How to make yourself placeable

Ticking boxes on a job description is one thing, but making yourself an attractive candidate is quite another. CMM senior consultant Michael Herd looks at how to make yourself ‘placeable’.

What steps do CMM undertake to evaluate a candidate initially?

CMM are very thorough in their candidate evaluation. When going through the process for a particular role the candidate will speak to two and sometimes three of us before being presented to the client.

We ask competency based questions that are in line with the skills the client needs, as well as questions based around soft skills to see if they would be a good cultural fit for the client.

We don’t just look for a perfect answer, we need to hear credible examples of success. When asking questions, we also like to listen to the language they use and their reactions.

How do you monitor the candidate market on an ongoing basis?
To understand what is going on in the candidate market we constantly reach out to connections. Whether that be candidates or previous clients to see what they are currently doing in terms of personal and professional development, roles they may be looking at, how they are doing in their current role and what their future plans are.

Humans are unpredictable and constantly changing their thoughts and actions, so it is important for us to continually have these conversations. We also monitor social media and industry news very closely – there are often really insightful pieces of information on these platforms.

What are the basic steps candidates can take to make themselves more ‘placeable’?
There are things candidates can be doing to become more placeable, although these are often personal to each candidate.

However, there are some really basic activities you can be doing to become more placeable, one of them being your CV/covering letter. Hiring managers read through hundreds, and are normally frustrated that the formatting is haphazard or the content is hard to follow.

We want to see clear and concise information showing credible examples of what you have achieved in your previous and current position.

Strong communications, a good attitude with integrity and good self-awareness all go a long way. They are tougher to measure as they are less tangible but the smaller details are normally picked up on by hiring managers.

In an interview situation, presumably candidates shouldn’t just assume their abilities are a given?
Never assume you have got the job before you interview. Always prepare, even if you are really confident or have been told it is a ‘formal exercise’.

Do your research on the company. Look at their social media and website, research the people who you would be working with and learn about the interviewers.

It is important that you can display your knowledge on the company, as doing your research shows the hiring manager that you care and have taken time to prepare.

A good attitude is something hiring managers love to see. I would also advise doing a mystery shop so you can discuss your findings, especially if it is a sales role.

When it comes to preparing for an interview, you should always know your strengths and areas you need to develop as well as having relevant examples of how you have achieved something.

How important is it that candidates keep you up to date on their personal development?
For us, personal development is something everyone should be doing and if a candidate keeps us informed it is only beneficial for them.

It helps us gain an understanding on what they are trying to improve and what they are good at, meaning when we have suitable positions they are the forefront of our minds.

It also shows us which candidates are actively bettering themselves, which also gives us a good indication of who is taking their career seriously.

Some people might be wary of flagging up potential weaknesses, but presumably that’s a key step in personal development?
No one is perfect and everyone has weaknesses. If you are oblivious to that then you are more of a potential threat to an organisation than if you are aware of your weaknesses.

Being aware allows you to improve and develop and, therefore, become a strong professional. On the flip side, being unaware means you are likely to keep failing in that area, which could be to the detriment of your employer.

Being honest about your weaknesses also shows any future employer that you have good integrity, which everyone wants in an employee!

What examples of innovative personal development have stood out for you?
I know of people who have gone out of their specific industry to improve on their skill set. For example, going to acting school to improve their public speaking. I love this approach, as it is a skill that lots of people need but often aren’t good at.

Closer to home, to improve in an area you aren’t sure about, think about shadowing people. For example, do a shift in the bar if you are the assistant GM and don’t understand the F&B area of the business.

What are the key traits that make a candidate immediately stand out to you?
Asking intelligent questions and sharing credible experiences with proven examples. Also, dressing smartly for a meeting (even on a video call) and being polite go a long way. Finally, someone who actually heeds, and actions, any advice we give to them!

Date: 13/08/2020
Author: Michael Herd
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