So you’re sitting in front of your laptop thinking about your next career move. You’ve applied to a role that you are extremely excited about. A few days later, you hear back from the recruiter wanting to schedule an initial call with you. It’s been awhile since you’ve gone through an interview process or maybe haven’t been successful in your most recent attempts. In your mind, the biggest question you have is, “how do I land this dream job?”
As a recruiter, I have seen a lot of hits and misses when it comes to candidates trying to put their best foot forward throughout an interview cycle. Here are some tips that I think will help set you up for success and land that dream job:
Have a well written resume and LinkedIn profile. One of the biggest opportunities I’ve seen on a candidate’s resume and LinkedIn profile is content. Share what your accomplishments are and not what that job entails. If you’re a Director of People, a recruiter or hiring manager will probably know the general scope of that role or what the job description is. Underscore your wins. For example, describe how you were able to scale a team from 0 -> 1 or build a talent function from the ground up or were able to maintain a 5% employee turnover rate in your first year on the job. Be specific. Highlight the most important points that will relate to the role you’re applying for.
Be structured and specific in your answers. Try to anticipate and prepare for questions that the interviewer will ask. For most roles, you’ll probably have a good sense of the type of questions they’ll be focusing on. For certain topics, have some key points in mind so when those questions come up in your interview, all you need to do is elaborate.
Some interviewers might ask behavioral types of questions. For example, “Tell me about a time when you had to make a difficult business decision.” For someone (like the interviewer) who does not really know you or has not worked with you previously, your goal is to tell a concise story of how you were able to navigate that situation successfully. Heard of the STAR approach? This is when it will come in handy when formulating your answer. (S)ituation: What was it? (T)ask: What was your role in it? (A)ction: What steps did you take? (R)esult: What was the outcome? Follow that format and you’ll paint a clear picture!
Know what you want and why you want it. Don’t be one of those candidates who can't articulate why they are ready to explore another opportunity or are interested in roles they are applying for. Are you applying for the role because it is the best next step in your career progression? When looking at the company’s mission and vision, do they resonate with you - if so, in what ways? Be ready to share your “Why.”
Be YOU. This might sound simple and basic but one thing that will help make you stand out in a sea of applicants is your personality. If an interviewer is speaking to a handful of final candidates with roughly the same background and expertise, what will set you apart? The goal is for the interviewer to leave that conversation wanting to work with you. Aside from the experience you’ll bring, you’ll be a positive culture add to the team. Try not to overdo it. Be genuine and sincere in your engagement. Let that awesome personality shine through!
Follow these simple tips and tricks and you’ll be a step closer to landing your dream job.
JP Fortuna, a Senior Recruiter at Scaled who has been working in the talent acquisition space for the past 5 years.