What key skills are recruiters looking for in a candidate?

Recruitment is all about selling. Whether you’re a recruiter, a candidate or an employer it’s all about marketing yourself as strongly as possible in order to seal the deal. Candidates need to sell themselves to recruiters, recruiters want candidates they can sell to employers and, to secure the best candidates, employers will also need to sell themselves as the right fit.

As a candidate, treat your contact with a recruiter as a sales presentation and ensure the following skills are on show:

1. Making yourself the solution

Always remember that both recruiters and employers want you to be the right candidate. They are recruiting to solve a problem. Make yourself the solution. If you are going for a specific role then do your homework and know what challenges the company is facing. You can then explain how you can help overcome those challenges. And the same applies if you’re looking to work in a particular industry but don’t yet have a specific role in mind. Research what is going on in the sector and give examples of how your experience and training would help.

2. Presenting the evidence

Be specific about your skills and experience and always use examples to make your point. Don’t say you ‘work well in a team’, talk about the times you have really demonstrated that ability and how it helped both you and the organisation or team you were working in. Talk about what you learned from the situation and even how it then helped you deal with a subsequent challenge. By avoiding CV buzzwords that can sound empty and stale, you are not only fleshing out your experience but communicating that you have substance and understand what is needed in different circumstances.

3. Selling the benefits, not the features

The basic rule of selling applies just as much in recruitment. Don’t just say what your qualifications and experience are, explain what they will allow you to achieve. Yes, you went to a good university but on its own that isn’t going to cut it. Expand on how your education and experience can benefit an employer. What can you do to achieve excellent sales figures? How could your personality make the company better? Again, be as specific as possible.

4. Mastering nonverbal communication

This is one of the great secrets of selling and interviewing alike. We are always sending out nonverbal messages about what we think feel and how we’re reacting to everything around us. If you’re aware of what signals you’re sending and how they’re likely to influence people you can get a real edge. Make sure you are sitting up straight and maintain eye contact to convey confidence. Don’t forget to smile at the right times to indicate that you are comfortable in the situation. Friendly people are seen as easier to work with and are perceived as having better people skills.

Practice your handshake with a friend until you are confident you are delivering a firm grip which is not too strong or too weak.

Everything you do with your body should be portraying you as a confident candidate who is aware of themselves, engaged and in control.

5. Communicating passion

Don’t be afraid to show energy and passion. If you make it clear that you are excited about the prospect of landing the job it will put you way ahead of most others. Employers are looking for motivated, positive people who are keen to do more than just earn their keep.

And always stay positive by avoiding any complaints about former or current employers. Even if your last job ended on a sour note, present the facts positively and explain that you decided to leave the role because you were ready for a new challenge.

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