The best candidates are solutions, not lists of experience

Successful recruiting doesn’t happen on paper

Mon, July 14th, 16:20


When I was recruiting full-time, assignments would, wherever possible, start with a face-to-face meeting. If the client handed me a prepared job description I would turn it over and ask them to tell me about their business first. I didn’t doubt the quality of the job spec or the client’s ability to identify their needs; to do my job properly I needed to understand the business, the hiring manager and their staffing problem before I could think about providing a solution.

Understanding the employer’s mindset

Whenever any employer recruits a new member of staff, they do so to solve a problem within the business. Our job as recruiters is to really understand that problem and identify the staffing solution. You can’t do that by simply matching criteria on a job spec to that on a CV.

Understanding the employer’s mindset when they approach the recruitment process is just as important for potential candidates as it is for recruiters. Employers are looking for solutions to their problems, so you need to make sure that they see how you can be the person they are looking for.

Be a solution

When you prepare a CV or make an application, focus on the ways you have solved business problems and added value in the past. If you mention successes or refer to previous positions, highlight the ways your actions benefitted the business as a whole. Think of your CV as a sales document that isn’t just selling you as an employee, it’s also selling a business solution.

If you have prepared answers for competency-based questions for an interview, you have probably gone through a few examples of projects you have worked on already, how you influenced the outcome and what they meant for your employer. You’ll make yourself even more visibly employable if you include these in your CV and LinkedIn profile.

How do I make a difference?

In fact, you can extend it even further and apply the same theory to career search planning. Instead of trying to come up with job titles you want to get, focus on the problems you are best placed to solve and look for roles that allow you to make the most effective use of those skills. That will give you the perfect route towards not only the roles you want, but also the ones you are most likely to succeed in.

A really helpful question to ask yourself is, “what value will I add to this company?”

That is exactly the question that an employer will be asking when they consider you as a candidate. If you know how to answer it, you will make yourself a more attractive candidate and a more successful employee, no matter what it says on the job spec.

Looking for that perfect role? Find it on our Jobs Board.

Paul Bacon

The Irish Times