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    Why applying for fewer roles will secure you more interviews

    Our markets – insurance, finance and legal – are as active as they have been in recent years for the IPS Group and Anakin Seal. However, in such a busy and fast-moving market, it is quite common for some candidates to struggle to get noticed and, if you are one of those candidates, that is both frustrating and dispiriting.

    Fewer applications will result in more interviews

    The good news is that being selective about which roles to apply for is likely to significantly increase your chances of getting interviews. There are several reasons for this:

    1. Tailoring your CV and covering letter for each role makes a massive difference to your chances of being shortlisted.
    The work involved in tailoring each application is time consuming but it shows a commitment to the role which recruiters and hiring managers will value; and more importantly it makes it really quick and easy for them to see how your skills and experience match the required and desired criteria in the job description.

    Tailoring your application in three steps
    We will write about tailoring CVs and covering letters in a future blog but in brief:
    a) before starting your application note down the experience, skills and responsibilities highlighted in the job description;
    b) in your covering letter highlight how your experience and skills that match the job description; and
    c) make sure the key sections of your CV mentioned in your covering letter are both easy to find and well written. Throughout, your CV should articulate your responsibilities and the impact you made to the business.

    2. Restricting the number of roles you apply for will focus your efforts on jobs that you are well suited to.
    In a busy market things recruiters rarely have time to engage with speculative or left-field CVs. Consequently, applications for roles that aren’t directly relevant to your experience and skills are unlikely to yield results which can be disheartening. Once you have a relationship with a recruiter then you may be able to ask them about “stretch roles” or sideways moves but the initial challenge is to get noticed. Please note, applying for one role in the hope of getting on the shortlist for a different one is generally counterproductive.

    3. Only working with 1-3 recruitment companies (and telling them) makes you more attractive to a recruiter.
    Recruiters will prioritise the candidates they are most likely to place. In other words, if you are applying for roles via six recruitment companies, the recruiter has a 1 in 6 chance of earning a fee. However, if you have only registered with two recruiters that chance increases to 1 in 2. Some candidates choose to “go exclusive” with one recruiter because of the control it gives them over their job hunt and the level of service that generally ensues.

    Don’t apply via the jobs boards

    Emailing your CV and covering letter direct to the recruiter and referencing the job you are applying for (rather than applying via a jobs board) shows a level of sophistication in your job hunt that will further strengthen the likelihood of your CV making it to the top of the recruiter’s pile. It suggests you are taking a strategic approach as mentioned above, rather than browsing jobs boards and clicking apply to anything you like. If you haven’t heard anything two days after your application put in a follow up call to check your email didn’t go to spam.

    Interview your recruiter to make sure they’re right for you

    A good recruiter should want to meet you (in the current climate sometimes a video phone call has to do) to get a real understanding of your career ambitions, personality and experience.

    Take this chance to gauge if they are a good fit for you: find out about their understanding of the market; ask which companies they recruit for; what other roles they currently have that might be of interest; and how they normally work with candidates– e.g. how often you should touch base with them or them with you. It is also an opportunity to request feedback on your CV and covering letter; even to ask for interview practice if you think it will help you.

    If you don’t click with the recruiter then simply politely explain that you don’t want them to represent you.

    Now you’re on the radar…

    The good news is that once you are on a recruiter’s radar, not only will they let you know about other live roles, but also they will make sure their colleagues contact you about relevant opportunities the recruitment company is working on. Please note that a reputable recruiter will NEVER put you forward for any opportunity without first getting your express permission.

    Does being selective mean you miss out on opportunities?

    If you choose 1-3 established consultancy/ies with a good client base then you can be confident your CV is being considered for relevant opportunities and depending on your role you should get opportunities. The risk with a more scattergun approach is that not only will you put in more work but that you’re applications aren’t being seriously considered. Finally, should you decide a particular agency isn’t meeting your expectations you can always ask that they remove you from their database and try a new one.

    Good luck with your job hunt and if you have any questions or we can help at all, then please get in touch.



    David Carr

    Divisional Director

    David is the Divisional Director of Anakin Seal, responsible for running the business nationally. He studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of York before completing the CPE and LPC. He qualified as a Solicitor and then moved into in legal recruitment in 2006. He has focussed on placing…