Don’t fall at the first hurdle

Oct 7, 2020 | Recruitment Process

There is no getting away from the fact that the world has changed in the last 6 months or so, and recruitment is no different. The impact of Covid has mean that jobs that would attract ten to twenty applications are now getting over one hundred, but with tight deadlines, that means recruiters have to make fast, difficult choices. Ensuring your application stands out from the crowd is more important than ever, because if you don’t get noticed, you get lost. Here are some ways you can increase your chances of getting through initial selection and into the interview stage of any recruitment process.

Staying in the game

In a candidate rich environment such as the one we face now, with possibly hundreds of candidates for a given position, recruiters and hiring managers face a significant issue in reducing that initial level of applicants down to a manageable number for the next stage of the recruitment process. With tight deadlines and much larger numbers, this first stage often becomes more about who can be easily ruled out rather than who is the most suitable. The first goal then to get over that first hurdle, is to address anything that would rule you out. That could be a lack of experience or the need to move cities to work with that employer, or anything else. Think about your CV or situation compared to the job listing, and anywhere that your application may not align properly, that is an area that you need to address. For instance, less experience could be mitigated by pointing out your achievements, showing your skill and knowledge for the position despite not having been involved as long as some applicants. Similarly, if taking the position would involve moving from another city, let them know how this would be done, relatives in the area, or you have already researched available accommodation and so on. The key is to avoid being easily ruled out, so don’t assume the person reading your application understands your situation or motvation if you haven’t taken the time to outline it.

Building Your Story

There are other areas that can cause issues too, there are times in everyone’s career where you may look to change roles, industries or even step back from a certain level of responsibility. However, doing so during a time of a huge rise in applications can mean you simply get lost in the pack, dismissed in that early selection simply because you don’t immediately tick every box. Again, it is crucial to build a story that not only shows what you can do, but why you want to take this position, and this is especially true if you are changing roles or are looking at positions that are perhaps a step down from where you were previously. Explain why you are looking for that change of role, or that you accept the reality of a more challenging job market and are happy to take a slight step downwards in your career path to get working again. A problem only remains so without a solution. Your goal in the application is to provide the solution to the hiring manager’s dilemma. Before they ask, ‘Why did they apply?’, the answer should be there in the application.

Don’t Forget the Positives

In such a challenging recruitment market, avoiding the easy option for ruling you out by providing tangible explanations for any problematic area can really help with getting through to the interview stage. However, this should not come at the expense of providing a positive case for why you should be chosen. A balance between the two is crucial. Address the reasons why you could be ruled out, but also showcase your achievements in the field, explain your motivation and goals and how this position fits with your career. Avoiding being ruled out is only of use if they recruiter also knows why you would ad value and position, but by offering good reasoning against the negatives, and embracing your positive attributes within the application, you can create a profile that will get you noticed, getting over that first hurdle and succeed even in such a challenging recruitment environment.

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