The Truth About What Recruiters Really Look For

Between all the competition, application processes and networking, job searching is tough. There’s tons of advice out there about what you should include in your resume, what to say in your cover letter and how to act in an interview, but it can be hard to know what recruiters are really looking for in a candidate. Check out these tips for what to focus on when seeking out your dream career.

Pay Attention to Detail

Some details on your resume may seem insignificant, but they can make all the difference to a hiring manager. For example, if your current job title doesn’t relate to the position you’re applying for, it’s a red flag.

“If you’re switching career fields, your previous experience is important, but you want to make sure the most relevant information is toward the top of your resume,” says Jesika Jorgenson, director of career services for Globe University.

This can include your education, an internship or any related volunteer experience in the industry.

Jorgenson also recommends that you tailor your resume to each position. If you’re applying for many different jobs, be careful to change all related information in your resume and cover letter, including job title, company name and the person to whom they are addressed. Jorgenson says this is a common mistake that can be detrimental.

“Have someone else read your documents to make sure there are no errors,” she says. “It’s hard to remove yourself when you’ve been looking at them for hours, so it doesn’t hurt to have another set of eyes look them over.”

Make a Good First Impression

At the interview, your first impression is crucial. Recruiters will notice if you’re punctual, dressed appropriately and eager to be there. Jorgenson says this starts even before you sit down with the interviewer.

“Your first impression starts as soon as you walk in the door,” she explains. “How you interact with the person at the front desk or others who walk by you while you wait is all taken into account.”

Your eye contact and handshake are also little things that can affect what the interviewer thinks of you.

“If you’re in the room before the interviewer, stand up, look them in the eye and shake their hand when they enter,” Jorgenson says.

Your attitude makes a big impact, too.

“Enthusiasm is really important,” Jorgenson says. “You have to show interest in the position you’re interviewing for, even if you’re months into your job search. If you don’t seem really invested, it can hurt you.”

Follow Up

Following up after an interview is vital, but Jorgenson says it can be hard to know how, because there are no set rules. One thing you must do, however, is thank the hiring manager for their time.

“You’d be surprised to know how many candidates don’t send a thank-you note,” Jorgenson says. “The vast majority don’t, so be sure to send one after the interview to make yourself stand out, even if it’s just a quick email.”

Waiting to hear back from a company after an interview can seem like torture, and although you should follow up, Jorgenson warns about being too pushy.

“To put you at ease right away, ask about the hiring timeline at the end of the interview,” she suggests. “If you’ve sent a thank-you and still haven’t heard anything after that date passes, I would say it’s okay to then follow up again.”

It’s hard to know what recruiters are really looking for in a job candidate. If you pay attention to the details, make a good first impression and follow up appropriately, you’ll have a better chance at landing the position. To learn more about Globe University and career support services visit