It sounds like click-bait (and in many respects, it is – we do want you to read our blog, after all), but please bear with me.
There is one overarching theme that I see in every successful job seeker. I would argue that successful in-house and agency recruiters possess the same quality.
Think of it this way: traditional recruiters and hiring managers often talk about finding someone who is the right ‘match’ for their job role and organisation. What they really mean is that they want to find a person who fulfils their current needs. They are looking for a puzzle piece to fill a pre-defined hole.
Often, finding the right person happens by happy accident (although it is highly influenced by a recruiter’s innate biases – a subject for other posts).
Job-seeker sees an advert that appeals to them, and they apply. Recruiter calls job-seeker and inwardly lights up when a phone screening reveals the perfect marriage of skills, experience, knowledge, personality and circumstance for the organisation and job role they are recruiting.
An in-house interview with the team’s Manager confirms the recruiter’s judgment, and a job offer is made.
Wonderful – for everyone except those applicants who have been overlooked.
If you are one of those applicants, perhaps making a career change, reaching for a role higher than your current level or coming back after a gap in your career, then there is fast-track to job application success, beyond the usual CV-writing and interview tips.
Empathy. Find out what your recruiter needs, and give it to them. Then find out what your interviewer needs, and give it to them.
There is a famous scene in the film ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ in which Leonardo DiCaprio instructs his audience to “sell me this pen.” I won’t link the scene here, as the language could be deemed inappropriate for a professional forum, but you can find it on YouTube. And I would not suggest that DiCaprio’s character is in any way empathetic, but he does demonstrate one element of empathy, which is also a component of successful sales technique. He shows the importance of finding out what your customer needs, and then supplying them with it. In commercial terms – supply and demand.
Here are four ways to apply empathy to your job search.
The take away point: rather than approaching your job application by pointing out your best features and demonstrating you can do the job, try to find out what the interviewer and the organisation need and market yourself as the solution. And be nice to everyone that you are in contact with along the way, even if they don’t deserve it.