differential equation to do ANYTHING in business. What a competency in math allowed me to do, however, was solve complex problems fast.
Think about your education as your means to THEIR end. What’s your “box of goodies” that makes you irresistible to them?
Your end game is to dazzle the recruiter; practice these 5 tactics and I guarantee you will.
Roy Osing (@royosing) is a former President of TELUS and Current president and CEO of the consulting firm Brilliance for Business, with over 33 years of leadership experience covering all the major business functions including business strategy, marketing, sales, customer service and people development. He is a blogger, content marketer, educator, coach, adviser and the author of the book series Be Different or Be Dead.