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What recruiters wish candidates would start (and stop) doing

Finding the right candidate—and for the jobseeker, finding the right role and company—can sometimes feel like a long and winding road. However, there are certain things candidates do that our Thoughtworks recruiters would love to see candidates do more of (yes, thank-you notes are still a thing!)

Naturally, there are also some things that they wish all candidates would simply never do again. Here’s a collection of what recruiters encourage candidates to adopt (as well as what to ditch ASAP) to make a better impression during their recruiting process at Thoughtworks. 

  • Thinking past your role Of course the job you’re interviewing for is one of the most important aspects for you as a candidate, so you’ll want to ensure your skills, interests and goals align. But the role you’re interested in is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to Thoughtworks as a whole. Do your research on us so you understand the bigger picture: check out our current offerings, watch or read our employee stories, check out our tech podcast and follow our social channels. All of these touchpoints will begin to paint a picture of where we are today and where we want to be tomorrow so you can better connect your role to the success of the company. Plus, being able to draw parallels between your future work and the future of the business is always a win!
  • Being more human Yes, we’re essentially living in a virtual world and recruiting for now is a reflection of that. But don’t forget: small, thoughtful touches still go a long way, even virtually. The simplest way to show your interest and gratitude? The virtual thank-you note! Not only does doing this show a recruiter that you care enough to go the extra mile, it can also help keep you top of mind. Another tip? Include a reference to your conversation in the email, whether that be a piece of content you think the recruiter or interviewer would find interesting or an example of your work that came up in conversation.
  • Sweating the details It’s easy to get excited about a role after glancing at the job description. You may quickly peruse the requirements and duties and click apply before you really had a chance to digest the ins and outs of the role. But our recruiters suggest slowing down a bit: some of their shortest interviews are due to the fact that the candidate missed a key or essential employment factor, whether that be a required location, legal status or otherwise. While these types of scenarios can be disappointing for both sides, they’re fortunately entirely avoidable!
  • Leveling up your LinkedIn We’ve mentioned this in multiple Insights blogs, so you can tell our recruiters leverage LinkedIn quite a bit. While it’s incredibly common to dread updating your resume or CV, you have a bit more freedom with LinkedIn. Our recruiters’ advice? Treat your LinkedIn profile like your own professional website: a space where you can get as detailed and creative as you’d like and let your personality shine. Be sure to add sections like a summary, skills, professional courses, presentations, portfolios, languages, even volunteer experience. When it comes to Thoughtworks, our recruiters love to see that you’re passionate about things like agile, teamwork, TDD and potentially projects related to social change or diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). The more information you provide, the more insight a recruiter gets into you as a person and candidate.

  • Applying to the wrong roles Job searching can be tough, but you’re not doing yourself any favors if you apply to jobs that don’t match your skills or background. Instead, take the time you’d spend applying to mismatched jobs and invest energy into crafting a solid application for the right role, researching companies, or tailoring your resumes to slightly different positions. It’s of course possible to land a job that isn’t a clear reflection of your background, so having resume/CV options that are targeted to your desired job (and a cover letter that expands upon how your experience aligns with the role) can help in this case. 
  • Being unprepared This is probably one of the most common complaints recruiters have. It’s obvious when a candidate hasn’t researched the company, but it’s especially obvious when they’re unable to articulate why they’d be a good fit for the role or how their background aligns. Preparation, engagement, flexibility, and motivation are key elements to a successful recruitment process. And we know it can be hard. We’re all busy and we don't always take the time we need to slow down and organize our thoughts. However, the best candidates do. They simply find a way. They’re organized with both their time and their plans. All of this is completely in your control, so be sure to make the most of it.
  • Telling interviewers what you *think* they want to hear Here’s the thing about our recruiters: they truly want to get to know you. At Thoughtworks, our employees are free to be themselves and that extends to candidates, too. Our recruiters don’t want to hear generic responses to interview questions. In other words, be yourself. That means it’s OK to share your thoughts and opinions on certain topics or ask difficult questions. Culture is extremely important at Thoughtworks, so if you come across as a robot with perfect answers, you may not make it that far in the process. 
  • Doubting yourself This last one may be the most difficult one, because self doubt and imposter syndrome are real struggles that many of us encounter. But a great way to combat this during the recruitment process is thorugh preparation and giving yourself the opportunity to make a great first impression. We know that interviewing can give even the most confident folks the jitters, but keep in mind that you have unique experiences, perspectives and ideas. And don’t fret if you’re a bit nervous at first, especially during the phone screen stage. At this point, our recruiters simply want to have a casual conversation with you. When it comes to interviewing with other Thoughtworks employees, just remember: one of our recruiters found your experience and aptitude to be a fit, so that should give you a confidence boost for your future conversations. 

Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Thoughtworks.

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