Take Our Expert Job Hunt Advice: What Makes an Outstanding Candidate?

When it comes to the job hunt, we’d like to think that we know a thing or two. Bridgewater Resources UK have been working closely with candidates and our clients for over 8 years. Not only do we know what employers are looking for in new recruits, but we know what it takes to be an outstanding and memorable candidate.

Finding the perfect person for the job and the perfect job for the person isn’t the easiest way of doing things but we think this is the only way to recruit. Thanks to our personalised and thorough approach, our Consultants have honed their skill set and are all experts in their field.

When job hunting, there’s a lot of competition you’ll come up against, so the way to success is by standing out and making sure that the recruiter remembers you. Of course, your experience and skills are massively important, but it’s how you present yourself, how you interact and your personality that will really set you apart from the pack. The little things have a huge impact.

We want to let you in on some insider secrets that will help you ace your job hunt. For this reason, we’ve picked the brains of our Consultants so that we can share their wisdom with you. This time around, we asked our Consultants: “What makes an outstanding candidate?”

Agnes Butterworth
Director – Bridgewater Group

First up, we spoke to Agnes. She knows all the ins and outs of recruitment and has met with hundreds of candidates over the years. From graduates, to managers, to executives – she’s seen it all. This is what she had to say about those stand out candidates that really hit above and beyond the mark:

Agnes Butterworth“What really stands out to me is when candidates have a lot of enthusiasm, bags of energy and a passion for what they want to do. I want them to be specific and tell my why they have applied for this particular role, what they could bring to the organisation they are applying to work for specifically, rather than giving generic responses.

Research – it seems so obvious, but many candidates just don’t do it! You need to look further than the ‘About Us’ section on the website and the job description. An outstanding candidate will show that they have done some really in-depth research, then they use that knowledge throughout their application or interview.”

Agnes goes on to discuss how important it is to build rapport throughout the entire recruitment process. She says:

“I like it when a candidate is friendly and when they are easy to get on with. Every role has a people element to it, at some point you will need to liaise with clients, suppliers or colleagues. So, if a candidate can’t demonstrate good people skills, they’re not for me or my clients. Don’t forget to smile!”

James Downing
Senior Recruitment Consultant – Professionals Division

Next, we caught up with James, one of our Senior Consultants within our Professionals Division.  The Professionals team recruit for a variety of positions, so deal with candidates from all walks of life. James has recently celebrated his 3-year anniversary with Bridgewater and definitely knows what he likes to see in a candidate. Here’s what James had to say about how to shine during the job hunt:

James Downing“When you’re recruiting, it’s the small things that you really notice. I like it when candidates are consistent throughout the process. If they are reliable and flexible, it shows me that they really want the job.

Please remember that if someone offers you advice or criticism during the process, then they are just trying to help you. The best thing you can do is to take that advice on board! Similarly, don’t be afraid to ask questions or for help, employers would rather you get things right.

The candidates that stick in my mind, even years down the line, are the ones that I could build a genuine relationship with. If their personality shines through and they really make an effort to forge a rapport with you, then they’re going to leave a really good long-lasting impression.” 

Danielle Miller
Senior Recruitment Consultant – Graduates Division

We now move over to the Graduates Division to have a chat with Danielle. The Graduates team recruit across the UK on behalf of our clients who are looking for the future leaders of their businesses. That means we only put forward the very best of the best candidates to be considered.

So, with so many bright and enthusiastic graduates on the scene, how can you truly stand out? Here’s Danielle’s view on things:

Danielle Miller“The great candidates, for me, are the ones who have taken the time to do research about the role they have applied for and come prepared to talk about why they are suited. Please don’t fire every question under the sun at us about things you should know already.

It’s brilliant to see when someone is really, really passionate and focused on their future goals. Well, providing that they are in line with the job they’ve applied for – there’s no point telling me about how much you want to be a lawyer when you’re being considered for a sales role!

At an interview, the candidates that answer questions with enthusiasm and an air of confidence are the ones I remember.”

Dan Partington
Senior Recruitment Consultant – Graduates Division

Staying with the Graduates team, and following on from Danielle’s points, Dan added his opinions. Dan regularly receives feedback from his candidates about how much he helped them through the recruitment process. His advice is tried and tested, see if it works for you.

Dan Partington“It’s surprisingly rare to see candidates use the job advert to inform their responses. Tailoring your application, CV or interview answers to include the experience, traits and skills that would be relevant in the role always impresses recruiters and employers. This shows that they are smart, can sell themselves and have put some thought and effort into what they are saying.

I echo what Danielle has said about personality and attitude. I want to see confidence and enthusiasm, but I don’t want to see cockiness or arrogance. Show me that you’re ready to learn and work hard to get from the bottom to the top.”

Tom Ferrington
Recruitment Consultant – Professionals Division

We headed back over for one last trip to the Professionals Division to chat to Tom. He’s gearing up for his 1-year anniversary with us here at Bridgewater, but in this space of time he has travelled all over the country and met some really high calibre candidates that are now doing extremely well with our clients. Take a look at what’s important to him throughout the recruitment process:

Tom Ferrington“Candidates who are responsive throughout the process are great, not ones who take forever and a day to get back in touch. The longer you leave it, the more likely you are to miss out!

Honesty is massively important, if there’s something you’re concerned about discussing, it’s better to get it out in the open. If you’re up front about it, it’s not going to come back to bite you further along down the line.

Organisation is also key – read any communications you receive from whoever you’re dealing with. If there’s something you’re asked to bring with you, don’t forget to do so. Competition is fierce, so don’t leave any room for error, or someone else might overtake you.”

There we have it, if there’s anyone you should listen to about the job hunt, then it’s these guys! To sum up all of this great advice, you need to put your heart and soul into the application process if you really want to get the job!

graduate jobs    professional jobs

For more job hunt tips and advice, take a look at our blog.

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