How to Distinguish Yourself from Others and Get the Job
Few things in life can be as cruel and devastating as extended unemployment. Aside from leading you to question your self-worth it can also be lonely and depressing. Nearly all the people I talk to who have found themselves in this predicament over the past few years lament the fact that when they do apply to jobs and go to interviews often times they never receive a notice from employer by phone, mail, e-mail or even fax to advise them of their status afterwards. The candidates spend hours each day and week networking, identifying opportunities and applying online to jobs they find. Without any response from the employer applicants can experience anxiety wondering if they are under consideration for the position they applied too.
When I speak with employers who engage me to recruit for them they are often frustrated by the lack of quality candidates they have been able to find in this time of high unemployment. This begs the question of how there can be such a large disconnect between employers and applicants?
How can a candidate connect with an employer who is seeking someone like them? Sometimes it is as simple as finding the right method to communicate with the hiring manager.
Recently, an employer engaged me to conduct a nationwide search for an Information Security Manager. After evaluating nearly 50 candidates I narrowed the pool and the employer selected from two final candidates. The hiring manager and I compared notes on why he settled on these two candidates after several rounds of interviews and interactions over a two month time frame. This is what he shared on why these two candidates distinguished themselves from the others.
Here is what impressed him most:
1. The candidates varied communication techniques
These successful candidates followed up with the hiring manager in a variety of ways (e-mail, phone, fax and even old-fashioned mail) during the process. Neither candidate assumed that their preferred method of communicating would match the hiring manager. Different people have different communication styles and methods. It is up to you to identify the one that works best for the recruiter or hiring manager you are engaging with. It is okay to use one primary method, but, using the others mentioned demonstrates flexibility and creativity on your part. All employers find both these traits attractive.
2. Consistent and persistent follow up.
This does not mean that you want to get carried away and flood the person with voicemails, e-mails, faxes, and surprise in person visits. Allow 24 hours or more between attempts. Your contact should be more like a drip from a faucet than a constant flow. Also, keep the message positive and you will be much more likely to get a response.
3. Sell your value proposition.
In every interaction and communication, the candidates found a way to subtly remind the hiring manager of the value they uniquely offered. Identify the problems the employer needs solved and demonstrate how you can solve those problems. Do this effectively and you will be much more likely to get a job offer.
Consider using a similar approach in your career search process. To be successful in the hiring process today you must effectively sell yourself. Your competitors are doing it. You might as well too.