Survey reveals top rules for job applications

30 Jun 2010

A new survey of employers by international recruiter Hudson reveals some of the golden rules for successfully applying for jobs, as well as pet hates and preferences of interviewers.

Released today, the survey finds that the classic advice of having a firm and memorable handshake still applies, with 68pc of employers rating this as important or highly important.

CVs should still be short, with two pages the ideal length, according to 57pc of employers. A large proportion of employers, meanwhile, said they would be negatively affected by creative use of fonts, colour and images or graphics, suspect spelling or grammar, or use of jargon within CVs.

As regards the interview itself, formal business dress is still rated as important by interviewees, along with good hygiene and cleanliness. On meeting with the interviewers, 64pc of respondents said they would be impressed with the candidate standing up straight and smiling. While 72pc of employers said humour is important, an overwhelming majority said they would harbour doubts or be extremely unimpressed by candidates lapsing into sarcasm.

One of the biggest turnoffs was revealed to be candidates leaving their mobile phones on, with 78pc of employers surveyed saying they are extremely unimpressed by this.

“It’s interesting to note that despite a world that has changed dramatically over the last decade or so, many of the ‘traditional’ approaches to and assumptions about CVs and interviews are still as current as ever,” said Aileen Hallahan, Hudson.

“When it comes to what employers are looking for from a prospective employee, it is experience, knowledge, smartness, a positive attitude – and foresight! So letting your mobile go off in an interview is not a good idea!” 

Hudson’s top tips for CVs and interviews include:

·      Put relevant experience first: 88pc of employers say they read this section first. Only 13pc of employers said they are likely to read the ‘education’ section of a CV. 

·      Don’t leave CV gaps unexplained: 92pc of employers say a candidate should explain any gap in their work experience history.  If you’ve been travelling, say so.  If not, say what you used your time for, pulling out the skills you practised or new experiences you gained.

·     Think carefully about when to ask about salary: When it comes to asking about salary, opinion was split.  One in four (27pc) employers expect some form of query prior to interview, but 25pc expect it at first interview stage and 23pc at second interview. Hudson said candidates will need to make their own judgment call based on the particular job they are applying for. 

Click here for the full Hudson survey.

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