Educate November 2018

Professionalism Crucial in Job-Hunting

Written By: Craig W. Petrus

From the moment you hit the “apply” button on your computer, your interview starts. It is important to keep in mind that recruiters and hiring managers are observing and critiquing each and every interaction you make throughout the entire interview process.

This includes simple back-and-forth emails, phone calls and how you interact with others during the interview process. Possessing effective communication skills is just another key factor to the interview process. Here are some important things to keep in mind when communicating during the entire lifecycle of the recruiting process.

Email Interaction

A very good way for recruiters and hiring managers to assess candidates during the hiring process is to observe how they engage in simple email interaction. Remember, recruiters and hiring managers are analyzing your every move throughout the entire process, so it is important to communicate effectively via this medium.

When interacting via email, keep it professional. This is not the time to be informal with your language or try to establish the “cool factor.” A majority of the time, you are interacting with someone you do not even know, someone you have yet to build rapport with, so keep it professional.

Communicate the same way you would as if you were in a live interview. Keep in mind, emails are just another way to assess your writing skills. Recruiters and hiring managers view this as a “writing sample,” so be sure to reread your email a few times before hitting the send button, checking for grammar and spelling mistakes that spellcheck may not have picked up.

Be sure to structure your email the same way you would a cover letter, with an opening greeting, a paragraph or two and a proper ending. When replying, be sure that you are addressing the actual content of the original email as well, and that you are providing the information that the sender is actually requesting.

Take time to read the email two or three times, gather your thoughts, then write your response. Oftentimes we read emails too quickly and make assumptions about what is being asked of us without truly understanding what is being communicated. Be sure to understand the purpose of the email prior to responding.

Phone Calls

Similar to email communication, keep it professional the whole way through. There is indeed an opportunity to build some level of rapport during a “non-interview” phone call (which, again, remember, is actually part of the entire interview process itself), but keep it professional and courteous, and not informal.

Be careful in your choice of words, so as to not communicate anything that could be interpreted negatively, controversial or awkward. Listen intently to what is being said and do not interrupt. Wait for the pause in the communication or the invitation to respond, prior to responding.

Maintain a positive level of energy and excitement on the phone, so as to establish your high level of interest for the company and position for which you are interviewing. If you do not sound excited about the opportunity, they will not be excited about taking you through the interview process.

As the phone call ends, be appreciative of the interaction you just had. Thank them for their time and consideration of you as a candidate. Tell them to have a great day and that you look forward to hearing from them again in the near future.

You want to end the call on a positive note so that they hang up feeling good about you as a candidate, someone who they feel comfortable with and who would fit well within the culture of their organization. While you may not know the culture of their organization at that exact time, remember, everyone wants to surround themselves with friendly people. So be kind, friendly and appreciative.


Whether it is the official interview or not, communicating effectively in-person is a very important factor of the entre interview process as well. From the moment you park your car for your interview, your every move is being critiqued, even when it comes to how you communicate with individuals such as parking attendants, lobby personnel or administrative assistants. They all are just as important as the hiring manager. The way you communicate to the president of the organization should be the same way you communicate to the parking attendant and everyone in between.

Each person along the way is assessing your level of communication. Each person along the way absolutely has a voice in the interview process, so it is important to communicate effectively the whole way through.

There may also be times in which you interact with people outside of the formal interview process, such as networking events or chance meetings within your community. Again, be cognizant of these situations and be sure to communicate in a way that reflects positively in their eyes. Keep it professional but friendly. Build a positive level of rapport, without going overboard in trying to establish the “cool factor.”

Hiring talent into an organization is extremely important to the overall success of a company and/or department. Hiring managers want to be confident that the person they bring on board is the right person to join their team.

Many important factors go into determining candidate fit for an organization, and the ability to communicate positively and effectively is just as important as the rest of them. If you take the time and effort to communicate effectively during the entire process, not only are you differentiating yourself from other candidates, but your chances of being the “choice” candidate are that much greater.

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