candidate resources

6 Unique Ways to Stand Out During the Hiring Process

May 9, 2019
Exelz Staffing
Candidate Resources

According to research from Glassdoor, the average job opening attracts 250 resumes. Out of those 250, only about four to six people, on average, actually land the initial interview. When it comes to getting hired for a new role, passively applying for a slew of jobs is no longer an option. Standing out among a pool of strong applicants is a must.

So, how do you rise above the rest? Do something no one else is doing. To catch the attention of the hiring team, you need to leave a lasting impression. Take a risk. Try something out of the ordinary. Be different and memorable. Break the mold of the standard interview process as much as you can, while showing the hiring team that you’re a better candidate than the other applicants.

Shining through a sea of resumes is no easy feat. It takes patience, persistence, and a whole lot of work. But often those who give their all to go above and beyond are the ones who have the most success when it comes to landing the role of their dreams. Stand out amongst the crowd during the job hiring process with six unique and interesting ideas.

Hit the informational interview HARD.

Informational interviews can be your best friend during the job hunt, as long as you approach them in the right way. Instead of thinking about the informational interview as your path to lock down a future job with their company, consider how you can use this time to learn about the organization from an internal perspective. A few sample questions are:

• What does the lifespan of a project typically look like?
• How often are changes made to team dynamics?
• How is the workload shared between teammates?

Attach everything you’ve got.

Are you applying for a role that provides an option to submit multiple attachments? Don’t skimp on the information you share. If there is space for 10 attachments on their job application portal, use that opportunity to highlight yourself and your work. Supply the hiring team with your cover letter, resume, references, and samples of the projects you’ve been proud to be a part of. Utilize all available space to provide their team with any and all the information they need to know about you and highlight why you are the right fit for the role.

Identify why they’re hiring for this role.

What is the reason that you’re being interviewed? Why is the company hiring someone in this specific role? Try to figure out the problem their team is looking to solve or the gap that they’re trying to fill. Once you understand the employer’s pain points, offer your insight on a solution. Are they in need of a manager to run their development team during an upcoming project? Show them how you would staff and manage a project of that size. It’s up to you to demonstrate how you can help their company by thoughtfully approaching some of their key challenges head-on.

Show your skills in action.

Think about how your skillset can benefit their company. As you’re doing research before the interview, review the work they’ve already done and identify areas where you can be a key player. For example, are you a developer? Show off your deep expertise by looking at how their website is coded, pinpoint errors, and if asked, be prepared to offer thoughtful feedback. This isn’t your chance to ask for a job or a favor—this is a chance to establish a relationship with the company and make an impact. If they’re open to it, offer to share your knowledge, industry insights, and constructive feedback. By going above and beyond what other candidates are bringing to the table, you’re sure to impress the hiring team with your hard work and insights.

Learn from what others are doing.

What are other candidates doing during their job hunt? Find out how your peers or competitors are approaching the interview process to see if there’s a new tactic you could try. In our experience, candidates that have been the most successful have all worked hard to differentiate themselves. Tap into your network to glean inspiration from other job seekers by attending meetup groups like Get Hired or IMA PDX. Listen to their stories and find out what’s working, what’s not, and what can you learn from their experiences.

Leave behind a brag book­.

Delight the hiring team in your interview by leaving behind an impressive portfolio they can reflect on after you leave the room. Before your interview, assemble a small, professional packet that includes a clean resume, a snapshot of the projects you’ve been a part of, and your cover letter. Be sure to include the accomplishments that you’re most proud of like awards, certifications, LinkedIn recommendations or work samples (like excerpts from a published article you wrote). Taking these extra steps creates a memorable experience for the hiring team, even after the interview is over. The effort shows their team that this is important to you and you’re invested in working with them. Stay top-of-mind by reminding the team of your enthusiasm with a perfectly crafted follow-up email.



