Recruiter tips and insights for job seekers

Yesterday I attended a CDANZ breakfast panel discussion entitled “Applying for a Job” What do candidates need to know about the recruitment process?

The panellists included recruitment specialists Katy Lloyd (Talent and Culture Manager, Accor Group), Holly Sheldon (Recruitment and Talent Advisor, Foodstuffs) and Jacqui Shore (People and Performance Advisor, Delegats Wines).

The three specialists brought great energy to the discussion, providing frank insights into what works and what doesn’t work for candidates.

Recruitment specialists Holly Sheldon, Katy Lloyd and Jacqui Shore.

Here are some of the themes and insights that came from the discussion…

Industries are not one and the same

  • Recruitment activities and practices can vary from industry to industry.  Holly Sheldon from Foodstuffs shared how they have an Application Tracking System (ATS) that allows them to automatically screen and filter CVs before they even reach the hiring manager.  By contrast, Jacqui Shore from Accor Group talked about the ‘post and pray’ approach typically used in the hospitality sector.  Due to the lack of access to an ATS, they literally print out applications and manually review them.

The same old advice applies

  • All of the specialists prefer CVs that are concise and straight to the point.  1-3 pages preferable, with clear headings and bullet points.
  • Spelling and grammar mistakes are a no-no!
  • Photos are generally not required, however, they can be useful for roles that are customer-facing (looked favourably upon in the hospitality industry).
  • Chronological CVs preferred as this ‘tells the story and journey’ of a candidate.
  • Do explain gaps!  Mention if you were taking time out to raise children, or were studying/retraining.
  • Generally go back 10 years for work history.
  • Make sure you have a sensible email address – will not cut the mustard.
  • Cover letters are to be no more than 1 page.

Online 101:  SEEK, LinkedIn and Facebook are important

  • The specialists all mentioned they use LinkedIn to search for talent (especially for high skilled and specialised roles).
  • Candidates need to ensure they maximise their profile, using functions such as Recommendations and Endorsements.
  • The hospitality industry is more likely to use Facebook to promote and advertise jobs, but also to find out information about candidates.  Key message for job-seekers: make sure your profiles are employer friendly (if made public) and check thy privacy settings!
  • Job seekers should upload their CV onto the SEEK website as recruiters do actively go on the back-end to search for talent.  Key words are ‘key!’
  • Make sure you answer online application questions properly.  Some questions are designed to filter people out so check carefully before selecting answers.

Show us your personality!

  • Do what you can to make your CV stand-out.  Showing your personality can be a deciding factor when recruiters are bombarded with lots of CVs.
  • For job seekers, mention things that are unique about you.  Use the Personal Statement at the top of your CV to convey your interest in the role/industry.  Share achievements and highlights and be specific about them.  Evidence, with impact is important.
  • Do not write bland generic statements.  Merely stating ‘I have team work skills’ will not make an impression.

Other things to be aware of…

  • Recruiters love referrals and recommendations.  Do advise them if you know people who may fit the role and organisation.
  • Snapchat and ‘Snaplications’ are growing in popularity, especially with roles that may be geared towards youth.  McDonalds used this strategy overseas.
  • For candidates with criminal records or other barriers,  be as upfront and honest in your applications so the recruiter understands the context better.
  • Some organisations are moving away from accepting cover letters and undertaking reference checks.  There is an emerging trend towards video screening.  There are also organisations that use software that can analyse facial expressions to determine whether someone is genuine or not!

The panellists all were unanimous in the idea that candidates need to PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE when job searching and submitting applications.  Tailoring your application to meet the requirements of the role and the organisation remains the core tenet for all job seekers, and is unlikely to change anytime soon.

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