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For job seekers, it’s the million-dollar question. What are recruiters and headhunters looking for?

In times of high employment, people brainstorm prolifically about that secret answer to the recruiting riddle — something they can use to break in and get a foot in the door in the industry.

While every recruiter is different, here are some common things that come into play for people sifting through a pile of applications or resumes.

Skills and Qualifications

When it comes to concrete evaluation of job candidates, skills and qualifications are often first. Taking things “back to square one,” recruiters look at who has the most vital experience and knowledge about the job and business processes they’ll be involved in. Whether it’s software savvy or light industrial know-how, job seekers have to highlight all of their appropriate skills and qualifications to have a good shot.

Most Recent Role

Many recruiters also look at a person’s most recent role or job experience. The idea is that if they have been doing very similar jobs, there’ll be a more easy transition and a smaller learning curve for whatever comes next.

With that in mind, it makes sense to really explain and promote a person’s most recent role in a resume or application package. Candidates who have more detailed information generally have the upper hand. Job seekers who know how to make a ‘role statement’ or description of a prior role look appealing can also have a competitive advantage.

Engagement and Commitment

This is one that doesn’t always get the attention that it deserves.

Recruiters and other hiring managers will often look at how a person has expressed their ideas about a company and its place in its field.

Engagement counts — when people are shuffling through a stack of papers, they may be looking for evidence that a particular candidate has studied what the company does and that its corporate culture resonates with them.

This is also a very practical part of hiring. People who are investing in new employees want to make sure that these people are going to be happy to be on board. If a person already has a positive engagement with the company, that’s valuable.

Salary and Compensation Issues

Some workers and hiring managers will also weed out candidates through compensation.

The company generally has a budget for the role or position that’s open. They’re not looking to spend more than that, so if someone comes in wanting a lot more, it’s not going to be a good fit. This is another item that recruiters often look at early on in the process, so it pays to consider what’s normal within the industry, and how to make compensation work for both parties.

For more details on the job search process, keep an eye on Full Steam Staffing. We take pride in helping professionals and companies solve problems and work smarter, not harder, in today’s fast-paced and competitive business world.

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