• 27 November 2013
  • Recruitment Room

Ensure the application is applied correctly!

Receiving an offer for one of my candidates as the first call of the day is not a bad way to start the week.  So you may think that’s my job done for that particular vacancy?

Well, let me tell you! Let’s not forget the guidance through the tricky resignation process; the anxious notice period deflecting any counter offers via clandestine lunch meetings; the reference and qualification checks and the tense start check call. I also have to update in excess of 400 applicants who responded to the vacancy. 

This led me to think about those people. That is a lot of people.   A lot of lives in which I have played a very small part.  Some lives I may change, although only one for the better!  But what made this candidate stand out from the crowd?  What did he have over all the others? 

Three words… a Tailored Relevant Application!

In today’s world of on-line job boards and social networks there are a vast amount of places to go to and view current opportunities. But I’ll tell you a secret; other people can see them too. Reviewing each individual application to create an initial long list and then whittling it down to a short-list for presentation to the client takes time. But the initial decision as to whether an application makes it to ‘stage two’ takes about 10 seconds! 

If certain criteria are not met, for example a required qualification being a pre-requisite, specific software experience stated as required or relevant industry experience listed as essential, you will find very quickly that your application has found its way into the ‘no’ folder. If the covering statement mentions the vacancy that you previously applied to then that is a sure sign that there is not a whole lot of care being taken in this application.

Your location should also be considered. If the vacancy is based in Southampton and you live in Ipswich, you should alleviate the concern of the recruiter or hiring manager that the job location is not an issue to you for whatever reason.  Think about a tailored, relevant application.

For this particular vacancy, 7 CV’s were sent to the client all of which were granted an interview which equates to just over 1.5% of the applications having the right mixture of experience, qualifications, systems experience and other requirement. Of course, there will be an element of flexibility but take note of what seems to be essential criteria for a successful application.

I hope the message is clear.

  • Take time with your applications tailoring the CV or covering letter to each specific vacancy
  • Ensure that you highlight essential or desired criteria either in the CV or via the covering letter not forgetting the required behaviours and competencies
  • Only apply to jobs that you are suited to.

Follow these simple rules and you will have a much better chance of standing out from the crowd.  I've got to go now and tell 453 candidates that they were unsuccessful in their application!


David Waddell is Managing Director of the Accountancy Division at Harvey John.

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