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Survey Reveals Actions Job Seekers Have Taken to Impress Employers

MENLO PARK, Calif., Oct. 16, 2012  -- Sometimes it's the little things that get job seekers noticed by employers, a new OfficeTeam survey suggests. Human resources (HR) managers were asked to recount the most impressive action they have seen or heard an individual take to try to land a position. Here are some of their responses:

  • "An applicant walked in with coffee and donuts, and her resume underneath."
  • "I've had someone outline what he planned to do for the company in his first six months."
  • "One job seeker sent a handmade get well card when she heard the hiring manager was under the weather."
  • "I've had people offer to work for free."
  • "I recall someone who travelled a great distance just to be interviewed."
  • "One applicant sent a gift and an invitation to coffee."
  • "We had a candidate who contacted our board of directors to try to make his case for being hired."

The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 650 HR managers at companies with 20 or more employees in the United States and Canada. 

Some job seekers did a little show and tell:

  • "I recall applicants who have impressed me with their overall marketing approach. A few have sent in fancy CDs that contained a video message explaining why they should get the job."
  • "Someone applying for a position as a car detailer brought in his own vehicle to demonstrate his skills."
  • "I was impressed by a candidate who prepared an elaborate online portfolio and presentation."
  • "One woman showed up with, literally, a suitcase full of binders containing letters of reference, certificates of achievement and other accolades."
  • "A job seeker brought in a performance review from his past employer."
  • "The most impressive thing to me is a creative resume."

There were professionals who shined by going back to basics:

  • "One applicant explained what he knew about our company. I was very impressed with his knowledge and research."
  • "I had a follow-up email from a candidate immediately after our meeting."
  • "I liked the way one job seeker explained his skills in a way that correlated directly to what we needed for the position."
  • "A candidate gave me a thank-you note right after the interview."
  • "One woman didn't just recite her skills -- she provided many examples of her work."
  • "The candidates I recall most are the ones who were persistent in calling to make sure they got the position."
  • "An entry-level job applicant arrived for the interview in a three-piece suit."
  • "I am impressed when a job seeker arrives on time and is well-dressed. It's that simple."

And then sometimes employers just want the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth:

  • "The most impressive thing to me in any applicant is honesty."

"Extreme tactics aren't always the best way to stand out with hiring managers. Often, perfecting job-search basics can get you noticed," said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. "There is much to be said about showing up on time for interviews, dressing in professional attire and doing your homework."

OfficeTeam offers the following tips for taking job-search basics to the next level:

Ordinary

Extraordinary

Creating a flawless resume

Regularly updating your profile on networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook, and creating a professional website showcasing your expertise, qualifications and work samples

Researching the company

Using your findings to discuss the value you bring, particularly your ability to help them address current needs

Talking about your past experience

Providing specific examples of how you made a positive difference in previous roles and saved organizations time and money

Preparing a list of questions

In advance of the interview, asking the hiring manager to identify a challenge the company is facing and then bringing your proposed solutions to discuss during the meeting

Sending a thank-you note

Delivering a thank-you message or pertinent news article within hours after the interview that builds on your conversation and reinforces why you're the best person for the job

About OfficeTeam

OfficeTeam is the nation's leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals. The company has more than 315 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at www.officeteam.com


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