Ask the Recruiter: Job Application Edition
In this blog series, we ask the recruiters for a behind-the-scenes look into the recruitment process. We kick off the series with a Q&A session discussing your job applications!
It was a quiet Labor Day for us in the Scotland office as our American colleagues were enjoying some well-deserved time off with their friends and family. While the recruitment team tied up some odds and ends and I cleared out some old files, we had a Q&A session about candidate applications – which led to some interesting insight into the world of recruitment…
Q: What does your typical morning look like?
A: Personally, I start off my day by checking for any urgent emails that may have come in overnight and address those. Next on my list is to go through the applicant queues and flag any promising candidates for the call list that we do in the evening (which is the morning for the US). This will usually take until lunch time – depending on how busy our recruitment schedule is.
Q: How do you decide which applicants get called first?
A: This is usually decided by the team as a whole and we’ll prioritize the candidates who are most likely to impress the hiring managers. These will be the candidates who have clearly laid out their work experience and have shown enthusiasm for the role. We know we can move quickly with them and that just makes things easier for everyone involved.
Q: How do you determine if you should move forward with other candidates?
A: This is what our recruitment meetings are all about! We have a chat with the case managers to clarify what the crucial candidate requirements are and ensure our candidates have these qualities. Although, that’s not always the be-all and end-all of it. We’re in a position to negotiate with the managers and make a case for the candidates we think would excel in a role despite not matching the experience or education requirements of a job. I mean, if it’s a tool-specific engineering job, then our bargaining power is much less, but otherwise, we have room to make a sale to the case managers.
Q: What’s the best way for a candidate to win favour and have you fight on their behalf?
A: Enthusiasm. I am a total sucker for an enthusiastic candidate who has essentially already done all the fighting needed. They’ll usually have a cover letter that demonstrates how their hobbies, interests, or volunteer experience help make up for an absence of formal experience. I remember a few of my favourite candidates that have come straight out of college without any work experience to speak of, yet they can demonstrate leadership qualities from their time as captain of the robotics team and their mechanical aptitude is evident in the ‘JDM drift weapons’ they build and test in their spare time. I remember one woman who worked on building an off-the-grid cabin and was a manager-in-training at a popular burger chain. She ended up being one of our best employees on that project.
Q: What makes your job easier?
A: Oh, 100% when a candidate has matched their application to the job they have applied for. Whether they’ve detailed their relevant experience in their resume or have a summary in their cover letter, showing us that you’ve actually read the job description is a good start. Plus, it means we can quickly process your application as it’s easy for us to tell the hiring manager why they should consider you.
Q: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve had come through with a job application?
A: Well a lot of the time you get direct emails from applicants instead of them coming in from the website. This means there’s more opportunity to stick in extra attachments… I’ve definitely had my fair share of solemn headshots and scanned passport photos, but the weirdest we get is candid photos of people’s dogs. My favourite was of a guy lying in the grass with his beautiful black Labrador. I love dogs, but it’s just funny to pair that kind of photo with your manufacturing technician application.
Q: Would doing something like that affect someone’s job application?
A: Not necessarily, but you have to weigh up whether or not it was a clever ploy for grabbing our attention or if you need to question someone’s ability to be professional in a work environment. So, you can send in your dog pics but please make it clear that you’re serious about the job!
Q: What’s the worst thing someone can do when they apply for a job?
A: Unfortunately, we’ve had cases in the past where someone has just copied someone else’s resume or written up completely fraudulent information. We’re not sure why they do it, but it means we dedicate our time to a promising candidate, and it turns out to be false hope. Even if you don’t match the job requirements word for word, honesty is always the best policy.
Q: If you could say one thing to new applicants, what would it be?
A: I guess I would say to always try and put your best foot forward. Your application will usually be the first impression you’ll make with the recruiter reviewing it. Make sure your resume is aligned with the job you’ve applied for and even just a short message or a quick hello goes a long way.
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