A Recruiter's Guide To Job Hunting
Steps To Take In 2021
Leigh Gillatt • Careers Advice
A RECRUITER'S GUIDE TO JOB HUNTING
Are you one of the many people in the UK who are currently unemployed and looking to find a job? As recruiters we have noticed that job hunting and how people go about doing it has drastically changed during the last ten years.
What’s more important is that if you’re not moving at the same pace as this change, it’s working against you in the search for a new job or career.
You could be looking for a new job in the same sector, you might be looking for a promotion instead or perhaps you’re looking to switch careers entirely – no matter what it is you’re looking for, we’ve created this essential recruiter’s guide to job hunting filled with actionable steps you can take right now and well into 2021.
So if you’re ready to rise above the competition in the employment market and find the job you’ve always been looking for, read on to learn just how…
THE INTERVIEWING PROCESS EXPLAINED
When an employer decides they have a requirement for a new employee to fill a job vacancy they currently have, unless they’re using recruitment agency services to perform the tasks for them, the first thing they’ll usually do is advertise the job role so that candidates can apply for the position.
If you’re job hunting, you’ll either learn about these new vacancies via a recruitment consultant or find the job adverts on many of the large job board sites such as Indeed and TotalJobs.
It’s then up to you to decide if the role is something you would like to apply for and then submit your up to date CV for consideration!
The applicant CVs are then usually filtered in order of predetermined requirements for the role by either a recruitment resourcer in the case of a recruitment agency, or by the hiring manager within the employing company.
They will be looking for the candidate who will best be able to represent their company and what they stand for, someone who has the knowledge to perform the task and responsibilities within the role, and someone who has the experience they’re looking for.
This is something they should be able to tell from your CV in no more than 2 x A4 pages.
Once the CVs have been filtered through into two piles of yes-and-no’s, those who fall under yes are contacted to come for an interview – and then short-listed based on their performance during the actual job interview process.
This is where a recruitment consultant or the hiring manager of a company will conduct one of four possible preliminary interviews:
- Phone Screening
- Group Panel
- Skill Test
- Candidate Presentation
Once preliminary interviews have enabled recruiters & employers to shortlist the candidates, the shortlisted ones are then invited back once more for a formal face-to-face interview with the hiring manager where the successful candidate is then chosen.
Understanding the whole interview process is crucial if you want your CV to follow it through from beginning to end!
COPING WITH NO INTEREST
It’s pretty easy to start to feel anxious if you’ve uploaded your CV to multiple job boards and made what seems like hundreds of applications to available job vacancies but received little to no response.
Sometimes it can be blamed on the competitive market for certain roles, on the other hand it could be your approach or CV that is responsible for the lack of response.
If you aren’t getting the responses you had hoped for, take another look at how you are approaching your job search.
Are you finding jobs to apply for through the right channels and applying before the deadline for the job appears?
Is your CV well written and as up to date as it should be, or is it not really selling/portraying you well to potential employers?
If you’re getting to the job interview stage and then not getting a call-back after that or getting that dreaded "sorry you’ve been unsuccessful this time…" email, it could be the way you’re presenting yourself in person.
Often times people are likely to appear nervous on a first job interview, and for many it can be what gets the better of them.
If you experience nerves like these, tell yourself that you’re going to just treat your next job interview like a conversation with another human being, albeit a professional one. In most cases this takes the edge off the interview nerves and will lead to things going far more smoothly than you initially anticipated.
COLD CALLING, FOR JOB HUNTING... REALLY?
Cold calling is better defined as contacting a business without them having opted for you to contact them beforehand. It’s a tactic often employed in business and sales.
Despite this Cold calling, or uninvited job-hunting, is a proven method of finding employment. When you consider that four-fifths of the job market is "closed", meaning you can't find out about available job openings unless you dig for them -- prospecting for them, in a similar way to a business development manager performing sales calls, can yield great results.
Basically, it involves contacting a business and asking them if they have any current vacancies in your chosen field of expertise. If none are available currently, ask them for an email address so that you can forward your current CV to their hiring manager for future reference when positions do become available.
You won’t necessarily get a response from all the companies you call, but the more you keep at it and try, the stronger the likelihood is that you eventually will get a positive response. Bear in mind that cold calling takes a lot of time and a lot of patience – and you will also more than likely have to be thick skinned since you will likely have to deal with occasional negative responses from less understanding office gatekeepers.
Always speak clearly and loudly, always keep phone conversations friendly, professional and short.
