How to increase your chances of securing an interview
With the help of our 6 top tips, we’ll show you how to increase your chances of securing a job interview in a competitive market.
March 26, 2020
The war for talent in recruitment is rife. For every live role, a recruiter can receive anywhere from 10 to 100+ CVs—spending just 5-7 seconds reviewing them—so getting noticed is key.
To help, we have compiled a short list of our top 6 tips to help you find your way to the top of the pile the next time you apply for a job and ultimately give you the best chance of securing that all-important interview.
1. Take your time to write a killer CV
To secure an interview, you must first get noticed with a great CV—and understand what recruiters are looking for in the few seconds they will typically spend skimming it. A few of the main things to remember are:
- In your employment history, write about your achievements, not just your responsibilities
- Tailor your CV to the role you’re applying for, and include relevant buzzwords from the job spec. These buzzwords are often used by recruiters when sourcing CVs on jobsites and candidate databases, or when skimming the CV for suitability
- Keep your CV short and relevant (2 A4 pages). Know your key selling points and make sure they stand out
- Include a statement of intent to the reader that shows what you want to achieve by sharing your CV and, ideally, what you want to do in your career. Conveying clarity and a sense of clear direction on your CV will help recruiters match you with the right sort of opportunities
For more tips on writing a killer CV, read our article about how to make your CV stand out.
2. Build a great relationship with your recruiter
Often, candidates only engage recruitment consultants when looking for a new job. While it is a recruiter’s job to find and place candidates, to really have them work on your behalf and boost your chances of securing an interview, it is important to build a strategic and proactive partnership over time. With this in mind, be open and honest about your skills, and let them get to know personally; regular meetings face-to-face or via video conference can help with this. A great recruiter will sell their candidate with conviction based on a relationship, and is far more likely to secure an interview on that basis than selling a CV of someone they have never met or invested time in.
Don’t forget: a recruiter is often the best route to your next job, so it is worth spending time building a trusted partnership that could benefit you throughout your career. Many companies rely on their recruitment vendors to source talent and won’t read speculative CV’s, so making sure you have a 3rd party on your side is a great way to get noticed.
If you want to build a stronger partnership with your recruiter, read this article to discover our five top tips.
3. Apply for jobs that reflect your skills
When applying for jobs, it is important to set goals and push yourself out of your comfort zone. However, to secure an interview, you must to be able to demonstrate experience that lends itself to the role you’re applying for. For contract recruitment, this is especially true; clients are often paying a premium for an individual or team, and typically seek those who can “hit the ground running.” For permanent jobs, this tip still applies, although companies may be more lenient in hiring a good attitude and work ethic with a view that certain skills can be learned on the job or through training.
4. Secure meaningful testimonials
Many recruitment companies will claim to take “references”, but often, all this really means is confirming your job title and dates of previous employment to validate what is on your CV. These types of references don’t sell you as a person. We recommend making sure your recruiter speaks to your former manager and gains some additional description around the role your performed, what you accomplished, what made you stand out and what additional value you brought to the team. This can then be shared with the hiring manager of the role you’re applying for and add further conviction in support of your application.
5. Identify warm links to the company
In recruitment, the people you know are often as important as the skills you possess. With tools such as LinkedIn, it can be relatively easy to identify mutual connections to the company you are targeting or—even better—the hiring manager themselves. By establishing connections to people who know you and can vouch for you, you’re more likely to stand out and be brought forward for interview. The next time you apply for a job, work in partnership with your recruiter to connect these dots. Once a link is identified, then it’s about communicating the story behind this link to the hiring manager and making sure that this linking person will be an advocate of you if they’re asked. Chances are, the first thing the manager will do is reach out to this person!
6. Work on your online brand reputation
Most companies and nearly all recruiters will use a blend of the tools at their disposal to assess talent and select candidates for interview. While your CV is likely to be the first place recruiters and hiring managers look, they will often then explore other sources for validation. According to ReputationVIP, 90% of recruiters will Google candidates before a job search; 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn for the same reason according to Jobvite. Keeping on top of your online presence can not only help you be found, but also support build a better picture of you as a person. It’s also useful to make sure that personal pages such as Facebook and Instagram are set to private, or that you are comfortable with this content being publicly viewed and that it doesn’t compromise your professional brand.
Just like writing the perfect CV, knowing how to secure an interview is more of an art than an exact science. However, following our top tips should help position you well the next time you apply for a job. Your CV will get you so far, but the rest comes down to your reputation and personal brand, your ability to successfully partner with your recruiter, and how you network within the industry to the best contacts who can support your profile. If you imagine that you are a product looking for a buyer, consider recruiters and your network as the sales and marketing team who can effectively help strengthen your position in the market and get you in front of the right people.