Are there ways to “stick” in an employer’s mind during the hiring process, and thereby increase the chances of landing an offer?
Yes, but it’s trickier than you may think.
Because once you’re perceived as having the necessary qualifications, being memorable relies as much on HOW you play the game as WHAT you bring to the table. Many executives get stuck in an endless credibility-building loop, reiterating the same facts and figures when they should be paying attention to other sides of the equation.
Here’s what to look out for:
TIP #1: USE STORYTELLING TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
Once upon a time…
These words are magical, because we’ve been trained to listen carefully to stories. So instead of answering questions, think about sharing stories which ILLUSTRATE the answer. For example, if you need to share a story about a major Cybersecurity initiative you handled at your last company, frame it as follows:
-What was the major CHALLENGE I faced?
-What ACTIONS did I take to address it?
-What was the RESULT?
Challenge, Action, Result. Or, in storytelling terms, Beginning, Middle, and End. Frame your answers in this format and you will find people listening more carefully, and engaging more deeply.
Other ways to use storytelling during the hiring process:
–Think about the larger “career narrative” present within the Professional Experience section of your resume. How did the roles you’ve had FEED into the executive you are today? How did the various twists and turns develop who you are, and the perspective you bring to the table? Tailor this section of the resume to tell this tale, and you’ll reduce the odds of being perceived as a jack-of-all-trades.
–Take an alternate approach when asked old chestnuts like, “Tell me about yourself?” or “Tell me about your greatest achievement?” Rather than reciting a laundry list of successes, share a personal story about overcoming adversity. Something real, that actually MATTERS to you. Show people a glimpse of the human being behind the professional, and it becomes very difficult to treat you as “just another candidate.” It’s also a major display of confidence.
TIP #2: CREATE MULTIPLE TOUCH POINTS ON LINKEDIN
LinkedIn will usually be the first place employers look you up online. Therefore, the wider your footprint, the more credible you’ll seem. Here’s a checklist of areas to consider:
–A LinkedIn Presence that corroborates your resume. Is there a clear match-up here? Pay special attention to the LinkedIn Headline and Summary sections- these are by far the most visible parts of your profile.
–A LinkedIn network that has at least 100-200 people (anything less than that looks suspicious) The easy way is to allow LinkedIn to access your email contacts, and send invites to them on your behalf. You can do this through the “My Network” section.
–Do you have at least 1 or 2 published LinkedIn Pulse posts? These are FANTASTIC credibility builders. Tip: make sure what you write about is tightly aligned with your industry niche, and that the content is EVERGREEN (not time or context-sensitive).
–Get in the habit of sharing at least 1-3 LinkedIn Status updates per week. It’s an amazing way to increase the overall visibility of your profile, and that sense of “recency” that comes with someone being active and engaged is priceless. Tip: use a service like Buffer or Hootsuite to load these updates up in advance, and periodically log into LinkedIn to track engagement, answer comments, etc.
Also read: 4 LinkedIn Profile “Must Haves”
TIP #3: MAINTAIN A DIALOGUE THROUGH FOLLOW-UPS
Intelligent follow-up throughout the interview process is one of the biggest ways to tilt things in your favor. For example:
-Did you flub an interview question? Send a thank you note within 48 hours of an interview which re-answers the question. Yes, you can do this!
–Did you realize, upon leaving the interview room, that you never had a chance to share an essential career success or qualification? Fire off a follow-up note which broaches it.
–Do you have a second interview coming up? Rather than going in blind, ask for details on what topics will be covered in this one. Frame it from the POV of wishing to be better prepared.
The possibilities for following up are nearly endless. Just be sure to keep track of the messages you’re sending, and save them as templates to be used for future hiring situations. You’ve now got an amazing new asset in your arsenal- use it!