“You only have one chance to make a good first impression.” Although we’ve all likely heard this expression throughout our lives to the point that it sounds cliche, it’s important to remember it when applying for jobs. After all, when you’re looking for a new job, you’re competing against all of the other industry candidates. If you want to stand out amongst the crowd of applicants, making a strong first impression is vital to landing your dream job.
But how do you make a good first impression with a recruiter? While jobs require different skills and individual recruiters may have their own preferences for what makes an ideal candidate, there are several best practices to follow to make a great first impression, regardless of the kind of job you’re looking for.
Here are eight tips for how to impress a recruiter to help you land your next job!
1. Polish Your Resume and Champion Your Skills and Accomplishments
First things first, if you don’t have a resume or it isn’t up to date, make that your number one priority before applying to any jobs. Even if a position doesn’t require you to submit a resume, doing so helps establish your experience and skills before meeting with a recruiter.
Recruiters are looking for resumes that are well thought out, so make sure yours is polished and free of errors. If you use a template, change the format so it doesn’t look like everyone else’s. Include action verbs at the beginning of each bullet point that effectively illustrate what you did and why this experience makes you qualified for this particular position. For example, “developed systems that improved efficiency by 20%.”
Don’t waste time listing every job you’ve had since high school on your resume. Instead, focus on your recent experiences with relevant companies and industries. If you’re applying for different types of positions, tailor your resume to highlight your skills and experiences that are most relevant to the specific position you’re applying to.
For example, say you’re applying for an inventory job in a distribution warehouse and another job as an assembler. For the inventory job, you might emphasize your experience working with different inventory management systems. On your resume tailored for an assembler job, you might highlight your experience performing quality control checks.
2. Research the Company You’re Applying to Ahead of the Interview
Research is the key to success in any interview, and it’s especially important when you’re interviewing with a company you have limited knowledge of prior to submitting your application. Always make it a priority to research the company’s website, competitors, social media presence, and recent press releases. This not only helps you better understand the company to determine if it’s right for you, but demonstrating you’ve done your research on the company you’re applying for is a surefire way to impress a recruiter during an interview.
You can even go the extra mile and research the recruiter before your interview. Check their LinkedIn profile and see if they have a bio on their company’s website. You might discover that you have similar backgrounds and experiences that can help you forge more of a personal connection during the interview.
3. Maintain a Professional Online Presence
Speaking of doing research, understand that recruiters are also doing their own research on applicants before conducting an interview or extending a job offer. That means they’re likely looking at applicants’ social media profiles to confirm their qualifications further and look for any red flags that might be reasons not to hire them.
Simply put, don’t post anything on your public social media channels that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see. You might also consider maintaining public social media profiles strictly for professional purposes and private profiles for personal use to connect with friends and family. On sites like LinkedIn and Facebook that allow users to add their work history, make sure to keep your work experience up to date to reinforce your qualifications to any recruiters who might view your profile.
4. Be Punctual
It’s a simple rule of thumb, but it can make all the difference: always be early or on time for any interviews and meetings. Being late for an interview might signify to the recruiter that you don’t value their time and aren’t serious about the job. Additionally, running late can cause added stress and lead you to perform poorly during the interview. If you are running late, call and let the recruiter know so they can make adjustments as needed.
Also, be punctual in responding to a recruiter outside of interviews. If a recruiter emails you or leaves you a voicemail about setting up an interview, try to respond as quickly as possible. This helps to demonstrate your enthusiasm and interest in the job you’re applying for.
5. Dress Appropriately for Interviews
Dressing appropriately does not mean wearing fancy formal wear to an interview. In fact, doing so would not be appropriate for most job interviews. But you also don’t want to underdress or wear clothes that are visibly dirty, ripped, or otherwise inappropriate for a workplace. The key is to dress for the role and work environment that you’re applying for.
Your research on the company can help you determine the appropriate attire for your interview. How are the company’s employees dressed in photos on their website and social media profiles? Try to match the company’s standard of dress and, when in doubt, dress slightly more conservatively than what’s standard at the company.
If you have a video interview, dress as you would for an in-person interview. While it may be tempting to wear sweatpants from home, opting for more professional attire can help put you in the right mindset to succeed during the interview. Also, ensure your surroundings and background are clean, professional-looking, and free from potential distractions.
6. Highlight the Skills That Aren’t on Your Resume
We’ve already discussed the importance of polishing your resume to champion your skills and experience, but you likely possess other valuable skills that aren’t included in your resume. These are often called “soft skills” and include things like communication, leadership, problem-solving skills, and teamwork abilities. You can mention these during an interview by explaining how you used them in your previous roles. For example, saying something like, “I was responsible for training my team on how to use our new software program so that they could get up to speed quickly” would demonstrate how you put these soft skills to use.
You also don’t want to spend time during the interview just reciting everything on your resume. If you were invited for an interview, it’s likely because your resume already demonstrated that you have relevant experience for the role, which is why the recruiter reached out in the first place. Instead, try to tell the story of your professional journey with specific experiences from different jobs that demonstrate your qualifications and why you’d be a good fit for the company.
7. Listen Carefully and Ask Questions
Interviews aren’t just about reviewing your qualifications and experiences; they’re also valuable opportunities for you to ask questions and learn more about the job and the company. Asking questions shows your interest in the company and role and can help you determine if the job is a good fit.
Remember, interviewing is a two-way street — recruiters aren’t solely looking for skills and experience; they’re also looking for candidates who will fit well into their workplace culture just as much as you’re trying to find a company that fits your life. Try to show recruiters that you’re curious about more than just salary figures or benefits packages and ask questions about the team you’d be working with, what separates the company from their competitors, how success is measured for your role, and any other questions that express a genuine interest in the role and company.
8. Always Follow Up with a “Thank You” Message
Finally, always follow up with a “thank you” email to your recruiter within 24 hours following an interview. Many job seekers skip this vital step, but sending a brief and thoughtful message to your recruiter after an interview is a great way to stand out from the crowd of candidates and further establish your interest in the position.
In your follow-up message, make sure to include the following:
- Address the email personally to the recruiter (make sure to spell their name correctly!)
- Thank the recruiter for their time and consideration
- Reiterate your interest in working for their company, and share something specific from your conversation that particularly interested you
- Offer to answer any further questions or provide any additional information to aid them in the hiring process
Ready to Test These Tips? Send Your Resume to Summit Staffing Today!
Now that you have these eight tips down for how to impress a recruiter, it’s time to put them to the test! At Summit Staffing, we help job seekers throughout the Midwest find temporary and direct hire jobs with some of the top companies in the light industrial market.
Contact us today with your resume to impress one of our recruiters!