10 Commandments of Successful Candidates

1. Thou Shall Perfect Your CV

Your CV should ideally be 2 pages of attention grabbing, hard hitting information about you, your achievements, qualifications, personal qualities, vision and skill set. As most recruiters don’t have the time to wade through pages and pages of career history, make sure it is clear and concise and is tailored to showcase your most relevant skills and experience (including evidence) for each particular role you are applying for.

2. Thou Shall Create an Online Presence

Consultants spend a lot of their time headhunting and searching online for candidates with the right fit and skills for roles they are trying to fill. Therefore, if you have online profiles on LinkedIn and Twitter for example then it really is the first step to being targeted by a recruiter. Remember whatever you put on social media can be viewed by potential future employers and recruiters so it is important that it reflects you in the way that you would want them to see you.

3. Thou Shall Be Consistent

It is always advisable to have your LinkedIn profile, your CV and any other social media accounts up-to- date with your relevant job information and skills endorsements etc. You could be targeted by a head hunter at any time and inconsistencies across your profiles could cause confusion and doubt regarding your relevance for a role. If you are contacted by a recruiter and you are able to immediately send an up to date CV then it doesn’t delay the proceedings.

4. Thou Shall Be an Active Participant

If you are an active member of groups within your industry on LinkedIn and Twitter and are proactively attending networking events and/or workshops and seminars to improve your skills, this reflects positively on you. It demonstrates your commitment to your profession and your motivation.  It will also raise your profile, make you more visible to recruiters/potential employers and increase your chances of being recommended by an associate within your network.

5. Thou Shall Upload

Even if you aren’t applying for a specific job you can upload your CV to job boards and to recruitment company websites so that you can easily be found by recruiters and potential employers online and within internal databases when opportunities that you are suitable for present themselves. But as with your online profiles it is better to have consistency. So keep a list of where you have placed your CV and make sure any future updates are amended at every source.

6. Thou Shalt Not Apply for Everything

It is fair enough to have your CV on several job boards and registered with several recruiters to increase your chances of being head hunted for an opportunity,  but if you are actively looking don’t apply for every job under the Sun. Only apply for positions that you are genuinely interested in and that you have a chance of getting given your skill set and experience.  If your CV is constantly landing in a recruiter’s inbox for irrelevant roles you won’t be taken seriously and you may be even be overlooked for a position you are actually suitable for.

7. Thou Shall Do Thy Homework

If you have been put forward for interview you should do as much research on the company, its products, their customer base and the role as possible. It is essential to show enthusiasm and commitment by demonstrating that you have dedicated your time to researching them via their website and getting to know their values, brand and have an in-depth understanding of what they do. It also helps to arm yourself with a list of questions to ask at interview and to prepare set answers to questions that you are likely to be asked.

8. Thou Shall Dress Appropriately

For the majority of interviews the most appropriate attire will be a smart suit, shirt and tie or a suit and blouse, but this may not always be the case. In some instances, especially within the creative industry, a less formal approach may be more appropriate. Think also whether your hair (including facial) and accessories such as piercings, jewellery or bag is appropriate for the working environment.

9. Honour Thy Recruiter

Patience is a virtue, there is something to be said about looking keen and interested. However there is a fine line between chasing, stalking and bothering people unnecessarily. A decent recruiter will update you as soon as they have heard anything and they will also contact you if anything has happened which will potentially delay any decision. By pestering or dissecting and trying to interpret every little detail this may change someone’s opinion of you and may lead to you missing out on future opportunities. If however you were told you would hear something by a particular day and this has past then it is obviously OK to give the recruiter a call to see what is happening.

10. Thou Shall Not Be a Sore Loser

If you have gone through a lengthy and thorough interview process and feel you have given your all, it is natural to feel upset and bitter if you don’t secure the role. But there is always a chance that there is someone who is a better ‘fit’ is also in the running. You may feel like blaming someone, particularly the recruitment consultant who put you forward, but by doing so you will be alienating the very person who saw your potential in the first place and ruin any chance of them putting you forward for any future opportunities. Use each set back as a learning curve and put it all down to experience, ask for feedback if possible and then you can make sure you don’t make the same mistakes again.

By Newman Stewart

Newman Stewart is an Executive Search and Management Selection company who helps excellent businesses employ excellent people. We are experts in our field and proud of the results we achieve for our clients. With a vast proven track record of success, nationally and internationally, we are the retained, recruitment partner of choice to many national, multi-national and small businesses.