The Recruiting Process from the Candidate’s POV

It is never too early to start thinking about how to prepare yourself for the next recruiting process of your dream job. This post is the first in a series with tips and tricks for increasing the odds of coming out on top next time you apply for a job. We start by getting an overview of the four phases of the recruiting process when seen from a candidate’s point of view.

One of the key moves of getting the career started for a young professional is to get that first full-time job after the studies.  The first job can very well come to define the trajectory of your career path, therefore it is important to do as much as possible to improve your odds of landing the dream job. But it’s not easy. If there’s a job posting for an attractive position, the competition will be fierce with incredibly many qualified applicants.

So, what can be done to increase chances as much as possible to get the job of your dreams? You could of course wait for a headhunter to call you or take a shortcut through network connections on LinkedIn. But chances are you are going to find your first job(s) through a job posting.

The recruiting process can be a long, tedious and complex. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that the process is basically a game in which both parties really want to like each other. The applicant, you, just wants to make a good impression and the employer really wants to like you walking in the door for an interview to stop the further search. Well then, with incentives completely aligned it should be easy enough, right?

Unfortunately, most applicants do not make the cut in the end due to relatively small mistakes that ruin a lot. The window of opportunity is so small in a recruitment process so minor things easily become major reasons not to hire the candidate. Fortunately, these mistakes are correctable. All it takes is a little elbow grease on one’s own part to prepare throughout the phases of a recruitment process.

In the coming weeks I’ll write about some of the best tips and tricks I have picked up through various recruitment processes I have been a part of. I have partaken in both the role as interviewee with 25+ formal and informal interviews and the role of interviewer conducting about 40 interviews at two different companies I have worked for. The interviews I have conducted were for entry level consultants and student workers which makes it highly relevant for the typical young professional recruitment process.

A good place to start is to create an overview of the various elements of a recruitment process. Below is an outline of the four phases and corresponding elements. It’s not exhaustive, but serves as a starting point for the coming posts. 4 phases process-small

The first phase is Preparing.  “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin. This phase is important to invest in as it will pay off in the later stages of the recruitment process. Some of the most important questions to answer here are: How can you identify strengths and weaknesses without using generic terms found online? What should you do before facing a case interview? What can you do to prepare for tests to be taken before interviews?

The second phase is Writing. Putting all things together for the application; cover letter, résumé, references, grade sheets and so on to provide the perfect sales material for your candidacy. Important questions include: What should be included in the résumé? What is the perfect cover letter? Should you call the company in advance?

The third phase is Interviewing. The essence of recruiting. Depending on the company you may be required to go through upwards of four interviews and a recruitment camp. There are many forms of interviews that all demand different things from you. Important questions include: How should you prepare for an interview? What clothes should you wear?

The fourth phase is Closing. After all interviews are over there’s a void. A period of waiting, but there might be opportunities for you to continue to increase your chances of getting hired. But you also have to consider what to do if you are offered the job and if you are not. Important questions include: Should I call after concluding my interviews? How should I handle a job offer?

Now that we have an overview of the process we have a foundation to dive into some of the specifics. The next posts will dig into the details on preparing yourself for the recruiting process so you are ready when the dream job is posted.

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