FOCUS ON YOUR STRENGTHS
When you are job hunting, part of the magic that can lead to you successfully getting a job, is being able to sell yourself to a potential employer.
It’s certainly a skill of its own rights being able to convince an employer that you are the right person for the job and that they should hire you instead of any of the other potential candidates. One way to harness this skill, particularly when you’re writing your CV or dealing directly with a potential employer, is to focus on your strengths.
Just what is it that you’re good at?
What can you offer the company that nobody else can in terms of the skills you can offer them and the experience you have built up in the previous years of your career?
What, then, you might ask do I do with what I consider to be my weaknesses?
These can only be improved upon – instead of focusing on them, express that you are working on making them better so that they can be turned into strengths over time. This conveys to potential employers that not only are you self-aware, but that you are keen on self-improvement and strive to better yourself.
A COVER LETTER: YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO SELL YOURSELF
Another way of selling yourself to your potential employer in the search for a new job is through your cover letter. This is the introductory letter that’s attached to your CV that tells your employer more about you. Ideally, the best cover letters are short – most people are able to describe themselves, their career interests and highlighting their most relevant skills and experiences in 500 words or under.
A good cover letter should be properly formatted – that means no bells and whistles, colours, borders or Comic Sans!
When it comes to the language included in your cover letter, you should make use of positive language that re-enforces your strengths. Always be professional, always be friendly – and always remember that your cover letter exists to sell yourself to your potential employer.
RESEARCH THE JOB AND EMPLOYER
Before applying for a job, you should do your research on the job vacancy to ensure that the job is for real, yes scams do still find their way onto even the major job boards every so often. For the bulk of your research though, time should be spent researching the company offering the job.
Kick things off by taking a closer look at their company website (nearly every company has one in this day and age… if you’re unsure which is their website give them a quick call, all companies will be more than help users find their marketing materials).
Source the information on who they are and what they do as a business, whether that be a service, physical item based?
A website represents a company and the people who work within it, so before you apply for the job, make sure that the tone and information of the site fits with your own ideals and that you’d be comfortable working for this company in the long run.
Why not visit the company in person and hand over your CV whilst you’re there?
This may give you a chance to meet some of the people who already work there and see how things operate. Again, ask yourself if this is somewhere you would feel comfortable working – if the answer to this question happens to be yes, then you know you’ve found the right place.
Another way to get the scoop on a company or business is to see what previous employees have written about them on the web. You can usually type the company into a search engine and read company reviews by the public instead – many times, if you take the time to browse through them, you’ll find comments by past employees, the only danger with using this method is that seldom do ex-employees feel the need to write a review of their previous employer when it was a good experience, and so it tends to be those that have had a bad / negative experience leaving the reviews.
AVOIDING SCAMS IN THE JOB MARKET
We’ve seen it and still see it, yes, there are plenty of scams in the job market, and it’s something that we strongly advise you to keep your eyes open and be aware of when searching for jobs, so that you don’t risk getting caught out yourself.
In the early days of the internet, scams were pretty obvious and easy to spot – but this is no longer the case across the world wide web today.
Scammers have become far more sophisticated in their approach, and when job seekers need to adapt to it and keep themselves well informed.
When you spot a potential job offer you would like to apply for, first do your company research and make sure that the job vacancy is, in fact, for real – a simple search through their official website should be enough to find this out, however, if in doubt, you can also call their HR department to confirm the job is still open to applicants for example, this way you’re not implying to the employer that their job ad looks like a potential scam!
Never share extremely personal information like your bank details over the phone or internet – not even to someone who seems legit at first; a potential employer should never ask for these details until you are actually employed by them, and then only as a means to pay you your salary.
If for whatever reason you’re just not sure or don’t feel comfortable about applying for a role, despite however its dressed up to offer a great opportunity, just leave it in the don’t apply pile… there are always more job opportunities available.
SOCIAL MEDIA AND EMPLOYERS
We’ve discussed this in several of our other articles previously but many people still don’t think of this as a factor at all, but we can’t stress enough that it is vitally important to remember the role that your social media profiles play when it comes to looking for a job.
It has now become standard practice for employers to look up any potential employees on social media networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
If you want to avoid them potentially forming the wrong opinions of you based on your social media profiles, keep things clean – or at the very least set your privacy settings so that only material you’re happy for the public to be able to see will be visible, leaving the other posts for friends and family only.
Social media can have a disastrous effect when you’re trying to find a job.
There have been many cases the world over, where someone made a post on their social media profiles without thinking and to find that their employer then disciplines or fires them because of it. You don’t want to be that person… keep your profiles private.
