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4 ways to impress recruiters and land a job interview quickly

Recruiters decide if you’ll be a good hire within seconds—these 4 things will help you stand out


The Signs You’re a Natural-Born Recruiter – Photo: Glassdoor for Employers

A year into the Great Resignation, the fight to hire workers is as competitive as ever.

Some recruiters have thrown out big pay raises, signing bonuses, and incredible perks and gone to the extreme to close new job offers as quickly as possible.

As employers go into hiring overdrive, CNBC Make It spoke with a handful of recruiters for their top tips to stand out from the crowd and get a phone call, or offer, that much faster.

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A scannable, tailored resume

Recruiters spend just seconds reviewing job applications, so it’s as important as ever to make sure your resume matches the job description to a T. You want to make sure this first document makes it through applicant tracking systems, or that a recruiter who scans it feels compelled to get you an informational call.

Erica Thomas, a technical recruiter in Palm Coast, Florida, strongly recommends you tweak your resume for every job you apply to. That could mean rearranging parts of your experience section to mirror the priority given to certain roles, tasks, or skills listed throughout the job posting. Or, you could drop parts of the job ad directly into your resume and flesh out the bullet points with your experience hitting each one.

This tip can pay off: Dallas-based HR director Crystal Brown-Tatum says if a candidate’s resume comes close to meeting the basic required qualifications, she’ll send them a message immediately, at least within 24 hours of application.

Clear interest in the company

Recruiters are doing more work to poach people rather than wait for applications to come in. Some 37% of recent hires in the last six months said they were recruited to their current job, according to a ZipRecruiter survey of more than 2,000 recent job-changers.

Pandemic or not, Pete Lamson, CEO of Employ, says what made someone a strong and attractive candidate two years ago still applies today. It boils down to three things: the candidate is clear in what they’re looking for, they’re interested in the job and they’re interesting to talk to.

Being interested and interesting is as simple as spending a few minutes researching the company and preparing thoughtful questions, Lamson says. Candidates can stand out by asking questions about the company’s mission and how the job directly fits into those objectives.

“While recruiters are reaching out to passive candidates,” Lamson says, “once they’re engaged, there’ll certainly be an expectation they’ll demonstrate an interest in coming to work for the company.”

A good tech set-up

Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half, takes note when interviewees have a great tech setup for virtual interviews: They’re dressed professionally and appropriately for the role, their background is free of distractions, and they seem to put as much effort into it as they would if they were visiting in-person.

Solid salary research

Angela Copeland, senior vice president of marketing at Recruiter.com, says it’s important to discuss pay in the first introductory call, though she recommends you wait for the hiring manager to bring it up first.

There are different ways to answer the salary expectations question, whether you state your range outright or you ask for HR’s budget first and counter.

Whatever your response, Copeland says, she likes to see someone who’s clearly done recent salary research. Looking online at sites like Glassdoor and Payscale is a good start, she says, but because the market has changed drastically in recent months, it may be a better idea to ask people in your network about their current pay rate.

Coming to terms on salary numbers early on, Copeland says, is a solid way to advance to the next round of interviews quickly.

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