Jan 26, 2011

How to impress best recruiters and how NOT to fool yourself

You have probably read at least 10 articles on how to interview, and know general rules that apply. I guess you were preparing answers to following questions in the past:

  • Why you would like to work here?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years? (believe it or not some are still asking this question as if anyone knows what the world or economy will be like next year)
  • Why do you think we should employ/select you?
  • Why are you leaving your current company? etc. etc.

There is plenty of advice and books on the subject. I heard candidates do such a good ''homework'' sometimes, and come so prepared that business owners can't believe candidates sound so....let me say it - too good to be true! As some of them later turn out to be. The paradox is that (I heard) business owners complain they got to feel wary of guys who know all the right answers. Can you believe it?

I am not saying you should go unprepared, just I would not put all focus on impressing recruiters before considering if that company is where you want to work, and if that job is what you want to do.

In the last post Who is Hiring Whom in 2011. I listed job openings announced for 2011., and analyzed what particular recruiters say is the way to impress them.

I organized few ''secrets to impress them'' into a table:

Company

No. of openings on 7.01. 2011.

They say they are impressed by

American Express

1 813

Creative, entrepreneurial people with different background, who can connect their skills to role they are seeking.

Cisco

4 591

Self-driven people who love learning, are flexible, good collaborators, pushing themselves and others to excel. They appreciate desire to give back to community.

Boston Consulting Group

2 000

People who offer solutions to problems at hand, do well at case-based interviews, show curiosity, explore other opportunities.

Wegmans Food Markets

2 000

People who smile, are enthusiastic, eager to learn and teach others.

NetApp

2 500

People who respect collaborative culture in fast growing company, and who go step further than expected. Learn about company details – financial details, culture, products, and services and try to understand them.

Intel

2 900

Relentless problem solvers, technical and communication skills, people who thrive in ambiguous environment.

Impress by being prepared connecting your skills to the job you are going after. Ask questions about Intel.

Deloitte

3 511

People who articulate how they will add value. Be transparent and partner with recruiters and client service professionals

Adobe

1 000

Special talents. You are probably good at many things but show them ‘’where you are a rock star.’’ Show what you do so well that no one can compete with you in that area.

Microsoft

6 338

People who show expertise and interests beyond their resume. Blog or develop mobile apps. Learn about Microsoft technology and business before applying, to ensure fit to the best position.

PricewaterhouseCoopers

9 144

People who show passion and personal brand.

Ernst&Young

10 000

Knowledge about technology platforms like SAP, Oracle, Hyperion...


As you can see every company has particular requirements you can impress them with, so it's not bad to know that before even applying. Whole Foods Markets motto is the one I consider universally good:

"Our motto is hire for attitude, train for skill. It's important that team members are passionate about our core values and our mission. Know something about WFM and have a genuine interest in the position you are applying for. Do some research and visit a store if you have not already done so. Show that you have a passion for the job. Be able to give real-life examples, not just hypothetical answers. Review our website and talk to team members in our stores and find out from them what it is like to work for the company." --Karen Vaglica, associate team member services coordinator, Whole Foods Market global headquarters.

For more details about available jobs and the ways to impress recruiters from ''Top companies to work for'', see Fortune article They are hiring!

If you want my opinion as a friend, not a consultant - you can always prepare well, tweak your resume, tailor your answers to get into a company, but if it is not really you - you will end up in a job, role, and/or a company that is not a good fit and:

a. you will be miserable
b. you will soon start desperately looking for yet another job/company/role.

Trust me, after changing 5 jobs in 2 years once, before I figured out what I really wanted to do, and where I (don't) belong.

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