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15 Tips for 2015 : Improving your chances of securing your dream job

2014 has been an exceptional year for Recruitment within the financial services technology markets across the board. Covering all aspects in Technology Recruitment, Harrington Starr has hit a number of records in a vast range of markets. Let’s hope this appetite continues into and well beyond 2015.
However, I have also heard a range of horror stories from candidates who have been actively looking for roles and have had their fingers burnt as a result of lack of information or ill decision making so below are the top 15 tips to help candidates close out that dream job throughout 2015.

Top Tip 1 – Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The market is highly competitive and clients are spoilt for choice. Candidates are ready to start new roles at the drop of a hat, candidates are happy to negotiate down day rates or salaries to get back into work. So hedge your bets and give yourself options. Relying on one opportunity to help you secure work in today’s market can prove costly as the previous interview may not go as well as the next. Don’t get caught out.

Top Tip 2 – Get prepared. On numerous occasions I have heard of candidates enter into an interview process without even researching the company background, products or services and some not even researching the interview panel. How will you hold a commercial conversation with a potential employer without this knowledge?

Top Tip 3 – Re-read your CV and then Re-read it again. Knowing what you have written on your CV from the first to last page is essential. Too often candidates have written something down that when asked on the spot during an interview to explain, they find it difficult to remember or articulate. Immediately destroying any creditability that had been created. If it is on your CV you better know it.

Top Tip 4 – Skills Matrix, Keep it relevant. The expectations of a manager when reading CVs is higher than ever, especially with the volume of CVs they can receive when recruiting. To make sure you stand out you should have a range of CVs that are relevant to the spec you are applying for. Understanding what the client wants from the client spec and recruiter spec will help you focus thus improving your CV to interview ration.

Top Tip 5 – Have a list of questions ready to interview your interviewer. Great, so you have been asked in for an interview, passed the technical test and had a good chat about the project. So what now? Well now is the perfect opportunity to show your commercialism as a potential hire. A client loves nothing more than when a profile turns the table in an interview and starts to interview the interviewer. It shows you care and have a genuine interest in the company and role, including the person you are speaking to.

Top Tip 6 – Talk about the manager. Finding common ground is a real winner. The conversation can become very relaxed and help build rapport between the manager and candidate. Finding out about common groups that you belong to really does impress your audience.  But remember to stay professional and don’t get too colloquial.

Top Tip 7 – Please don’t be late. I know, I know, sometimes this just can’t be helped. TFL and the London transport service across the network love to throw down a challenge every now and then and we always lose. Just don’t get caught out. Research where the office is based and give yourself plenty of time to make sure you arrive with a good time cushion. Get a map, use your smart phone to help plan out the journey. A top tip is to check Google Earth and get a real life picture of the building so when you turn up you already know what you are looking for. Get information on what the process is to enter the building as this will all come into play. However, if you do turn up early, then make sure you stick to the original time.

Top Tip 8 – Dress for the occasion. Often, one of the main reasons as to why someone won’t get a job is not because they have been good enough for the job but simply they look like they haven’t made an effort. First think you should find out from a recruiter is what the dress code is. Some companies don’t mind casual dress during an interview process and some want a formal dress code. The tip is to make sure your clothes are clean, well pressed, polished or clean shoes and clean finger nails. Again I am not telling you how to dress but in this situation… Well… I am!

Top Tip 9 – First Impressions count…every time.  Remember first impressions – A firm handshake goes a long way, including positive and enthusiastic language in greeting. No need to go over the top but to make sure that your first impression is a strong and lasting one will help you through any situation. Show gratitude and manners – thank the client for taking the time to see you, wait until they sit before sitting and let them know that you are excited to be given the opportunity to talk about the role

Top Tip 10 – Mirror Match your audience.
When two people meet its important to mirror match to create a comforting environment. Look to match the pace of their conversation – talking too slowly to an energetic and fast paced hiring manager leads to frustration and can cause a breakdown in communication. So watch your speed and the speed of your audience.

Top Tip 11. Learn how to answer questions. Too many times I have heard stories of candidates who have gone off on a tangent when answering questions. Nothing is more frustrating to a hiring manager when they have asked a fairly simple question to answer and it hasn’t been answered to an effective level. This competency based technique of answering questions is the only one you need to know. S.T.A.R.
Situation: This is where you set the scene of the response scenario
Task: The aim here is not to describe the process used but more to lay out the details of what needed to be achieved
Action: This should specifically relate to you rather than being a team description. This should also re-iterate the issue and clearly show the process you took to address it.
Result: Clear demonstration of how your solution resolved the issue in the original question.

Top Tip 12. Stay professional when talking about old employers: This is a deal killer. I’ve heard this way too many times for my liking about candidates not being able to hold their tongue. You are not in a counselling session but an interview. Don’t forget your surroundings. Always be positive about where you are currently working, and who you are working with. Be positive about what you learned and how that has benefited you and because of that you are now looking to move on.

Top Tip 13: Cover any objections and close. Make sure that as the interview is coming to a close, you ask your interviewer “Is there anything I have not made clear?” This is your chance to clarify your interest, “Thank you very much for your time, based on what we have talked about I am now very sure that this is a role that I can benefit from and add value to.”

Top Tip 14: Nothing to be nervous about. Interviewing is a great place to learn about yourself and how you handle thinking on your feet or selling yourself. If you have had a good prep for this interview then you should have all the ammunition you need to execute the interview to the best of your ability. Remember to get feedback to see what and where you can improve on. Remember not to talk too quickly, try not to stumble over sentences and make sure you are clear in your mind about the main things you want to convey

Top Tip 15 – Enjoy yourself and be yourself. Most likely the most important one. Enjoy yourself and just be you. Through work and life experience you have gained, you should be able to handle most things so don’t whip yourself up in a bundle of nervousness. Just make sure you prep to the best of your ability with the aid of your recruiter and put yourself in the best position. Sell yourself and use your personality and charm to engage with your audience. The rest of it should take care of itself.


Hari Sopal

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