As a recruiter and mentor, I get dozens of applications for every opening; I have to find a way to thin the piles down to a reasonable size – and select those who deserve a shot.
So before you tell everyone you’ve found your dream job and have applied, let me describe the ten steps I use to determine if you may be selected as the 1-in-100 “winner” of this competition…
Candidates received: 100
Step 1: Are you Social?
In my business, being alive on social media is everything. You can have a smallish personal network, but it must be of high quality and you must be a consistent, integrity-based practitioner of the social media arts.
Candidates remaining: 40
Step 2: Do you Pay Attention to Detail?
For instance, I asked for a cover letter describing why you felt that you would be a great fit for the position. Yet, a surprisingly large number of applicants fail to include a cover letter. In addition, a handful sent cover letters that were clearly form letters that failed to include the information requested.
20 candidates remaining
Step 3: How Good is Your Cover Letter?
I know others think different, but to me a cover letter is always important, especially for college students who may not yet have a rich work history. Here is your chance to shine, to show me a bit about who you are as a person:
- Typo? Or maybe too long? If so, you may not be good at Step 2 or getting ideas across in a succinct manner; you go into the “probably not” pile
- Is your cover letter engaging and provide reasons for me to bring you in? Did you address it “Dear Todd” as opposed to “To whom it may concern”? If yes, into the “for consideration” pile.
Candidates remaining (those who shine): 15
Step 4: Is your Resume Compelling?
Here’s where I really decide on those I’ll be interviewing…
Have you committed yourself to internships? Have you been involved in activities outside of class? Volunteer work? Summer jobs? Peer mentoring? I am not looking for anything in particular, but I do want my interns and team members to be well-rounded individuals versus academic automatons.
Candidates remaining: 10
Step 5: Do You Show Up On Time (or At All)?
This one is a biggie. A deal-breaker. Many are just plain late; others are no shows without explanation. Unacceptable.
I had an internship candidate call me 5 minutes *after* the time they were supposed to meet me to say that they were just leaving the house and were going to pick up breakfast along the way – would I like anything from McDonalds?
My response: Don’t bother showing up.
Candidates remaining: 7
Step 6: Do you Dress Appropriately?
Years ago, I was interviewing several candidates for a position where the dress code was extremely casual. The one dress code item that was required (in the job posting and in emails) was “no open-toed shoes” as I’d be taking them of a tour of the warehouse. One of the candidates actually showed up in sandals. Sandals? To a job interview? Really?
Candidates remaining: 6
Step 7: Do you Present Yourself Well?
When I sit down with you at the interview, do you present yourself in a mature, business-like fashion? Can you avoid using profanity when you speak? Will you giggle uncontrollably at the word “dictate”?
Candidates remaining: 5 (“dic-tate” always gets someone)
Step 8: Is there Chemistry?
Here is where I start to make my final decisions. During the interview, do I get the feeling that we will be able to work together? Will you be able to interact with other team members? Will you be able to follow your peers as well as lead them? Some people refer to this as “company culture” – I just want to know that I and the other team members will enjoy working with you.
Candidates remaining: 3
Step 9: Who Best Fits into a “Team of Two” ?
All four of the remaining candidates can do the job, have impressed me with their attitudes, etc. Now I have to decide which two will be able to work together well, will bring their unique skills to the team, have compatible availability and can help each other (and me) learn new skills.
Candidates remaining: 2
Step 10: Do You Want the Position?
Yes? Welcome to the team!
Candidates remaining: You.
That is how my recruiting process works. Of course, every hiring manager does something a little different. They key for you? To find out where you might fall out along this process… and greatly improve that aspect of your job search!
About the Author: Todd Herschberg is a seasoned entrepreneur who has served as founder, marketer, technologist and mentor for a number of start-up tech firms. Mr. Herschberg is one of the world’s 20 most connected individuals on LinkedIn, a frequent speaker on social media topics and ranked the 33rd “Most Influential Person Online” by Fast Company. Todd is also an advisor to YouTern and a firm believer in mentoring. You can reach Todd directly on Twitter.