I have been lucky to work with a number of recruiters over the years. They provide an essential service advertising and pre-screening candidates who come for the roles I’m looking for.
I recently discussed this series of blog posts with Matt, a friend of mine at 4IT Recruitment and he was keen to offer his advice for people looking to get involved in the industry.
I wanted to know more about the work that Matt and his colleagues do between getting a CV from a prospective candidate and brining them to my attention.
What makes a candidate’s CV stand out to you?
A Simple layout – Name and contact details at the top and easy to find’. Don’t use fancy boxes or colours and there’s no need for pictures etc (unless it’s for a UX role). You should include a a brief but non-generic profile at the top of the page with a bit of insight into your skills and experience. Consider adding a technical skills matrix right at the top where it’s really visible and always start with your strongest development language at the top.
We like to see projects you been involved in and where you used your skills, what methodologies you used, any associated technologies (e.g. if was a full stack role say that it was). Universities and schools should go at at the bottom with hobbies – for graduates you should put all the experience you’ve gained from university modules at the top in place of professional experience and start with any experience you have. Always include details of any placements or work experience opportunities you’ve had. Include details of the technologies you’ve used in the roles.
What advice do you always give a candidate before an interview?
Always research the company and understand what service/ product they offer before you go to speak to them. Review the job spec if you have one and think how you can speak about your skills with regards to the criteria for the role.
Talk about what you have been responsible for delivering personally, rather than listing the achievements of the the wider team and use as many examples with how you have used your skills in the past in ‘real life’.
Try to relax…it is as much an opportunity for you to find out about the company and role as the other way around.
Remember to ask the company questions about the role and about current staff… Why is the best developer you have the ‘best developer’ etc. what do they bring extra than all others to the team?
What do you wish more candidates knew when they went for an interview?
Candidates should always remember that hiring managers’ time is very limited so they should try to give detailed answers but stick to the point and then move on.
You only get one chance to make a first impression so don’t be afraid to be yourself.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Do you have any advice to give candidates preparing for their first big interview? What have you found that works for you – drop a comment below or contact me on Twitter. Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss next week’s post!