Come on candidates, help yourselves!

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Example Online Application Form QuestionHere at PPS we recruit for many different positions, but one thing they all have in common is candidates who fall at the first hurdle by not helping themselves.

Whilst recently assessing online forms for a Graduate scheme, I was amazed by the number of candidates who missed out sections completely or had clearly copied and pasted answers from other online applications – in some cases not even changing the company name from one application to the next!

So why do so many online applications go unchecked? Granted it does take time to fill them in, however in this particular example the applicants in question were on course for good degree results, had demonstrated strong work experience and extra-curricular activities, yet did not take the time to review their application to ensure it read well to their potential future employer.

On then contacting these candidates to conduct pre-arranged telephone interviews (at a time to suit them), I was also surprised at the absence rate. If you’ve arranged a telephone interview why wouldn’t you be there at the agreed time? Maybe emergencies are on the increase?!

I’m sure this may be a sign of my age…  , but first impressions really do count and I notice there has been a huge increase in the use of ‘music voicemail’. Whilst I don’t mind listening to the latest release by Rihanna during the working day, I do find it odd that a candidate expecting a telephone call from a potential employer would have (in some cases) a completely inappropriate song blaring out over the ringing tone or as their voicemail introduction (maybe my standards are too high?!).

Whilst these quirks are absolutely not limited to Graduates alone, there are certain things all candidates can do to help themselves:

  • Research the company you apply to so you know why you want to work for them, match your own skills and experience to the job spec and provide well structured responses that answer the questions at application form and telephone interview
  • Seek advice from your peers or University careers service (if applicable), they may be able to give you pointers / advice to help with applications and interviews
  • Go back and check your application is fully completed before clicking ‘submit’
  • If a telephone interview has been arranged then it’s only courtesy to stick to the time and ensure you are in a quiet place where you can concentrate on the call without disturbances
  • If you are likely to miss the call or have accepted another role in the meantime, ensure you let the company know so that time is not wasted unnecessarily
  • When job seeking don’t give your potential employer cause for concern when it comes to your professionalism and commitment – keep to appointments and switch the voicemail to a standard one
  • Speak up and ask questions of the potential recruiter prior to interview, this will help you focus on what they are really looking for and tailor your responses accordingly

I guess I should go and clear my diary to handle the increase in telephone interviews I’ll be doing now….

Written by Debbie Edmondson at recruitment process outsourcing company PPS

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No Responses to “Come on candidates, help yourselves!”

  1. Andrew says:

    I am not a recruiter but a recruited(?).
    I enjoyed your note because
    I thought I was the only who got grumpy about these unprofessional/inappropriate behavious
    People who do these things increase MY chances of getting the role when I am looking
    No it is not just graduates. People who should know much better apparently don’t.

    Try a glass of wine during your evening attempts it may just help


  2. paul says:

    some very good advice, very helpful, Researching the company is a must. Confidence and mindset is an important factor

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