Many candidates claim to be skilled at communicating when asked to identify their strengths and yet in our experience of recruiting, this can often seem less than accurate!
Here we look at simple ways you can create a positive impact at all stages of a graduate recruitment process.
Remember that good communication should not be restricted to the scheduled interview – you are likely to have many opportunities with your ability to communicate well before and after this.
Let’s look at the most common parts of a graduate interview process first….
Be selective about the roles you apply for – avoid creating a high volume of poorly crafted applications in favour of investing time in fewer quality applications that are more likely to stand out to graduate recruiters. Your ability to select what is most suitable/relevant/important to you is a valuable skill.
The importance of preparation can’t be under-estimated. You must prepare what you want to say but also how you want to say it.
Practice articulating your points out loud – your points should be clear, concise yet comprehensive, and positive in tone. Importantly, each answer should say something about you to the interviewer that will help build a positive and accurate impression of you, your suitability, your capabilities and your potential.
The Assessment Centre:
Often your last chance to make an impact and inform a company’s hiring decision-making process, the assessment centre is your opportunity to demonstrate your ability to engage on a 1-2-1 and group level with a variety of people.
Here, physical, as well as verbal, signals play an important role in communication; a strong handshake, eye contact, a smile, physical openness and a sense of alertness can position you as an individual capable of succeeding in a professional environment. Futhermore, engaging others in conversation and asking considered questions can suggest a level of awareness and maturity, and can do much to increase your visibility among assessors.
There are of course other points in the candidate recruitment process that demand communication; a phone call to schedule an interview or ask a question, an email to confirm a decision or appointment etc. Do not underestimate the value of these brief points of contact in building others’ perceptions of you as a candidate.
A well-written, timely and action-orientated email can prove to a recruiter you are able to manage your commitments; a friendly phone call can build a relationship with someone who may have influence over your progress.
- Record a voicemail message that you’d be happy for a prospective employer to listen to
- Listen to voicemails, and when returning a call ask for the person who left you the message
- Introduce yourself (first and last names!) when calling a member of the recruitment team
- Operate with a level of maturity and transparency. For example, tell us if you’d like us to withdraw your application. A quick phone call to explain your decision and your reasons (if you’re happy to share) leaves a positive impression of you and can help the recruiting team build insight into their work.
- Listen – to what’s being said to avoid miscommunication
- Answer the phone if you are half asleep/in the bath/unable to speak
- Call an unknown number following a missed call and start the conversation with, “you just called me” it’s not very polite!
- Fail to leave your name or number when leaving a voicemail for a recruiter (it happens!)
- Use text ‘speak’ or slang in any communications with a potential employer of their representatives – no “Thx” in an email or addressing anyone as “mate”, “fella” or “pal”!
Our guidance on effective communication above is far from exhaustive and there are lots of sources out there that can further inform how you connect with others. A quick search will deliver endless tips and advice on how to communicate more effectively in all areas of your life.
Written by Nathan Doig; Senior Consultant at Futureboard