Best of luck out there!­

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client resources


Tips for Hiring Out-of-State Candidates

May 9, 2019
Exelz Staffing
Client Resources

In this competitive employment market, you already know how tough it is to find the best talent for your company. Low unemployment rates and a shrunken candidate pool make the hiring hunt even harder. Houston-metro’s unemployment rate is currently at 4%, and the availability of tech talent is even lower. Talented candidates are being heavily pursued and are likely on many recruiters’ target contact lists. They are receiving constant shoulder taps for lunch and coffee meetings, and their email boxes are overloading with job solicitations, especially if they’ve posted their resume online. Now more than ever, hiring requires looking for talent outside of your local community. Companies must expand their reach and start connecting with job seekers across the US.

Working with candidates outside of your region presents a whole new set of hiring challenges. How do you ensure that potential new hires are serious about making the move to your city? How can you successfully vet and land out-of-state candidates at your company?

According to Clinton Brown, the VP of Executive Leadership Solutions, there are three key factors that can influence whether an out-of-town candidate accepts or declines an offer: salary, timing, and lifestyle. At VanderHouwen, we know these topics should be top-of-mind when vetting potential candidates for our clients and they are key to creating a positive partnership. When it comes to landing talent from out-of-state, consider these four recruiter-approved tips:

Recognize their motivations.

Why does your prospective candidate want to pack up their life and make the big move? As a hiring manager, it’s important to make the effort to understand why a job seeker is interested in moving and to gauge their level of determination. Often times, you can begin to uncover these motivations through the common interview questions around their previous work history, life goals, and career plans. Consider how they address any of the following questions in your conversations with them:

• Are they interested in your city specifically, or open to moving to different states or regions?

• Have they had experience working or living in this city before?

• Do their long-term goals align with some of the trends your city has to offer? Are they seeking specific up-and-coming organizations?

• Do they have any familiar ties to the new location, like an alma mater or old friends?

Be transparent about your organization’s salary and benefits package.

If you’re looking to diversify your talent pool and attract quality applicants from new locations, it’s important to be transparent early in the conversation about what your company has to offer. Share how the local cost of living affects your employees’ salaries. Highlight the company-wide benefits you offer and how they stack up to other businesses in the area. Don’t forget to talk about the perks that your organization has to offer that make your employees’ lives easier, like on-site parking, stipends for their cell phone bill, a bike room in the office space, or your convenient location right on public transportation routes. These are unique bonuses to highlight that are tailored to your specific location, city, and work culture!

Consider a relocation package.

Offering a relocation package can be a great way to help motivate a candidate to accept your job offer and show your support through this big life transition. While it may be common for larger businesses to offer new employees the perk of a moving company, transportation, or temporary housing, work with your team to define what relocation incentives make sense for your company size and culture. Consider offering a stipend to help cover some of the moving costs, paying for bus passes or travel costs for the first couple of months. Partner with your local realtor for a complimentary house-hunting trip around your city’s neighborhoods.

Offer them support beyond the role.

Moving isn’t easy, especially across state lines. Accepting a new role in a new city is a big step and many people can’t relocate on a whim— with so many logistics including making arrangements to leave their current location while securing a place to live in a new city, meeting new people in the community, and finding the best commute to work, it may be easy to feel overwhelmed. Show candidates your support and set them up for success in their new city even before they accept the position by offering them a suite of helpful resources. Not only will it help alleviate the stress of moving, but it will allow them to start visualizing what living and working in your city could look like.

• Send them a welcome packet including resources, local meetups, and information about the city.

• If they’ve flown in for the interview, plan a tour to share your first-hand knowledge and show them what your city has to offer including restaurants, shopping areas, and more.

• In the interview process, introduce them to someone within your company that has also relocated, and encourage them to reach out to them as a source for advice and feedback.

• Provide them with a list of resources to help facilitate their move, like banks and credit unions, utility companies, pet laws, daycares, and more.

Talk about the transition.

The final interviews are a great time to start discussing what their transition plan could look like. Consider how you can support each other during this process. Be flexible to accommodate their needs while clearly defining your expectations. Keep in mind that the move can take up to four weeks and allowing your new employee some time to adjust to their new city will decrease the feeling of displacement. Can they work remotely for a few weeks while they unpack? Could they start immediately but with a three-day week to leave extra time to settle in? Work together to start co-creating a transition plan that will benefit both your timeline and your new employee’s adjustment period. Talking through these details will start to bring the transition to life!