Don’t Do This! Ways to Screw Up in a Highly Competitive Job Market

Woman job seeker

Amanda KellyTalentfoot Executive Senior Partner, recently shared this state of the job market during a presentation to the Chicago Interactive Marketing AssociationThis is an excerpt from her discussion.  

A Highly Competitive Job Market

Add a global pandemic to a recession and you’ve got a recipe for a sharp turn in the marketplaceThe United Statehas a candidate-driven market and that means there is an enormous amount of competition. 

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The good news is marketers, salespeople, and tech experts are in demand. Digital businesses are continuing to grow and innovate. Talentfoot has been very busy assisting eCommerce organizations and industries experiencing an uptick in business due to the pandemic like on-demand fitness. There is a high demand for candidates who have a track record of delivering. We need performance-driven marketers who are data-driven and analytical.

When you land the interview, know that it’s because on paper you are qualified. To beat out the other candidates it’s important you follow these tips to help position yourself in the best light.  

Soft Skills in Demand 

One area I notice a lot of candidates neglect is brushing up on their soft skills.  

Don’t do this! Spend all your attention honing hard skills. As our Founder Camille Fetter likes to say, “your hard skills may land you the interview, but it’s your soft skills that land you the job.  

Right now, recruiters are looking for candidates that can show creativity, adaptability, resourcefulness, and accountability. Prepare by thinking of examples wheyou demonstrated these soft skills. Perhaps it was a time you created an intake form that made a process more efficient, show where you raised your hand to contribute more to the organizationanything to demonstrate you are a valued team member beyond your hard skills. 

Prepare for Hard Questions 

With more candidates on the market, you may be thrown some curveball questions to see how you react.  

Don’t do this! Resist the urge to blurt out the first thing that comes to your mind. Instead, stay calm, breathe, and answer the best you can. Take a second to develop your train of thought and be concise with your answers. 

To prep, you can look up behavioral interview questions and practice them with a friend. My number one piece of advice is this: have specific examples of your experience to speak to and if you can, share quantifiable results. 

Stand Out 

Do your research on the company and hiring team. Prepare strategic questions tshow you are knowledgeable about the company’s current state and history. For example, if you are interviewing with a retailer, go visit the store before your interview and take note of things you observe. Sign up for the organization’s newsletter, offers, perhaps even make a small online purchase and make observations of the customer experience. Maybe share ideas to improve a portion of the customer journey. 

Don’t do this! I just had someone eliminated from the interviewing process because they told the hiring manager that they hadn’t visited the retailer’s store in over ten years!

Find common ground with the hiring manager and try to get them talking about themselves. This is by far the easiest way to build rapport, as well as an opportunity to show what it would be like to work with you day to day. 

Be authentic and let your personality show. The candidates who do this are more memorable to the hiring manager after a long day of interviewing candidates back-to-back. 

Follow Up  

The most important thing to do is send a post-interview message. Don’t do this! I have had several candidates not land a job due to poor follow-up.  

Send a thank-you email within 24 hours. I even prefer it before the end of the day if possible.  

Once again, no canned emails! Make sure to highlight something specific from the conversation and express your interest in the role. You can even use this follow-up as a way to show your resourcefulness and creativity. Maybe you attach a project or article you referenced during the interview…these little touches will help you stand out. 

Want more tips for a highly competitive job marketDownload our complimentary guide here