Before leaving my old job I helped to recruit a new me. It was actually quite useful to see the job hunting run from the other perspective. So this week I thought that I'd share what it's like to be on the other side of the CV...
First of all, first impressions do count. You are being judged from the moment you engage.
Yes, it's true. Whether you call up and enquire, or walk into your potential employer to ask about a position, or hand in a CV, you are being sized up for the role. In those few seconds. And it can't be helped.
It's not necessarily a conscious thing on the employer's part, or on the part of the employees you might speak to instead, so it's important to make a conscious effort to make a good impression the first time you make an interaction. Whether you meet the boss or the cleaner, they're judging you and they'll probably pass those judgments on... even if it's just "he seemed nice" or "I loved her shoes."
Think about what you want to say before you pick up the phone and ask about the job, and speak clearly. Ask about a specific job role, saying "I've called about the job" wouldn't be much use if they are advertising several positions.
Don't walk in and ask a current employee about the position and then insult the manager/boss/owner. You don't know work relationships yet, and you probably have no idea who you are talking you. Someone did this to me while we were hiring and I was slightly gobsmacked!
Do feel free to be friendly with the current employees, regardless of their role. You might be working with them one day. If they seem amiable and available, feel free to ask them about the job/business. If they seem busy and stressed out, come back later and don't bug them. Try to preempt when it might be less busy for them. For a sandwich bar, late afternoon is best, for a restaurant, in between settings is best, for an office position, you may have to do some research to see if there are big events or news stories taking place that might be taking up the employees' time, or you might just have to hedge your bets and take a guess. They'll let you know... the number of times I was working in the deli and another business called us to talk shop and I had to say "you've called a sandwich bar at lunchtime, could you please call back at 3pm?"
Show enthusiasm about applying for the job. Whether you are calling up, handing in a CV, or just asking if there are any jobs - stride in, smile, and show them that you'd enjoy working there. That's the best impression you can give.
If all that sounds obvious to you, of course, then you're halfway there already...