By Patrick Richard
It’s tough to be in HR nowadays. Despite the 8.2 percent U.S. jobless rate, many businesses are struggling to find and hire qualified candidates for high-skill jobs in technology, engineering, healthcare and other fields.
New data suggests job descriptions that are either too vague or too specific may be partly to blame for passing on qualified candidates. But job description miscommunication isn’t the only factor at play; poor or complicated interaction between job seekers and hiring managers also hinders hiring managers’ ability to do their jobs.
To successfully interact with hiring managers, job seekers must approach every conversation from the mindset of the audience. Hiring managers are under an exorbitant amount of stress because a poor hire can hurt productivity, affect worker morale and even result in legal issues. By keeping hiring manager’s needs at the forefront of every interaction, job seekers will make their lives easier, thereby increasing the likelihood of landing a new job.
Make life easier for hiring managers with these tips:
When Sending Your Cover Letter and Resume
1. Ensure your contact information is easy to find in all communications. This includes on your resume, your portfolio website, any attached work samples and your email signature. What happens if a hiring manager prints your work sample to read later, but it doesn’t have your name, email and phone number on it? Do you think he has time to dig through his inbox to match it to a name?
2. Submit your resume in a universal format. Designed resumes are great (especially if you’re a designer), but what happens if the hiring manager can’t open the document? PDF and Word documents are the most ideal for submitting resumes.
3. Be very specific. Businesses, especially large businesses, tend to have more than one vacant position at a time. Sending a cover letter that says, “I’m responding to your online job posting,” tells a hiring manager nothing. Be very specific in your first few lines of your cover letter. Say who you are, what specific job you’re applying for and how you found the job. (Businesses like to know which portals are bringing them the most traffic.) If a network connection recommended the job, go ahead and include his or her name in your letter.
4. Bring extra copies of your resume. In tough economic times like these, hiring managers receive stacks of resumes daily. And while the hiring manager may not have misplaced your resume, colleagues he invites to ask you questions during the interview may not have printed their forwarded copies, or may never have received your resume at all. Always bring at least three copies of your resume to every interview (including follow-up interviews).
5. Bring a pen and paper. Chances are you won’t need to take notes during an interview. However, hiring managers may ask you to jot a phone number or email down, and if they do, you want to be ready. Bringing a pad and paper to an interview also shows hiring managers that you’re eager to begin work.
6. Come prepared with questions. Hiring managers want you to ask questions at the end of an interview. Job seekers should always ask, “Is there anything else about the position and company I should know?” but they shouldn’t make hiring managers do all the work. Carefully research the position and company and develop a list of questions to ask before you enter the interview.
When Following Up
7. Send a separate thank you note to every person in the interview. Sending a thank you note is a necessary ritual for the job interview, but the last thing you want to do is send a generic note to the hiring manager, asking him to forward it along to the others who participated in the interview. Before you leave your interview, get the business card of every person in the room. That way, you won’t impose upon the hiring manager to deliver your message.
8. Don’t wait for them to ask for more work samples. If you spoke about a project you completed at a former job in the interview (and you should have!), don’t wait for the hiring manager to ask to see more about that project. Send project specifics to the hiring manager within a few days after your interview.
9. Always attach your resume. Resumes can get lost at any point during an interview process, and it’s not ideal for the hiring manager to go searching for it. Always attach your resume to any email correspondence after the interview.
Are you a hiring manager? What are some things job seekers can do to make your life easier when applying for vacant positions?
Patrick Richard is the president and founder of ShinyNeedle, a job site that allows employers to submit challenges to job candidates and see how they can impact a business from day one, making the hiring process more interactive.