Our latest blog has been written by one of our Employment Advisers to offer you tips on how to tick all the boxes for future employers.
Employers and recruiters use a ‘shopping list’ to determine which candidate is going to best meet their needs. No matter how charming or personable you may appear to the employer, the process still requires boxes to be ticked to score well to get to the job offer stage.
It wasn’t until I was the other side of the table and in a hiring function that I was fortunate enough to get the chance to be mentored by HR staff from Accenture and Microsoft Ireland where I was introduced to the magic of the matrix! This simple spread sheet changed my life as a hiring manager by allowing me to be very clear about what I wanted and allowed me to compare like for like with each candidate. As a job seeker this concept is very useful to know as it allows you to focus on ticking as many boxes as possible.
The matrix in simple terms is a spread sheet that lists the experience, education and qualities an employer wants in the first column (the shopping list) and then each candidate has a column and is scored on the evidence that they have provided. The columns are then totalled to give the numerical score for each candidate to see who scored the highest.
This knowledge is useful for job seekers so they don’t end up putting all their eggs in one basket. Also the good news is that if the employer/recruiter has done a decent job on the job advert and job description, then you can probably draw up a fairly accurate list for the role by yourself which you can then use to ‘line up’ your application with the vacancy. Here are some tips about how to work out what is on the employers shopping list and how to maximise your chances of being a good match and scoring well on a matrix:
- Get all the information you can on the job, the team & company: Download all information available about the job, don’t be afraid to phone to clarify anything or ask for further details (never canvass though – try and talk your way into a job – it can get you disqualified). Review the ‘About’ sections of the company website. If you have any contacts that have some inside knowledge ask discreetly. Try and find out what is important to the company – ‘re-building communities’, ‘being the best service provider’ ‘making customer service a top priority’ ‘empowering women’ etc.
- Mark important clues: When you have all the information in one place start to highlight what is being stated as important – at this stage scribble and circle as your first impression dictates. You can narrow it down later. It’s important to get a ‘big picture’ feel for the role and the company.
- Look for stated priorities, repetition of information & signs of weighting: Now start to narrow down the information. Join similar information together and start to get rid of any irrelevant info
- Make a list of all the requirements stated in the available material: Put all the information from everywhere and start to put it into list form on one main piece of paper or word document. This will become your main focus point from now on
- Try and narrow the list of requirements down to max 10 points: To make sure that there isn’t too much information to work with, restrict yourself to max 10 aspects of the role
- Highlight possible weighted areas: Mark any requirements that there is evidence that it may be a particularly important aspect of the role
- Start to match up your evidence: When you have your list start to brainstorm as to how you will meet these requirement and what EVIDENCE you can provide (Example – Team Leadership – Lead a team of 5 people during Project X)
- Keep it simple: Review what you have done, keep it simple, does it make sense? Have you provided good examples? Do you need to brainstorm more to get a better example
- Focus CV / Application to meet the matrix requirements: Use the information you have gathered so far and use it to tailor your CV or application form (If Women’s rights are a big focus of the role and organisation then focus on this aspect of your history/experience)
- Carry this focus through the whole process – try to score points with evidence at each stage of the process: To make sure you score consistently well throughout the process, be mindful that you bring what you have learned not only into your original application but also into the interviews. Knowing what they want is only useful if you act on it.
In summary pay attention to the big picture of the role, the team and the company and work hard on making a connection and providing evidence at each opportunity to allow yourself to score as highly as possible and hopefully get to job offer.