In a highly competitive IT job market, sometimes it takes more than the norm to make an impression on hiring managers. While it’s important for candidates to make sure they follow the traditional “rules” of applying and interviewing, such as doing research ahead of the interview and writing thank you notes, going the extra mile can be the differentiator.
As an account executive at Thompson, I spend my days working with a variety of companies and candidates. In my seven years here, I’ve seen my share of candidates on each end of the spectrum, and everywhere in between. There are a few that come to mind that possessed true superstar qualities – and wowed both their eventual employers and me.
What do superstar candidates look like and how can they wow employers? Here are some takeaways from my experience:
Take the Extra Step
Candidates that take the extra step consistently impress me. These are the ones who take initiative, and don’t wait for you to sit back and tell them the information. They come prepared to the first interview having looked up the website, researched the interviewer (LinkedIn, Google, company website, etc.) and asked people in their network about the organization. After the interview, they follow up appropriately and clearly. They have a certain confidence that can sometimes be difficult to teach, but is a valuable skill to employers.
Make Experience Relevant
Everyone who applies to a job has a resume and/or cover letter. Showing the interviewer how those skills and experiences have to come to life in real job situations is the key. For example, if one of your bullet points reads, “Managed team members in development of new product,” come to the interview ready to show them what this means. How many team members? How long did you work with them? What steps did you take to manage them effectively? Providing that extra detail will help paint a clearer picture.
Learn New Skills on the Fly
One candidate I worked with in the past didn’t have knowledge of the programming language an employer wanted when we first presented him. He realized this was an important part of “wowing” the company, and in the span of three days he learned the language – all on his own. When he had completed the training, he communicated this to the team and me. He ended up getting hired.
Showcase the Appropriate Motivators
Sure, salary is important to everyone. Everyone wants to be paid appropriately for getting the job done, but if money is your sole motivator, it’s not likely to get you the job. Instead, look at the whole picture and how a certain role can ignite your existing passions or take your skillset to the next level.
Image courtesy of ddpavumba / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.