We’d advise you to act on this before you even commence you job hunting process, it’s certainly better to be safe now rather than sorry later!
WRITING THE BEST CV
Not sure how to write a CV?
Your CV represents you. It is a means of creating a first impression of yourself and in many cases may be the only way for you to initially let prospective employers know the potential benefits you can bring to their company. You might be the perfect person for the job, but if your CV is not up to scratch, you'll be passed by.
When sending your CV, unless told not to do so, you should include a covering letter highlighting the vacancy which you are applying for and giving an overview of why you think the prospective employer should consider you. Don't repeat what you have written in your CV, a covering letter is a representation of your career interests and highlights your most relevant skills and experiences.
If you are sending a speculative CV, explain what kind of position you would be interested in.
Don't rely on using the same CV for every job you apply for too. It is advisable to edit it and refine the way it looks depending on the type of job you apply for.
Finally, be concise. Always try to limit it to a maximum of 2 sides of A4. This doesn't mean that you should leave information out, but it will require you to be brief and straight to the point on some of the information you provide.
For more comprehensive and in depth information we’ve written a how to write a CV guide here.
HOW TO FORMAT OF YOUR CV
Your CV is the first thing an employer will see when you apply for their job vacancy, and in most cases, how it looks at first glance will determine if the employer decides to read it in more detail or not.
They’ll be asking themselves as they look at it, does it look organised or cluttered? Is it too short or too long? Is it boring or does it scream out “Read me!”?
To give yourself the best possible chance of standing our from the crowd and enticing the employer into read your CV in more detail, the format of your CV should be as follows:
1. CV Length
Keep it brief and easily read by using clear spacing and bullet points. – two sides of A4 will almost always suffice.
2. Font Choice and Font Size
Choose something professional, clear and easy to read such Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman with font size between 10 to 12, although your name and the section headings can be a little larger (size 14 or 16) and/or bolded.
Whichever you choose, avoid fonts like brush script or cooper black, that will make you CV look more like its fit for a comic or magazine rather than a job application.
3. Clear & Chronological Lay out
The layout of your CV should be in a logical order, with sufficient spacing and clear section headings.
Where you are listing items that include dates, for example work and educational history, make sure you lay these out in chronological order; starting with the most recent items first in the list.
4. Spelling & Grammar
Check your grammar and spelling thoroughly... and then check it again!
SUBMITTING YOUR CV
When it comes to applying for a job, there are several ways you can share your CV with an employer. Make sure you're aware of these dos and don'ts to ensure your hard work is represented clearly.
Saving Your CV As A PDF
Most employers prefer to receive a CV in PDF Format . To create yours, look for the "Save as PDF" or "Print to PDF" option in your word processing software, such as Microsoft Word. Review the file carefully to make sure any text and spacing formatting you added has been preserved in the PDF version of the document.
Emailing A CV
When emailing a CV, you will likely be asked to send it as an attachment. Review the job listing carefully to see if there is a preferred format; most likely, employers will ask for a PDF.
At Diverse Employment, we will accept CVs in many file formats, however, as with most UK recruiters, we generally prefer Word file formats such as .doc or .docx, and PDF files.
Printing Your CV
As many of our interview guides indicate, it's a good idea to have printed copies of your CV on hand when you go on interviews.
Start with a well-formatted document and make sure it has been proofread.
You also want to make sure it's the same version that you submitted as part of your application. Use a high-grade quality paper rather than regular cheap office paper; it will create a much better impression. Make sure your printer has fresh ink and then print a test run to check for any errors or inconsistencies.
Lastly, remember, only print on one side of each piece of paper.
WHY TO REFUSE JOB OFFERS?
So assuming that you’ve been successful in the steps we’ve already discussed above; you’ve submitted your CV, been to a job interview or two and received a few call-backs afterwards.
Now if you’re one of the lucky job seekers that finds themself faced with several job offers via more than one call back, just remember that you don’t have to take the first job that calls. In fact being faced with several potential call-backs, you know your job search has paid off – and now you have the chance to be able choose between job offers, making the best choice for you as an individual, not just because you need a job.
Deciding factors in your decision between the job offers might include commuting distance, particularly with rising fuel prices. Other factors making one job offer more attractive than another could also include the salary offered – i.e. which of the jobs has the best salary and benefits? You might also simply feel like you’d fit in with the team at one job over the other – and that’s perfectly fine too.
HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY
Always be honest in the way you conduct yourself: Both in person and on your resume. Not doing so puts you at an extreme risk of an employer discovering this later on – often when it’s way too late – and it could put not just your job but your entire career in jeopardy.
