When you’re applying for a job, you don’t just want to get noticed, you want to stand out as the best applicant the hiring manager has ever seen. According to a new CareerBuilder survey, candidates are doing some creative and crazy things, but are they really helping them get a job?
The national online survey was conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder by Harris Poll between May 11 and June 7, 2016, and included more than 2,300 full-time, U.S. hiring and human resources managers across industries and company sizes.
“Candidates are realizing that an extraordinary cover letter and resume with strong references aren’t enough, that if you really want the gig, you have to stand out from the competition,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer for CareerBuilder. “Unfortunately, what many aren’t realizing is that the catch is making sure you do that in a professional, respectful way.”
Doing Whatever It Takes
Hiring managers gave the following examples of unusual tactics job seekers used to stand out, not always for the right reasons:
1. Candidate had a priest contact the hiring manager and ask for candidate to be hired.
2. Candidate bought a first class upgrade to sit next to hiring manager on a transatlantic flight.
3. During the month of October, candidate came dressed in a costume for Halloween.
4. Candidate’s wife made homemade lavender soap bars for the hiring manager as a thank you for taking the time to interview the candidate.
5. Candidate asked hiring manager to share an ice cream cone.
6. Candidate sent a pair of embroidered socks with a note saying he would knock the company’s socks off if hired.
7. Candidate showed up in his camp counselor attire with some of the children from the camp he worked for to show his leadership capabilities.
8. Candidate sent a shoe with a flower in it as a thank you after the interview. The note said: “Trying to get my foot in the door.”
9. Candidate mailed hiring manager money in an envelope.
10. Candidate arrived to interview in a white limousine, an hour early, dressed in a three-piece suit. The open position was middle-wage and had a required dress code of khakis, company button-down and black shoes.
11. Candidate kissed hiring manager.
12. Candidate gave hiring manager a book on a subject he knew candidate manager enjoyed.
13. Candidate wore a tie that had the name of the company he was interviewing with on it.
Five Ways to Stand Out, The Right Way
To up your chances of getting hired, it comes down to providing evidence that you are the ideal fit. Haefner offers the following ways to stand out:
- Don’t forget the past: Giving a few examples of how your past experience is transferrable shows that you’ve thought through how you would fit in to the organization.
- Use social media to your advantage: Tweeting, blogging and commenting about things you know builds up your credibility online. When an employer searches your name after an interview, you want them to find a knowledgeable individual who can fit well into their company.
- Ask questions: Be sure to prepare a few good questions of your own. Want to know what the corporate culture is like? Are you curious about opportunities to advance? Your questions communicate to your interviewer what’s most important to you. They can also position you as a solid candidate for the role and set you apart from the competition.
- Showcase your numbers: Use as many facts and figures as you can when promoting yourself. How many people were impacted by your work? By what percentage did you exceed your goals?
- Send a note: If you feel the interview has gone well and you want to continue pursuing the opportunity, let the interviewer know. Tell him or her that you’ve enjoyed the interview; you believe you can thrive in the role, and you are interested in exploring the next step.
The nationwide survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,367 hiring and human resource managers ages 18 and over (employed full-time, not self-employed) between May 11 and June 7, 2016. With a pure probability sample of 2,367, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 2.01 percentage points, respectively.
As the global leader in human capital solutions, CareerBuilder specializes in cutting-edge HR software as a service to help companies with every step of the recruitment process from acquire to hire. CareerBuilder works with top employers across industries, providing job distribution, sourcing, workflow, CRM, data and analytics in one pre-hire platform. It also operates leading job sites around the world. Owned by TEGNA Inc. (NYSE:TGNA), Tribune Media (NYSE:TRCO) and McClatchy (NYSE:MNI), CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, South America, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit www.careerbuilder.com.
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