May 5, 2017
As the Talent Engagement Manager at a fast-growing agency, I’m continuously improving the ins and outs of how we recruit, interview, and hire. It’s virtually impossible to read through 200+ applications with a goal of sending an offer letter within 3-5 weeks from the official open date. So in an effort to be more efficient with my time, I incorporate ways to hack the system. Just as there is proper business etiquette, I argue the same is true when applying and interviewing for a job. Keep reading for five key dos and don’ts for all you job seekers, straight from the person assessing and interviewing you.
Do your research. As obvious as this may seem, it is vital that you research the organization or company. I can’t tell you how many times I receive cover letters or emails and the person writing me has no idea who Dagger is and what Dagger does. Conversely, I’m blown away by people who complete thorough research. I can tell when they ask detailed questions about specific case studies or client work or reference Instagram posts that date back to the beginning of Dagger time. Doing a deep dive into a company might also completely change your mind. Maybe you’re more of a cat person than a dog person. Perhaps you need less autonomy and more structure. Maybe you want to work at a bigger company. In all, researching is good for you. Do it.
Don’t assume. With that said, researching a company will only take you so far because there will be things that need clarifying. There’s an old saying that goes something like this: Don’t assume. It makes an ass out of you, not me. When interviewing, and truthfully at any stage of the interview process, be sure to ask questions if something is not clear. Never guess what your daily responsibilities might be or to whom you might report. Asking questions will serve you well by wholly understanding the company and the role so both you and I can make informed, sound decisions.
Do reach out to the right person. By determining the correct person to whom you are emailing, you are automatically doing your research. Sending an email to the wrong person significantly lessens your chance of being noticed. It’s science. If you send an email to one of the 40 account managers at a 150+ size company instead of the recruiter or even an HR employee, do you honestly think you will increase your chances of getting the job? If you can’t find a specific email, LinkedIn is your next best friend. Take the time and figure out who to contact.
Don’t give up. Like I mentioned before, I sort through a ridiculous amount of applications and emails. The people who really catch my eye are the ones who are persistent, but persistent in a professional manner. Showing that you won’t give up on being noticed tells me how badly you want the job or even the job that doesn’t exist. Bonus points if the persistence encompasses thoughtful emails that clearly required some extra research on your part; for example, throwing in a reference to an employee’s blog post or mentioning a relevant piece of client work.
Do network. Everyone has experienced or will experience being turned down. So perhaps most important out of all of these dos and don’ts is to network. Networking is one of the best things you can do regardless of where you are in your career. At Dagger, we take referrals seriously. After all, we extensively interview and vet all candidates to ensure we are hiring the right people. Once they join the team, it’s safe to say we trust their network and their opinions of their colleagues. You never know the impact someone you randomly met at an AMA event or 48in48 will have on your career path months or even years down the road. In sum, network like your job depends on it. (Because it does.)
Adhering to these dos and don’ts will very possibly take up loads of your time. That’s ok because for most people, job-searching feels like a full-time job. But remember, from intentional labor comes fruit. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel if you do the right things in the right way. Who knows, you might become the person I recruit.