A professional attitude and meticulous attention to detail will set the stage for a successful job search.
Embarrassing stories about job seeker blunders are an inevitable part of every recruiter’s experience. Frequently encountered examples include answering machines with music blasting or babies crying in the background, candidates who mispronounce the interviewer’s name, refer to the wrong job title, or have grammatical mistakes in their cover or thank you letters. One incident that stands out vividly in my mind is the candidate who ended her interview by reiterating her interest in our organization. She expressed her keen desire to work for… our main competitor.
These details may seem insignificant or even humorous. After all, the recruiter is concerned primarily with your technical skills, professional experience, and industry knowledge, right?
Not entirely. While it’s true that you are being evaluated in each of these areas, they are not the only focus. Often, when candidates are comparable in terms of technical skills and experience, the deciding factor will come down to soft skills, professionalism and the ability to demonstrate a meticulous approach and accuracy in your work. This is why the interviewer will pay careful attention to such details during every step of the selection process.
For example, attention to detail is clearly a core competency for a Quality Assurance position, but it is likewise important across a broad range of fields and job titles. Carelessness breeds mistakes and this is something all hiring managers seek to minimize, regardless of the position.
Through all stages of your job search – from resume editing to job sourcing, networking, interviewing, thank you letters, etc. — your attention to detail is consistently put to the test. Don’t make the mistake of underestimating its importance in the hiring decision.
Avoid becoming your interviewer’s next anecdotal story by adhering to the following guidelines:
- Voice-mail: your voice-mail message is potentially the first contact a recruiter has with you. Be sure it reflects your professionalism and approachability. If possible, have a separate number that you will use exclusively for your job search and check messages on a regular basis. Following is a link to an excellent article on the do’s and don’t of voice-mail: http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110828/BIZ/108280324/-1/COMM0501)
- Pronunciation: the meeting may be over before it starts if you offend the interviewer by mispronouncing his/her name. Confirm in advance the name and title of every individual you will be meeting. If the interviews are being organized by an agency, your recruiter will provide these details; otherwise, it will most likely be the in-house HR recruiter who will be the source of this information.
- Job Title & Scope: know what position you are being interviewed for. Always ask for a job description and familiarize yourself with the requirements in advance. Armed with this information, you will be prepared to ask intelligent questions about the role, department and business direction of the organization.
- Accuracy: when tailoring your resume or cover letter to a specific job posting, it is vital to ensure accuracy and consistency. Often, recruiters encounter cover letters with information unedited from the previous submission to another company. Guess where those resumes end up…
- Typos & Omissions: one of the most common and detrimental errors I have seen candidates make is failure to effectively proofread their correspondence. Your written communication represents who you are as an individual, a professional and a potential employee. Therefore, put as much effort into ensuring that your communication is flawless as you do toward perfecting your interviewing skills.