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From the mouths of recruiters – Part 2

In my last post, I shared great job seeking/job applicant advice from a few of Yoh’s talented recruiters.  Several themes materialized throughout the responses from these recruiters, including the utmost importance of a well-written resume, the need to network (which I might add is an activity that one should not stop once a new opportunity had been secured) and the need to spend time in preparation for interviews.  When it came to common mistakes that our recruiters often see with candidates, it was clear that not only the aforementioned preparation was lacking, but honesty (i.e. realistic commute times, desire for contract vs. permanent openings, etc.), punctuality and the ability to clearly articulate one’s skills as they apply to the position in discussion.  Independently, I had asked the recruiters about their pet peeves when working with candidates and the same themes resounded:

Question:  What is/are your pet peeve(s) when working with candidates?


  • Sloppy dress, the candidate should shine from head to toe including their shoes as a first impression always stays with the interviewer.  – Kathy Pavlick

  • Not being honest about the status of other interviews, recruiters know that you have other interviews so do not be afraid to let your recruiter know.   Also, not returning calls on a timely basis is a pet peeve.  – Lisa Flanagan

  • Definitely poor grammar and spelling errors are a pet peeve; I do not pass up candidates specifically for these errors, but it certainly weighs on my initial perception of them.  Also, if you are running late to an interview/meeting please call and let someone know.  Things happen beyond our control, I have much more faith in candidates who call 15 minutes early to tell me that they are running late, than those who just show up 15 minutes late with no advanced warning or explanation.   – Jennifer Andersen

  • Interrupting during a conversation and/or interview is frustrating and often prohibits the ability to effectively move through necessary questions or agenda.  Active listening is just as important as concisely and effectively answering questions.   – Liz Kane

  • Weak resumes (poor grammar, bad formatting, not highlighting relevant experience, etc.), being late to phone and in-person interviews, not being forthcoming and honest with recruiters about their current situation/what they are looking for in their next position, and not having references ready to go are pet peeves.   – Alexis Henderson

Question:  What soft skills do you feel are critical to a candidate’s success?


  • The candidate should have good listening skills as well as being able to share examples of how they interacted with others and their supervisors.  – Kathy Pavlick

  • Enthusiasm, confidence, the ability to talk about past experiences.   – Lisa Flanagan

  • Communication skills!   – Jen Andersen

  • Positivity.   – Liz Kane

  • I think the number one “soft skill” is a pleasant yet professional demeanor.  Even if a candidate is not the right fit for one particular job, being reliable and pleasant to work with will make them stick in my memory and I will be sure to call them when something else comes up.  – Alexis Henderson

Question:  What makes a candidate stand out from the rest of the competition?


  • A good example is one of my candidates who recently went on an interview fully prepared.  She impressed the client by knowing what the company was all about and even adding some ways in which she could help make the project she would be hired for go along more smoothly and quickly.  They hired her on the spot.   – Kathy Pavlick

  • Personality, being able to sell why you are a fit for the job as well as having researched the company for which one is interviewing.   – Lisa Flanagan

  • Candidates who follow through on requests (sending references, calling with feedback after an interview, completing the necessary paperwork, etc.) and doing so in a timely manner without the need for continual follow up requests.   – Jen Andersen

  • Researching the company for which they are interviewing so they can be truly invested and interested in the role and organization.  Also being able to demonstrate both how their skills align to the role for which they are interviewing as well as how the role will provide an opportunity for growth.   – Liz Kane

Question:  What other advice do you have for job applicants?


  • Adhere to the 24-hour rule of returning phone calls and allow the recruiter or hiring manager the same courtesy.  – Jen Andersen

  • Don’t get frustrated (this is easier said than done), but a recruiter will get back to you if you are a fit for the job.   There is a fine line between being aggressive and being assertive.   – Liz Kane

In reviewing all of the tips, advice and insight from our recruiters on how to be a top notch candidate, it is evident that the success of one’s job search is dependent on attention to detail, timely follow through, preparation and the ability to demonstrate honest and effective communication skills.  As always, if you have questions about your job search, let us know so we can continue to share the most relevant posts, advice and recommendations.


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