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How to impress recruiters and get the job

How to impress recruiters

The problem with the hiring process is that it’s nearly impossible to do it right without humans involved at any stage. Recruiters are trained to pick out the best candidates from massive pools of talent and are equipped with the tools needed to make the right choices. So, step one would be figuring out how to impress a recruiter.

Even though it may sound daunting, recruiters are people after all—and impressing people requires just enough effort and dedication on your part. Capital Placement CEO Vinay and Global Partnerships Manager Mandri contributed their insights drawn from their own recruitment experiences for this conversation. 

What NOT to do

Before we get into what it takes to impress a recruiter, let’s talk about what you shouldn’t do during your job hunt process. We call them ‘hiring icks’ and they are warning signs that might make recruiters think twice about you. Firstly, we want to avoid these red flags to make sure we’re putting our best foot forward.

Let’s break down some common mistakes to avoid during the job hunt process and how to improve on them.

Not reaching out the right way

If you’re sending out messages or emails that are poorly written or come off as impolite, you could be damaging your chances at the get-go. Additionally, poor grammar or spelling, not emailing the right individual, not reading the job description—all of these reflect poorly on your professionalism and might put off recruiters. 

So, what can you do to reach out to recruiters the right way? You can start by taking the time to craft your messages carefully. Pay attention to things like spelling, grammar, and formatting. Make sure you’ve identified the right person and that you’re not sending an unsolicited email to some poor employee who has to empty their inbox every three days for this reason.

Acknowledge the recruiter’s time and efforts by being polite and professional in your communication. There’s very little to be gained from being rude—even if you’re rightfully upset. Companies tend to take note and keep records of such behaviour. Instead, if you need anything clarified or are awaiting a follow-up, send over a politely-worded email and you’ll find your efforts rewarded.

Not researching the company

Imagine going into an interview and not knowing anything about the company you’re applying to! Without a doubt, this is a major red flag for recruiters. It shows a lack of interest as well as a lack of preparation. 

Before you go for an interview, do your homework. Research the company thoroughly and check its website, LinkedIn and social media. Learn about its mission, values, products, and recent developments. 

Familiarise yourself with the names of the founders or other individuals of note—or you may find yourself in an awkward position later. Take some time to read a few PR posts and job listings to understand what the company values, what it’s proud of and what buzzwords are used most frequently. 

Use this information to tailor your communication and show that you understand and align with the company’s goals. 

An additional benefit of doing such in-depth research is that it will inevitably help you too! It’s very important to vet a company before you consider it, and it could save you a lot of time, effort and heartbreak down the road.

Poor production value

First impressions matter—even in virtual interactions. Low-quality production, like bad lighting or unclear audio, can detract from your message and professionalism. 

If you’re getting on a virtual call or need to record a one-way interview, your set-up needs to be clean and clutter-free. Make sure you have proper lighting, clear audio, and a professional background in advance. Pay attention to your appearance and surroundings to present yourself in the best possible light. 

Additionally, if you’re working remotely, it’ll help to invest in good-quality equipment for virtual interactions—it doesn’t have to be expensive! Decent mics and clip-on lights can be found on Amazon and other sites at a relatively low cost. 

Poor body language and eye contact

Non-verbal cues, like body language and eye contact, speak volumes during job interviews. Avoiding eye contact or looking nervous can make recruiters think you’re not confident or interested in the job. 

It’s important to practice maintaining good posture, making eye contact, and using open body language to convey confidence and engagement. You can try practising in front of a mirror or with a friend and record the process. Reviewing the footage will help you pinpoint issues you otherwise wouldn’t notice.

Using scripted answers

Scripted answers can be your safety net—or a trap! Recruiters can usually tell when you’re giving rehearsed or scripted answers during interviews, and it can be a turn-off.

But there’s a way to do it right. Instead of memorising lengthy sentences and elaborate responses, try this. Take a look at common interview questions and break them down by the components. What is the subject matter, what is the focal point, and what is the interviewer expecting to gauge from these questions?

Focus on understanding your experiences and prepare key talking points. List them out as brief bullet points which will help you remain flexible. This allows you to adapt your answers based on the specific questions asked. Engage in genuine conversations with the interviewer/s to showcase your personality and suitability for the role. Keep in mind that this requires listening carefully to what they’re saying!

The best tool that’ll help you here is the STAR Method, which helps you accurately and efficiently respond to interview questions.

Are ‘hiring icks’ objective?

For the most part, hiring icks are a combination of both—but we’ll admit that the term itself isn’t a very pleasant one. There are some negative behaviours or qualities that are objectively impossible to ignore. Some examples include falling asleep during an interview, being rude or not knowing what the company you’re interviewing at does. Others fall in the mid-range, like minor spelling errors.

