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Why you must persevere with recruiters

Only on the odd occasion do you find people who extol the virtues of recruitment consultants. The funny thing is it’s the same few people who seem to get all the luck when it comes to job hunting.

If you ruled out the prospect of using or have an ingrained negative view of recruiters, you could well be hindering your job hunt. Consider the basics:

Why do they exist?

Recruiters are paid to fill jobs for their clients (employers). Employers know advertising can be costly and managing the response time consuming. It is far easier to give the job to a consultant and then review 3 or 4 CVs rather than having to filter 200 inappropriate ones.

As the recruiter becomes more familiar with an employer, they get an unrivalled insight into the needs and preferences that influence hiring decisions. A successful recruiter will become a trusted advisor for a hiring manager and the first port of call when a vacancy arises.

Make ‘How you say it’ count

Effective communication consists of what you say and how you say it. Interviewers will often actually place more emphasis on the ‘how’, often without realising it.

By ‘how you say it’ I mean how you express yourself. This means your body language, confidence, manners and general approach. For example, asking a question at the start of the interview, irrespective of what the question is, shows confidence and a keen interest. This has just as much impact as smiling.

Mastering this approach is not beyond you. You need to:

  • Take the initiative to shake hands and introduce yourself, rather than be asked

  • Enter the room confidently

  • Sit down only when invited to

  • Mirror the body language if you can. At least ensure you don’t fidget, slouch or fold your arms.

The purpose and power of a well written cover letter

If you think a cover letter is a formal approach reserved for old-fashioned application processes, then you should banish your pre-conception. When you email your CV to a recruiter or employer you must include text in your email. This is your cover letter. Every single application or e-correspondence you make with a prospective employer forms part of your ‘pitch’.

This week, we talked to Keith Corbin, who spent 15 years within senior HR management roles at Thomas Cook, to ensure employers agree with this sentiment. Here is Keith’s advice:

In my experience the cover letter is alive and kicking and still an important part of the job search process. If the CV can be described as a foot in the door, then the cover letter could be described as that vital first impression of the person at the door.

Making that first impression with a prospective employer in an age of social networking becomes ever more vital. Suspend your judgement and make sure that your cover letter gets you through the door before your competitors.

Interview coach: dealing with situational questions

A good interviewer knows the importance of asking questions that require you to think on the spot. Often referred to as situational, competency based or behavioural question, the employer is attempting to see your skills and attitudes in action. This is clearly a much better technique than just asking you to name your skills, so you can understand why interviewers do this.

The problem for us, the interviewees, is how do we prepare for a random question? We talked to James Rudall, Managing Director of Conversion Consulting (a leading outsourced inside-sales company), to get under the skin of what the interviewer wants:

What is your most important interview question?
How would you calculate the number of petrol stations in central London? Candidates are told they may use the whiteboard and if required, involve all the people in the room.

Why do you ask this quite bizarre question?

We want to understand how a candidate reacts to a pressure scenario, given they are not warned before-hand. Do they stumble and waffle? Or do they step up to the challenge and attempt to find an answer.

The mistakes that WILL make your CV fail

As companies are inundated with applications, sifting through CVs has become a process employers are skilled at and many say has become easier. The stronger candidates clearly explain why they will be a great hire – thus eliminating weaker applications is fast and easy.

This leads to a ruthless and simple point. If your CV has mistakes it will end up in the waste-bin. And this covers more than spelling, grammar and other obvious basics. There are many subtle mistakes for which you may have been given the benefit of the doubt a few years back, but will consign your CV to the trash today.

Set a standard for yourself: do not apply for a job until you are certain your CV avoids the following mistakes:

  1. Omitting essential skills – the skills the role requires must be shown clearly on your CV, prioritised and ideally mentioned consistently.

  2. Listing too many skills – it looks un-focussed, un-realistic and reveals nothing about you.

  3. Waffle – less most definitely is more. Every word, every sentence needs to have a purpose for the specific employer. If it’s not important, remove it.

  4. No bullet points – do you write lengthy paragraphs describing each job? Don’t make it hard for the employer or they’ll make it hard for you by ignoring your CV.

