Hiring managers and job-seekers can both agree making a perfect professional match is a challenge. 

As a candidate, you want to come off as professional, but not stiff. Eager, but not desperate. Prepared, but not...psycho. And the list goes on.

As the interviewer, you want to see through all the smoke screens. You want to know whether the well-rehearsed answers, ironed pants and pleasant temperaments are sincere. How can you dig until you find the underlying traits or skills that cannot be faked?

We spoke to our own recruiter, Kim Schultz of Acara Solutions, about the interview process from her perspective. As someone who matches candidates to jobs all day, every day, she has seen countless displays of character revealed or proven. She shared 3 job interview tips that you can look for (or demonstrate) that are true displays of character. In other words, these are the things candidates won’t be able to cover up. Without further ado, here they are.

Strong Work History

Are there several gaps? Are there multiple job transitions over a short period of time?

While this should not rule out a candidate entirely, it’s important to take note of these kinds of trends on a resume.

It may indicate the candidate cannot hold a job, gets bored with a job quickly, or cannot maintain positive working relationships. This can be for a multitude of reasons. If you decide to move forward with the candidate in an interview, be sure to address these concerns directly.

In contrast, a candidate with smooth transitions between jobs, who has been at each position for at least a year, should not raise any red flags.

As a candidate, remember: You certainly don’t have to live for your resume, but be sure to navigate your career transitions with care and discretion.  

Demonstrate Growth

According to Kim, recruiters and hiring managers look for indications that the candidate has demonstrated they can move up in their position. Look for whether they have moved from associate to supervisor, or even simply gotten a raise. Looking for this on a resume is an easy, surefire way to determine if the candidate embraces challenges and is seeking personal and professional growth.

As a candidate, do your best to proactively seek out opportunities in your current position. If there is no upward mobility in your position, work hard and take on more responsibility whenever you can. Be sure to indicate any kind of progression your position has taken on your resume.

Quick to Follow Up

Another way to determine a candidate’s “true colors” is to evaluate how quickly they follow up after their interview. According to Kim, a candidate who follows up immediately is demonstrating several admirable qualities.

First, aggression. You’ll know this candidate is serious about their job search. You’ll know they really want the job, and will do whatever it takes to get on your radar and stay there.

Second, courtesy. This person has a professional attitude and recognizes that your time is valuable. Any time you spent considering their candidacy, they genuinely appreciate. That kind of posture towards others will carry over into their tenure at any workplace.

Lastly, confidence. When a candidate immediately follows up after their interview, it demonstrates they are confident in their performance and ability. This kind of confidence will allow that candidate, if hired, to bring what they have to the table without hesitation.

Conclusion

Yes, the job hunt and the interview process can be exhausting. But if you look for (or demonstrate!) the right qualities, the right candidates (or positions) will present themselves to you. Keep an eye out for those diamonds in the ruff!