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21 Oct

Top Do’s and Don’t to help you get shortlisted for a job interview

If you are looking for a job right now, chances are that it is going to be competitive. Depending on the role, employers could be receiving more than 100 applications, so you need to get their attention.

Here at Talent Propeller, we see upwards of 2000 resumes a month and interview candidates every day. Here are our hot tips to breeze through shortlisting and get the opportunity to impress. 


Have a good introduction for yourself prepared

At some point in nearly every job application process, you will be asked to ‘tell us a bit about you’.  This might be on the application form, asked during a phone screening interview, or face to face and having an elevator pitch for yourself prepared helps you get started on the right foot. 

This question is designed to get a feel for your personality, so freeze up and don’t just recite your career history.  The interviewer already has your CV.  Think about a brief, 30-60 second answer that explains how you came to choose the career you’re in, what you really enjoy (personally and professionally) and be prepared to reveal something of yourself, even if it’s a simple as where you grew up. This helps you to build rapport with the interviewer.


Tell the employer what you can do for them

A statement we see daily on job application forms is: “I applied because this role is a good match for my skills and experience”. This is not an answer that will get your shortlisted! 

In the immortal words of JFK, ‘ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country’.  An employer’s interest in your background is almost entirely focussed on what benefit it will bring to her organisation.  Make it easy for her to see that.  Example: “I applied for this role as a receptionist because I love being the first person clients see when they walk in and take my responsibility for making them feel at ease seriously’ is much more likely to make you stand out from the pack.  For more on the mega error of cut/paste answers, see below.   


Customise your resume to the job

Sure, it takes a bit more time but it’s worth it. The skills and experience the employer is looking for will be listed in the advert, so make sure that when they read your resume, they see those words. 

It’s also important your resume matches what you have said on the application form.  For example, if a key requirement for the role is, experience in scheduling and you’ve indicated on the application form that you have done that, it is a big fail to not have the word ‘scheduling’ anywhere in your resume! With some recruiters using automated keyword searches to quickly screen applications, lack of keywords can prove fatal to your interview prospects.  


Copy and paste a generic answer to the question ‘Why do you want this job?’

It may be convenient to develop a generic statement that you use on every job application, but it’s one of the fastest ways to be overlooked during the screening process.  Employers are looking for a connection; someone who is excited about their business and industry – and who makes an effort.   Consider these 2 answers and decide for yourself who you would be most interested in talking to:

Candidate 1: “I applied because you are a leading organisation in your field”

Candidate 2: “I am passionate about pilates and drive past your studio every day. I have been working as an instructor for 10 years and your place looks bright, modern and exciting. I would love the opportunity to be part of your team.”      

Talent Propeller assists job seekers with advice and expertise. You can find more tips in our blog library and for a limited time as part of our Post COVID support effort, you can book a FREE CV makeover with an expert recruiter and graphic designer.