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How I Made It

Recruitment Uncovered: 5 lessons I learnt working as a graduate recruiter in the city How I Made It

Recruitment Uncovered: 5 lessons I learnt working as a graduate recruiter in the city
Photo by Alejandro Escamilla on Unsplash

After 8 years working in HR and graduate recruitment, Hannah Salton’s knowledge of recruitment processes is extensive. In early 2017 Hannah used her experience from both the professional services and legal industry to set up her own coaching and consulting business. Here, Hannah combines her knowledge of what employers look for in their hires, along with her experience of coaching young professionals, to share her 5 top tips for today’s job seekers.


1. Don’t let competition put you off applying

One of the most common questions students ask when considering applying to a company is “how many applications do you receive?” I always wondered what was behind the question. Was the asker hoping to make a scientific calculation about his or her overall odds of securing a job, based on application numbers? I can understand why they would want to do this – but ultimately, I don’t believe knowing the answer to this question helps an individual. Graduate schemes are competitive to get onto – but someone has to get the job. It’s easy to forgot the amount of poor applications that are received, so don’t let the numbers put you off! Decide where you want to work and pour all your effort into submitting the best application you possibly can.

2. Demonstrate passion and commitment by interacting with your industry

Make sure you research and interact with your industries and employers of choice as much as you can. Engage in conversations online or in person and form opinions and views on the commercial context around your industry. Attend careers fairs, presentations, online chats and webinars to get to know people’s opinions about the challenges and opportunities in your chosen industry. Many technical skills can be developed and taught on graduate programmes, but a genuine interest and commitment goes a long way to succeeding in recruitment processes.

3.You don’t need industry experience to land a graduate job

Relevant work experience is great if you can get it, but recruiters recognise how hard it can be to get internships and professional work experience. There are many other ways to develop the transferable skills that employers look for throughout recruitment processes. Traditional, non-industry specific work experience is a great example of this – you can learn a lot about dealing with difficult customers working in a busy restaurant. Reflect as well on the skills you have developed through voluntary work or leading a university society, and think about how these skills can translate to a business context.

4.Practice and preparation are your secret weapon

Preparation and practice have a huge impact on how well you perform at interview. Spend time reading as much information about the selection process before attending an interview or assessment centre. Sometimes there will be pre-reading, or briefing videos to watch. I have seen candidates show up to assessment centres without the requested pre-prepared presentation – it’s an unnecessary stress that’s completely avoidable. It’s also really important to get comfortable talking about your skills and experience – and highlighting how these make you a great match for the job.

5.Back up what you’re saying with specific examples and statistics

Candidates are often quite good at describing what they have done in lots of detail, without sharing any solid or specific examples. If you are saying that you’re passionate about HR in an interview, give an explanation or demonstration of this. Are you a member of any societies or networks? Do you have any work experience that backs this claim up? If you are saying you’re a great leader, how can you show this? Have you led a team through your charity work? Or perhaps you’ve attended a leadership event or conference? Whatever you’re saying, give clear, specific examples to show you’re not just dropping in buzz words to look good.

Hannah Salton is a career coach who helps high-potential professionals create meaningful careers that they love. For more information visit www.hannahsalton.co.uk or get in touch with any questions at hello@hannahsalton.co.uk

 

By Hannah Salton

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