Seeking a promotion? 10 reasons why you won’t get it

It may seem an odd time to absorb advice about promotion if you are looking for a new job, but it’s important to know if you ever want to be promoted you need to start planning now. That means having a plan and sticking to it from day 1 of your job.

Picture this: you've been slogging away and no matter how hard you try you never make any progress. Your ideas are routinely ignored, you're constantly overlooked for promotion and even the trainee who started last month seems to be closer to the boss than you.

Getting a promotion is tough and there is an art to achieving it.

This week I want to focus on the 10 reasons why you haven’t been promoted.

  1. You whinge. If you've never been in a managerial position you may not realise, but managers spot disruptors. And don't be silly enough to think: 'he's a rubbish manager, he won't have a clue how I'm really feeling'. Even the most rubbish of managers pick this up. 'Loose lips sink ships' and more people have lost their jobs by mouthing off to the wrong people.

  2. You are unprepared. You manager and colleagues may know you but you still have to prove yourself. Highlight your skills, show-off your knowledge and demonstrate how you can impact the business.

10 step plan to promotion

Whether cleaning onions off the floor of a kebab shop or a broker in an investment bank, getting promoted is a big task. ‘Big’ but not ‘difficult’. As with most work issues, there is no rocket science involved and people with plans outperform others.
The good news is there is a blue-print for success.

  1. Start now. Devise your plan and stick to your commitments. Even if it’s the first day of a new job, start now. It takes time to get recognised, let alone rewarded.

  2. Make sure you pass the ‘attitude’ test. This is the biggest hurdle. Every day you need to be positive, prepared, punctual, willing to go the extra mile, show leadership, hard working, well presented and considerate of others. It sounds a lot but it boils down to taking pride in and being committed to your work. And doing this every day.

  3. Identify problems your promotion will solve. When you get promoted, how will you tackle the problems? Focus on the people who will directly benefit from your new abilities and start letting them see what you can do.

How to research a company better than Average Santa

Researching an employer is a distinct skill many take for granted. I read an article few days ago stating “search for the company name in Google” as a top tip for interview preparation.  Now I’m not suggesting you avoid Google, its is not at all bad however I just don’t believe this is valuable advice. After all, Average Santa does not land the job.

We all know applications should always be tailored for each specific company. We also know if you turn-up to interview armed with facts, able to talk fluently about the organisation you stand a far greater chance of success. Actually making this happen relies on strong research skills.

This task should be split into 2:


Effective job hunting techniques

Tough times mean a lot of job hunting horror stories. There’s this poor lady I know getting turned down daily – employers tell her she’s overqualified thus they’re afraid she’ll leave for a better job. Another mis-guided soul paid a firm to distribute his CV to 3,000 companies. He’s still wondering why there are no replies.

Many job-seekers unfortunately dance to the tune of the wrong piper. Let’s take a quick look at 3 common tactics.


How interviewers are trained

Anxiety about an interview often is a result of not knowing what lies ahead. How will the interviewer behave? What will the structure be? How will they be assessing me? Take confidence in the knowledge 90% of interviewers will use variations of the same techniques.

Many interviewers are thrown in without training, told to learn on the job. Even so, through experience they learn the same taught approach employers and consultants have been preaching to their front-line hiring managers for eons.


Carrying a job search is a herculean task even for the experts. It is like a jig-Shaw puzzle with each part having its own crucial significance and unless all are set properly , a happy landing in a dream job will not be possible. Well, these pieces of jig-shaw puzzle are actually processes to ensure that you land up in a desired job. A basic guide is listed which will outline your steps towards finding a desirous job.
1. Have a resume ready
Resume is the first contact point of a recruiter with you. Even before your job search begins, you need a resume. A resume is a summary of your education, your work experience, your achievements and your personal details. It is a 2-3 page document in which you have to present your life and your aspirations across to the recruiter. It is through this 2-3 pages document that the recruiter will shortlist you among thousands of applicants. It sets forth the difference between failure and success and whether you will get an interview call. Ensure that your resume contains all the required information in such a manner that it is easier for recruiter to at least short list you in the first go. You can take help from various websites which offer the services of resume writing. Else you can prepare your own with tips and sample resume from these websites.

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