How to stand out as a candidate

I talk to a lot of candidates and I hear their frustration.  I know it sucks looking for a job.  Guess what?  It sucks looking for employees too.  For those of us that are in recruiting for the right reasons it is painful.  I truly want to find someone for each position that will be happy and successful in that position.  I want each employee to be excited about coming to work AND I want them to positively impact our customers, their coworkers and our bottom line.  But sometimes I need some convincing that you will do that.

Knowledge, skill and ability tells me you CAN do it.  Drive tells me you WILL do it.

Looking at a resume primarily tells me about your KSAs; knowledge, skills and abilities.  Remember, that is CAN you do the job.  Yes, it can also tell me a little bit more but primarily it just tells me what you have done in the past.  A resume SUCKS at telling me about your potential.  I think your PASSION and DRIVE tell me about your potential.  Sure, your resume can TELL me what you are passionate about, but guess what?  Some people lie on their resume.  I know, I know, not you… it is those OTHER people ruining it for you.  I need you to SHOW me your passion and drive.

It is notable to mention that without a good resume you often times do not get a chance to show your passion and drive so don’t skip the basics.  Your resume, Facebook page, website or tweets ARE you until we meet you, so be sure they ALL reflect the best you.

You talk the talk but do you walk the walk?

So, what do I mean when I say passion and drive?  I want a candidate that WANTS the position.  I often ask candidates “Why do you want this position and to work for us?”  One of my biggest turn-offs in is when they answer “I have done it before” or “I know I can do it” or “I like your benefits package.”  You may be thinking “What’s wrong with those answers?”  Let’s change your perspective…

What if someone asks you out on a date and you ask them “Why do you want to go out with me?”  To which they answer one of the following:

  1. I like girls and you are a girl.
  2. I need to take a date to a wedding and I figured you would say yes.
  3. I know you make a lot of money and I like money.

Not getting the warm fuzzies?  Neither is the recruiter or hiring manager.  We want to hear your passion is for what the position entails.  I want to hear your desire for the position.  If you are applying for a position in customer service tell me about how you like the challenge of defusing an upset customer.  Or if the position is in management that you like finding out what makes your people tick and how to help them realize their potential.

But what about before you even talk to someone?  How do you get their attention?  How do you SHOW them your drive and passion?  I will talk about this on Wednesday…

You must be patiently persistent.


Ambition is the path to success.  Persistence is the vehicle your arrive in.
Bill Bradley

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