At Capital Placement, when we’re interviewing candidates, we want to make sure we’re making decisions based on facts and what’s best for the employer and the candidate. To separate the subjective from the objective, there are several steps recruiters often take.

Separating preferences from objective evaluation

Firstly, we must recognise that we all have biases—preferences or assumptions that can influence decisions without us even realising it. These biases might come from our upbringing, our experiences, or even just the culture around us. So, recruiters make a conscious effort to be aware of these biases and not let them sway their decisions.

The focus is on what the job actually requires, and that means looking at the specific skills, qualifications, and experience that are needed to do the job well. Recruiters compare the requirements for the position and evaluate candidates based on how well they meet those requirements.

They also gather as much objective data as possible about candidates to help them make informed decisions. This might include things like test scores, work samples, or performance metrics from previous jobs. By relying on concrete data rather than subjective opinions, it’s possible to make more accurate assessments of candidates’ abilities and fit for the role.

To be consistent and fair in the evaluation process means using the same criteria and evaluation methods for all candidates and treating everyone equally. But inevitably the criteria and methods need to adapt and evolve with time as well as with the specific roles. 

Overall, standardising the approach reduces the risk of biases creeping in and ensures that each candidate has a fair chance to demonstrate their qualifications.

Usually, multiple relevant individuals, be it hiring managers, HR professionals, etc,—provide their input and feedback. This creates a more balanced view of each candidate and ensures that no single person’s biases dominate the decision-making process.

The final step is constantly reflecting on hiring practices and looking for ways to improve. That means regularly reviewing processes, seeking feedback from candidates and employees, and staying up-to-date on best practices in hiring and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

How to impress recruiters with ease

Now that we know the basics of what not to do during your job hunt, we can dive into how you can impress recruiters to land the job role of your dreams. Here’s how you can stand out and make a positive impression.

Be presentable

Earlier, we mentioned that first impressions matter. It’s essential to present yourself in the best possible light, not only so that you look well-put-together but also, you feel good in your skin. 

This means dressing appropriately for interviews and maintaining good grooming habits. When you look polished and put-together, it shows recruiters that you take the opportunity seriously and are committed to making a good impression.

If you’re on a video call, you should definitely clear up your background and reduce distractions. (Remember to look at the screen and direct your attention towards your interviewer, not the notes app!)

Good communication

Effective communication skills are key to impressing recruiters by giving them a glimpse of how you’ll communicate when you join the team. This includes not only how you speak but also how you listen. Speak clearly and confidently during interviews, and make sure to listen actively to what the interviewer is saying. Good communication shows recruiters that you can articulate your thoughts effectively and engage in meaningful conversations.

Exhibit positive body language

Being polite and maintaining positive body language can go a long way in making a good impression on recruiters. Smile, make eye contact, and offer a firm handshake when meeting interviewers. These small gestures convey professionalism and friendliness, which are qualities that recruiters appreciate in candidates.

They turn you from a closed-off stranger into a more open and readable candidate, which in turn invites the recruiter to mirror your attitude.

Reflect interest in the company

Before your interview, while you research the company, write down a few talking points/icebreakers. Did you notice the company won an award recently? Did they record sky-high profits? Whatever you find interesting, note it down and work it into the conversation.

This shows recruiters that you’re genuinely interested in the opportunity and have taken the initiative to learn more about the organisation. 

Prepare to answer difficult questions

Lastly, preparation is key to impressing recruiters during interviews. You already know to anticipate common interview questions, and the difficult questions tend to be the rarest. They often sneak up on you and catch you off guard. 

Behavioural questions, for example, can be a little messy to navigate but the STAR method can save the day here! Questions that may dip into your previous experiences would require you to pull up some numbers and hard facts to back them up. 

How many impressions did your posts make on average? What was the on-ground activation process like for that one campaign you did? Think about these instances and note down the vital information. Practice articulating your experiences, skills, and achievements clearly and concisely. It’ll help you beef up your answers by a lot!

Last but not least, remember, it’s all about showcasing your best self and demonstrating why you’re the perfect fit for the role. At the end of the day, you’re also looking for the perfect company for you. It works both ways!

If you want to kick your career off in 2024, book a call with us, and let’s talk about it. You can also subscribe to our newsletter for the latest career information, tips, and updates. (They’re both completely free!)



Kahless is a writer with a special interest in sociology. He spends much of his free time travelling, reading, writing, and stopping his cats from ripping apart everything he owns. It’s advised to bring along a strong cup of coffee (3 espresso shots minimum) when approaching him.

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