What are recruiters searching for in a good candidate? What qualities does a good candidate possess that makes them the right candidate?
Ever wonder what’s at the forefront of a recruiter’s mind when they’re making a hiring decision? Well, wonder no more. Recruiters have revealed the top three most important factors they consider when making a hiring decision. I’m going to share each of them with you—along with a little background as to why and what you can do to stand out in each area.
The Most Important Hiring Factor
In the 2017 JobVite Recruiter Nation Survey 92% of recruiters report that previous job experience is the most important factor in a hiring decision. This comes as no surprise as it’s the first item recruiters screen for when discerning which candidates to move forward with and interview. Relevant experience is vital to your resume and your chances of progressing in the hiring process.
RESUME TIP: How you communicate your past job experience on your resume will determine whether you move forward or are screened out. Write content in your resume targeted to the position and articulate how you would add value to that company. Make sure you’re addressing any key requirements and how you’ve met/exceeded them and how you can solve any major problems or needs the company or department is currently facing.
The Second-Most-Important Hiring Factor
This one factor jumped up almost 15% from 2016—CULTURE FIT (83%). It shows the direction that our workforce and hiring are taking. Being a great culture fit is becoming almost as important as having the right background. The two are starting to go hand in hand as finding the best candidates is becoming more competitive for recruiters.
WHY is culture fit so important? Because culture fit determines long-term career satisfaction, lower turnover rates, and positively affects employee productivity. Simply put, culture fit has major impacts on a company’s bottom line.
TIP: The three top ways that a recruiter determines culture fit is based on conversational skills (69%), knowledge of the industry (65%), and enthusiasm (62%). While conversational skills and enthusiasm may not be as easily conveyed in your resume as industry knowledge, all three can be communicated in your cover letter and LinkedIn profile. Your cover letter is where you can specifically address your enthusiasm for the company and the position and show your great communication skills. Your cover letter is the very first opportunity you have to set the stage as being the perfect culture fit.
The Third-Most-Important Hiring Factor
Employee referrals also weigh heavily in a recruiter’s hiring decision. 52% of recruiters rated this as an important factor in their hiring decision. Having someone the recruiter personally knows vouch for the experience, character, and fit of a prospective employee provides an added layer of confidence and trust. It’s also interesting to note that 35% of recruiters in the survey stated that having mutual connections via social media was a positive. So it’s not just who you know within the company; it extends out to your network. WHO you know can play a major role in your chances of progressing through the hiring process.
TIP: Don’t be afraid to mention common connections when reaching out to recruiters—whether it is someone within the company itself, or a connection via LinkedIn, or another social media site. Recruiters want to see those common connections; it increases their trust and confidence in you as a candidate. A great way to mention this is in your email to the recruiter when you send your resume, in your cover letter, or via a LinkedIn message. You can also bring this up during an interview.
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About the author
Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast
Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.
What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.
You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!
I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!
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