What Trait Helps You Beat Your Job Search Competition?

job search competitionYou’ve climbed to the top of the heap. Out of the 100+ applications received, you are one of the two or three candidates being considered for a great job.

And now that you’ve gotten this far, you need to know:

What exactly is that “magic ingredient” that tips the scales in your favor over the other candidates?

There are a lot of factors in the application process; 10 to be exact. So let’s first pull back the curtain and see those factors are, and how you (and the other finalists) got to this point in the competition:

  1. Met the minimum job criteria
  2. Have relevant experience
  3. Understands and believes in the mission of the organization
  4. Can cite specific examples demonstrating your ability to do the job
  5. Demonstrates competent communications skills and connects to audience
  6. Interviews well and confidently – has strong responses to interview questions
  7. Builds rapport in interview including showing resourcefulness, intellect, and passion
  8. Asks questions to show interest in the organization (and that indicate they researched the company)
  9. Offers enthusiastic references
  10. Has potential for growth

And at this point of the interview process, everything is pretty much equal; all surviving candidates have a shot.

So what is the real deciding factor boils down to one thing that most employers agree upon:

They like you.

That’s right: the final factor, the last decision point, is how personally connect with the receptionist, interviewer, hiring manager – and anyone else you come in contact with at the company. Sometimes, hiring managers will bypass a more qualified candidate for a lesser one, solely because the less-qualified person had the right chemistry in the interview!

So what happens if you can’t seem to connect with the interviewers? When you don’t feel that magic moment happening?

Many bloggers and career advisers make comparisons between hiring and dating. Truth be told, this metaphor is very accurate, and can make the difference in edging out the competition. If the chemistry isn’t there from the get-go, things usually don’t get any better as time wears on. As happens in dating, employers know that.

In today’s economy, your job when applying for employment goes beyond making sure you know your target company, and build your network so you have an internal advocate who can give you internal cultural clues. And it goes well past knowing about the values, culture, and personality mix the employer is looking for.

Today’s job search, at that final decision point, comes down to being… likeable.

Of course, you can’t force people to like you. And in many cases, the fit won’t be perfect. The reality is that if you have done your best, and the match isn’t there, it “ain’t gonna happen.” You need to move on.

Do your research, and do your best. And if the fit isn’t there this time, it means another opportunity is waiting out there… and you’ll be edging out the competition for that job instead!



For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Pathfinder Writing and Career Services!




Dawn Rasmussen 3About the Author: Dawn Rasmussen, CMP, is the president of Pathfinder Writing and Career Services, where she provides results-oriented résumé, cover letter, and job search coaching services. She is the official “Get the Job” columnist for One+ Magazine distributed to over 26,000 meeting professionals worldwide, and Talentzoo.com, a job resource site for creative and marketing professionals. Dawn is also a recognized career expert on Careerealism.com – a top 10 world-ranked career advice blog – and a regular contributor to TalentCulture.com’s weekly meeting #tchat on Twitter. Follow Dawn on Twitter!



This entry was posted in Job Interviews, Job Search and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.