How job candidates can make it past the recruitment agent

Have you ever had the experience of applying for a great job that you thought you were a good match for. Then you wait for the call that never comes, until you realize you’re not even going to get a rejection letter?

Recruitment consultants are the poor souls that have to sift through a mountain of job applications. If your job application doesn’t speak to them then your resume will be filed in the circular file receptacle faster than a sip of coffee. Recruitment consultants have years of practice filtering resumes so they are the best experts to find out how to make a successful job application.

Job application advice from the source

The internet is full of job application advice. To find out what really matters, I’ve interviewed experienced recruiters. What’s great about what I’ve found is that you can easily action their recommendations starting today.

Make it Personal and Relevant

Interview advice from professional recruiters jpeg

Paul Slezak has 20 years of recruitment industry experience. Imagine how many job applications he’s seen. He’s also co-founder of RecruitLoop, a market place for companies to find recruitment agents to work on an hourly basis. “The sort of things that annoy me when dealing with a candidate - and probably means they won't get an interview” are:

  1. "Dear Sir / Madam" or "To Whom it may Concern" when my name is Paul and is clearly listed in the ad.
  2. Not having any relevance to my role anywhere in their CV. In other words they just sent me the same CV they sent to NASA, Coles Myer, and ANZ!
  3. Candidates who simply attach a CV to an email with no introduction. Or those who just apply via a job board with no tailored message outlining why they feel they are suitable for the job. A CV cover letter is a key element for a successful job application. Get the best CV cover letter tips in our article "How to Write a Winning CV".
  4. When my ad says "Only candidates meeting the strict criteria outlined above will be contacted as part of the shortlisting process." And they call to see why I haven't called them. I STILL don't call then!
  5. When they just have their responsibilities listed on the CV and no achievements or accomplishments.

Darren Saul – Another Perspective

job interview advice and tips from professional recruiters

Darren Saul is the principal at Saul Recruitment and you can also find him on the RecruitLoop platform. Darren is an expert in the IT support & infrastructure areas.  In these areas it’s challenging to find the best talent. So Darren’s candidate-screening is razor sharp.

The difference between chasing and being chased

Darren contributed a different perspective. I really like it because it’s about self-development. And if you are reading this article you’re also the sort of person that likes working out how to do things in a better way. I would summarize his recommendations as follows: If you want to be sought out in the job market, instead of chasing jobs. Work out what it is that companies want and develop yourself in these area’s.

Being different

Darren has gone so far as to write a guide called “Being Different – A Job Seekers Guide to Success in the New World.” This is available on his website. In this guide he talks about the importance of Personal Branding, Resume’s, Networking, Engaging your Audience and Maintaining a Positive Attitude.

Training Interview Skills

A highlight that really stood out for me was Real Interview Preparation. Because as he quite rightly says: “The job interview is by far the most important spoke of the recruitment process… Yet there are still so many interviewees not having the slightest idea how to perform during them.” This is why I think a little interview training goes a long way.

Using the Power of Relationships

Darren has some other gems. He says that tech depersonalizes the job search process. Just because cut and paste makes it easy to fire off multiple job applications doesn’t mean that it works. Change the way you engage with recruiters to build real relationships.  When you combine this with self-development you will be someone who the recruiter wants to talk to and you will take back control of the recruitment process.


What strikes me about all this is that a lot of people spend a lot of time working on their resume’s. But if you don’t spend a little time on the finishing touches like writing a personal message, your resume will never be seen. It doesn’t matter how good you are at answering interview questions if you never make it to the interview in the first place! 


What's your experience with recruitment consultants? Do you have any comments, questions, tips or suggestions? Help the rest of us out by sharing in the comments below.

The Interview Success Series

This is part of the Interview Success Series. This series covers how job seekers can get the job they want. This series contains inside information from experienced recruiters.

Topics Include: 

·         How to interview better,

·         Resume Assistance,

·         Interview Questions and Answers,

·         Interview Mistakes to avoid and more…

Interview Preparation Coaching: 

Are you a job seeker about to interview? Find out how to prepare for your interview here.

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