When you’re applying for a job, you don’t just want to get noticed, you want to stand out as the best applicant the hiring manager has ever seen. According to a new CareerBuilder survey, job hunters are doing some creative and crazy things to make an impression, but are they really helping them land the position?
“Candidates are realizing that an extraordinary cover letter and resume with strong references aren’t enough, that if you really want the gig, you have to stand out from the competition,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer for CareerBuilder. “Unfortunately, what many aren’t realizing is that the catch is making sure you do that in a professional, respectful way.”
Whatever It Takes
Here are 13 examples hiring managers gave of unusual tactics job seekers used to stand out, not always for the right reasons:
- Had a priest contact the hiring manager and ask for candidate to be hired.
- Bought a first class upgrade to sit next to hiring manager on a transatlantic flight.
- Came dressed in a costume for Halloween.
- Had his wife make homemade lavender soap bars for the hiring manager as a thank you for taking the time to interview the candidate.
- Asked hiring manager to share an ice cream cone.
- Sent a pair of embroidered socks with a note saying he would knock the company’s socks off if hired.
- Showed up in his camp counselor attire with some of the children from the camp he worked for to show his leadership capabilities.
- Sent a shoe with a flower in it as a thank you after the interview. The note said: “Trying to get my foot in the door.”
- Mailed hiring manager money in an envelope.
- Arrived to interview in a white limousine, an hour early, dressed in a three-piece suit. The open position was middle-wage and had a required dress code of khakis, company button-down, and black shoes.
- Kissed hiring manager.
- Gave hiring manager a book on a subject he knew candidate manager enjoyed.
- Wore a tie that had the name of the company he was interviewing with on it.
There are better ways to increase your chances of getting hired. Haefner offers the following five ways to stand out:
- Don’t forget the past: Giving a few examples of how your past experience is transferrable shows that you’ve thought through how you would fit in to the organization.
- Use social media to your advantage: Tweeting, blogging and commenting about things you know builds up your credibility online. When an employer searches your name after an interview, you want them to find a knowledgeable individual who can fit well into their company.
- Ask questions: Be sure to prepare a few good questions of your own. Want to know what the corporate culture is like? Are you curious about opportunities to advance? Your questions communicate to your interviewer what’s most important to you. They can also position you as a solid candidate for the role and set you apart from the competition.
- Showcase your numbers: Use as many facts and figures as you can when promoting yourself. How many people were impacted by your work? By what percentage did you exceed your goals?
- Send a note: If you feel the interview has gone well and you want to continue pursuing the opportunity, let the interviewer know. Tell him or her that you’ve enjoyed the interview; you believe you can thrive in the role, and you are interested in exploring the next step.
The national online survey was conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder by Harris Poll between May 11 and June 7, 2016, and included more than 2,300 full-time, U.S. hiring and human resources managers across industries and company sizes.