For any individual currently looking for their next role, understanding the different stages of the selection process, key stakeholders (who may be involved) and what each stage represents will help you to better position yourself and give yourself the best shot of landing your next role.
For many individuals, the first step in finding your next role comes by identifying suitable vacancies and applying for the most relevant ones. This in many instances may be through a job board or online application process.
Treat online applications as one of the most important stages in the process.
One mistake many job searchers make is to simply upload a generic CV, one that has not been tailored to the actual job being advertised. In fact, it is really important that you invest time tailoring your CV to the job you are applying for. To explain why, it is worth thinking of the online application as the first stage in getting onto the short list. Many larger organisations use automated systems that match key criteria and keywords in the job advert with those in your CV, and they often receive hundreds of applications so technology is employed in the decision making process on who to take forward. Ultimately, the more tailored your CV is to the job being advertised, the higher your chances of getting to the next stage. So look through the job advert, identify the key skills and experience they highlight and tailor your CV to include these before hitting send. And of course, don’t forget to check spelling and grammar!
Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date so recruiters can find you
In other instances, businesses will use a recruitment agency to find their most suitable candidate. Depending on the role, the recruitment agency may post a job online – in which case the above applies. Or they may conduct a search. As such, when thinking about your job search you need to make sure your online profile – LinkedIn – is also kept up to date. Recruiters use LinkedIn heavily to find suitable candidates for roles they may be recruiting for.
In both instances, hiring organisations will develop a shortlist of candidates they want to take forward to interview. First round interviews can sometimes take place with HR, who will look to better understand your skills, what you will bring to the role and of course general fit with the team and broader organisation. Likewise they can equally take place with the hiring manager.
Research, Research and Research some more
To best position yourself it is important to do your research about the company, to understand what they do, the culture and their strategy. If you are working with a recruiter, they should be able to provide you with insights to help you prepare. If you aren’t working with a recruitment agency, it is possible to find out this information online. And remember, always find out who will be interviewing you and research them too.
Senior selection processes take longer and involve more people
For senior roles, the process can look very different, and can be longer. Head hunters are often brought on board to find the right candidate. For example, the first stage may start with a conversation with key leaders in the business about the role, discussing the key long-term goals and objectives and how they see the role adding value. The next stage can be a shortlist, followed by interviews – which can be judged by a panel – and then of course psychometrics.
Values are as important as skills
For all professional roles, the second step of the selection process often includes determining your ability to do the role and your compatibility with the company culture and vision. Basically, this relates to what you will bring to the role and how you will fit in with colleagues and the organisation. Many hiring organisation may ask you to do a short presentation to structure the second interview and explore skills in more depth as well as your personal attributes.
It is well known that employees whose personal values align with the hiring organisation’s culture and values perform better and tend to stay longer in the company – but they also work better with others and are likely to develop a cohesive and productive work environment.
From your perspective, it is vital to choose the right company with the right culture – there is no point in applying for a business who doesn’t fit your values, drivers and long-term ambitions. You will end up wasting time and energy on your application.
Of course, corporate culture differs from company to company – even in the same industry – and may be influenced by factors such as history, values, founders’ personalities, and recent acquisitions. This is why doing your background research before making the decision to apply is crucial.