It’s extremely important to understand that this covers blatant lying and ‘stretching’ the truth, whilst tempting to so as a means of making yourself look great when you’re writing your CV or being interviewed, sorry to be so blunt… but, DON’T!
For example when describing your responsibilities within your previous jobs just stick to the official job responsibilities you performed instead of trying to include things that seem more impressive to the read, but you actually never did.
For example, you can say that in one of your previous admin jobs your tasks were “admin”, “filing” and “accounts” – or you can just say what you actually and stick to saying that you performed admin duties and data entry into the accounts software. The correct message is conveyed and you don’t have to worry about there being any stretching of the truth for your employer or you to worry about later do the line when asked to perform sales ledger or create an end of period report for the manager of the business.
Honestly really is the best policy – and it goes a long way.
PLACES TO FIND JOBS
So, just where do you go to find a job?
This question seems to baffle the hell out of people who are currently looking for work and coming up empty.
First you’re already on the right website to start looking for jobs right here with Diverse Employment, so head over to our job search section and browse the currently available vacancies.
But where else you ask; well you could start by browsing local company websites or the websites of companies further afield that you’d love to work for heading over to their “Jobs” or “Hiring” page.
Companies and recruitment agencies will also tend to post current vacancies on the popular job boards, including sites such as Indeed and CV-Library – so keep an eye on those as they’re valuable resources for multiple jobs all in one hand place.
Job sites such as these also often allow you to post your CV online also by creating a personal online profile. This has the added benefit of recruiters and employers being able to search for individual’s CVs based on certain search criteria that match their specific needs for the job role, in which case you might find yourself being contacted by a potential new employer before you know it!
You can also employ cold calling to find potential vacancies, which we’ve already discussed at length above.
USING SEARCH ENGINES TO FIND JOBS
Google and the other less used search engines are like a endless vault of useful information, and are particularly useful if you’re looking to find a job.
But in order to get the best results returned for your search queries you have to know how to use them more efficiently?
First, you have to understand that search engines are built to work around keywords and algorithms: If you aren’t entering the right keywords into your search query, the search engine will work against you and return results you weren’t necessarily looking for.
Thankfully here at Diverse we have an in-house digital marketer well versed in SEO who has provided this advice on how to best return the results you’re specifically looking for in search engines:
First off you’re looking for JOBS so this should form the generic keyword element of your search query. The rest of the query will be determined on what you are specifically looking for yourself and should take the format:
jobs intitle:the type of job you’re looking for
for example if you were looking for engineering jobs this would then look like:
to narrow your search even more you can then add the location you’d prefer
jobs intitle:the type of job you’re looking for location:search location
for example if the engineering jobs you wanted to find needed also to be in Scunthorpe this would then look like:
jobs intitle:engineering location:scunthorpe
To eliminate keywords in most search engines and refine a search simply type a “-” before the keyword you’d like to eliminate, this can be extremely useful if you’ve got thousands of search results to work through and the same term keeps clogging up the results.
jobs intitle:the type of job you’re looking for location:search location -keyword to eliminate
i.e. if you wanted to eliminate mechanical engineering jobs in scunthorpe your search should look something like this:
jobs intitle:engineering location:scunthorpe -mechancial
It obviously looks a little more complicated to how you would normally search for things in Google, but to be fair this has come from an SEO whose job it is to get the best out of a search engine, so trust us… it’ll be the most efficient way for you to search and get the best results you’re looking for.
OTHER JOBS AS STEPPING STONES
Often times, you have to keep things moving while you’re looking for work – this means still paying the same bills, still working out a budget for the weeks or months ahead and still somehow managing to live off your savings – or earn money – during your job search. These other jobs, held while looking for other, more permanent work, can be considered to be stepping stones. No, it’ not the job you want, but it’s something you might have to do for a period of two, three or four months if you’re still in the process of submitting your CV.
Diverse Employment is a great place if you’re looking for temporary work to ‘tie you over’ whilst you conduct your job hunt for a permanent role, some roles are even temp to perm should you find the temporary role you take becomes something you’d like to do on a permanent contract basis.
Find out more about Diverse Employment's recruitment expertise and how our award winning recruitment services can help you find a job.
Leigh, a CPD Level 2 CV writer, is a co-founder and careers advice writer at Diverse Employment. Legh works closely with our team of recruitment consultants working on the frontline of the labour market, to ensure that all the latest employment trends and the most effective job-hunting strategies are maintained within our resources; providing you with the most up to date advice for managing your careers.