Out to impress?
Job seekers have resorted to some very ‘creative’ tactics to entice me to read their CV. One sent a Kit Kat with the note ‘Take a break...while reading my CV!’, while another posted a pair of sunglasses to ‘wear while reading my CV so you are not blinded by my talent!’ One candidate even delivered a dozen cupcakes with a picture of their face on each one. Though amusing, these efforts were futile. While they may be effective in more artistic environments, such strategies do not work within HR. There are many phases of the recruitment process in which you need to impress. And there are a lot of candidates out there right now, but what percentage are HR stars? Very few. And every employer wants one.
Shape up your CV
Is it results-orientated? Listing your duties and responsibilities is great, but what have you achieved? Can you demonstrate the impact you’ve made in your roles? You must be able to measure your success – quantitatively or qualitatively. If you’ve not made an impact in your role, what have you been doing? On top of this, is it well constructed, well presented and demonstrative of your leading-edge experience?
It’s important to ensure you know the role the recruiter is referring to when they call. Make a personal log of each application – “which role is it? I have applied for so many” is not an impressive opening line. Expand on your experience in key areas and provide clear examples, applying key successes and outcomes. On paper you appear to have great potential, but this call will allow you to prove yourself – be prepared, engaging, knowledgeable, on the ball, co-operative, enthusiastic and successful.
What does an HR star look like to businesses? Instantly credible, tenacious, politically and commercially savvy, robust, versatile, pragmatic, able to cope in fast-paced and ambiguous environments, and an effective relationship builder. When it comes to the face-to-face interview with the recruiter, many of these characteristics are assumed before introductions have even been made.
An HR star is immaculate. You don’t have to be donning a twin set and pearls but you will always be ready to face the board. Walk in the room with self-belief and conviction. Be warm and approachable, but cut to the chase. During this interview, talk through challenging situations with sensitivity, demonstrate how you’ve made meaningful contributions articulately and provide scenario examples succinctly, describing the situation, the objective, what you did and the outcome. Apply your contribution to the overall commercial strategy. Be engaging, fluid, innovative and insightful.
When the end goal – meeting the employer – is in sight, the HR star is prepared to deliver all of this and more. This stage further challenges their technical capabilities, breadth of knowledge, style and approach, commercial acumen and ability to translate across a spectrum of diversity. You have to be prepared and know everything about the organisation: financials, branding, market presence, competitors, challenges. An HR star is like a four-leaf clover – you have to search hard for it, but when you find one you know good things are going to happen.
Consider your Is
- Impact – what has it been? Have you clearly demonstrated it?
- Immaculate – are you? Both on paper and in person?
- Inspiration – who and what have you inspired? What has been your legacy?
- Innovation – have you demonstrated leading-edge thinking? Have you married best practice with creativity?
- Insights – can you exhibit perceptiveness and intuition in complex situations?