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What to look for in the perfect application

Advice | CV | Hiring decisions | marketing

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There are few things more detrimental to a company than making the wrong hire for a critical role. A recent study by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation found that UK businesses are losing billions by hiring the wrong people. When your business wants to see growth and development, bringing the wrong people on board can derail this.

Your job as a hiring manager can be made significantly easier when candidates really stand out. These are the sorts of applicants who you’ll be likely to pay more attention to.

When you start to look for new marketing talent, applications can seem overwhelming, but there are a few things to pay specific attention to in order to establish who you should be most interested in meeting with.

They make use of SEO principles

Applicants who have taken on board the principles of search engine optimisation (SEO) in their applications will likely be deserving of a second look. In order to get your organisation to the top of search engine results pages, your marketing team will likely have carried out an SEO audit.

If a candidate has done the same to their application, it’s a sign that they have carefully considered how to stand out, which can mean that they’ll display the same consideration in the job. If there are keywords in the right places, they’ll jump off the page and help the candidate stand out.

CVs offer real opportunities to candidates, giving them the chance to wow you. If they’ve used an eye-catching and relevant headline, rather than just their name, it shows creativity and the fact they’ve really thought about what they’re doing.

They understand the importance of cover letters

Cover letters can allow you to evaluate the personality and writing proficiency of a candidate - a vital skill for most marketing roles.

For candidates to use the cover letter to their advantage, they shouldn’t make any assumptions about you as a hiring manager. Have you ever read a cover letter beginning with ‘I know that you...’ or ‘You and I both know...’? Did they reflect the sort of attitude you’d be comfortable with introducing to your company?

The candidates you should be paying attention to will instead focus on themselves and tell a story about how their skills and experience will benefit your organisation. You’re better able to picture them in the role and establish their chances of succeeding when they do this, so it’s one of the biggest signs that this is a candidate worth interviewing.

They follow directions

There will, of course, be applicants who don’t follow the advice provided with a job advert and make the wrong sort of application - not sending a cover letter when the advert requested one, for example. These candidates will not do themselves any favours. But neither will the ones who make relatively minor errors, including those who do not send their application materials in the right format, or do so just minutes after the deadline.

This can be seen as a lack of attention to detail, which will potentially be a significant problem for your organisation, particularly when you’re trying to bring the best hires on board. However, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t appreciate creativity.

Candidates who send in unusual but imaginative CVs - those packaged as board games or medication for ‘creative pain’, for instance - can be exactly who a marketing department needs.


Posted by Jon Aspinell on 14th July 2017

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