Talent Development Centre

Tag Archives: first impressions

All Talent Development Centre posts for Canadian technology contractors relating to first impressions.

Never Say These 6 Words in an Interview (Video)

Independent IT contractors spend a lot of time in interviews — with clients, with recruiters, with end-users — and each of these interviews are often when you’ll set a first impression. Due to the high-pressure nature of them, especially job interviews, we tend to use vocabulary that comes easily and naturally to us. This is when words sneak into our sentences that affect how a listener perceives us.

It takes intensive practice and comfort to avoid all stutters and small miscommunications, but this video from BI Success suggests 6 words to start eliminating in your vocabulary which will make you sound smarter. This is not only great advice for job interviews, but also for your everyday professional life.

What is a Top-of-Mind Candidate?

Recruiter remembering a top-of-mind contractorUnlike parents and teachers, recruiters have no problems admitting that they play favourites. All recruiters have “top-of-mind” candidates and when a role comes up for which that candidate qualifies, they’re the first person the recruiter calls. If you can get yourself into this sweet spot, searching for jobs becomes much easier; in fact, searching starts to become unnecessary because opportunities fall into your lap!

To help you better understand what’s inside a recruiter’s head when they’re picking favourites, we surveyed Eagle’s Team on the topic and put together a series of posts. Over the next few weeks, we’ll share the common traits of top-of-mind candidates, some steps you can take to improve their impression of you, as well as insight into some habits that will put you in their bad books.

You may be wondering “Why should I care about sucking up to recruiters? My skills are top-notch and I have plenty of experience.” That is true, and is absolutely the most important part of landing the right contract, but building a relationship has many advantages too. According to the survey we conducted, the majority of recruiters said they’re often able to skip the search and immediately call somebody for a role. In fact, 88% of them said this happens on more than half of their roles. That means that you can apply for as many roles as you’d like and have the best resume ever, but if you’re not top-of-mind, a recruiter will rarely bother to seek you out. Of course, these statistics exclude niche roles. If you possess hard-to-find skills and work in a specialized role, you already know that you’re in a different camp.

Working to earn the top spot on a recruiter’s go-to list isn’t easy given how many contractors they meet on a regular basis, and your first impression is critical.  Nine out of 10 recruiters said that the first phone call or meeting has an effect on your future relationship and whether or not you’ll move to preferred status.  The good news, though, is that there isn’t limited space on a recruiter’s favourites list. Two-thirds of Eagle’s recruiters said that more than half of the people they interview earn top-of-mind status.

So how exactly can you ace an interview with a recruiter to become a top-of-mind candidate? If you mess up the first time, can you redeem yourself? How can you maintain that preferred status? Stay posted to the Talent Development Centre over the next few weeks for answers to all of these questions and more!

How to Impress Literally Everyone You Meet (Video)

From networking events to phone interviews, we all have at least a few disaster stories of people who made terrible first impressions (maybe even you). Prevent it from happening to you (again) by checking out this video from BuzzFeed. It provides some pointers for creating great first impressions. There may even be a few that are new to you!

What is a Recruiter Thinking?

Stock Traders Conducting InterviewWe’ve worked with hundreds of extremely skilled contractors at Eagle, but still have yet to come across any who knows how to read minds.  Instead, everybody has to go into an interview with a recruiter without really knowing exactly how they’re being evaluated… until today! We surveyed Eagle’s Recruitment Specialists to find out exactly what they’re looking for in a first-time interview and what the biggest factors are when they form an opinion of a contractor.

Believe it or not, when recruiters meet with a contractor for the first time, the majority aren’t considering your technical skills as a priority and no recruiter said they even care about your rate preferences.  In fact, most recruiters focus on your communication skills and professionalism.

  • Communication Skills. Recruiters want to know that you can speak the language used at their clients’ offices, but more importantly, they want to know you can do it clearly and with tact. They’ll be considering how you answer questions — did you use enough detail?  Was there too much technical jargon?  Were you mumbling? If you already excel in this area, then all you should need to do is prepare to make sure it comes across in the interview.  If you could use practice, try taking a few courses or joining groups like Toastmasters.
  • Professionalism. Beyond communication skills is everything else that makes a professional. Recruiters are evaluating you based on how you act from the very beginning to the very end of your interview.  For example, how you’re dressed, how you treat the person who greets you, and how you respond to questions.  Avoid getting too casual by swearing or making jokes that may be considered inappropriate.

Above all, ATTITUDE is everything!

We also asked recruiters for the top qualities that have the greatest effect on the way they form an opinion of contractors, in the first interview and beyond.  While many listed traits like being socialable and being prepared, 100% — every single recruiter — said they are judging you based on your attitude… and they want it to be positive!

Here are a few simple ways to convey a positive attitude.  Remember, you should always practice this.

  • Be polite. A simple please, thank you  and you’re welcome goes a long way.
  • Never trash-talk.  Whether it’s past clients, colleagues or agencies, it’s not worth it.
  • Don’t talk down to anyone.
  • Try not to interrupt.
  • Always smile!

Obviously recruiters will be evaluating your technical skills when considering you for specific contracts, but these softer skills are going to make you a recruiter’s first call when an opportunity comes up. In fact, if you fail to have great communication skills, professionalism and a positive attitude, your technical skills may never be considered.  Would you agree?