Interviews, Jobs

Recruiters Reveal 17 Keys to Scoring an Interview

Businessman shaking hands with businesswoman

Few things are more frustrating than sending job application after job application without hearing a word back. After all the time and energy you put into looking for jobs, drafting your resume, writing your cover letter, and more, the least they could do is reply, right?

Unfortunately, the fact is that recruiters often find themselves swamped. With dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of resumes to parse through, only a select few make the cut to the interview round. So if you want yours to be one of them, it’s got to stand out.

The good news is, there are numerous tips and tricks you can leverage to improve your odds of scoring an interview. To find out what those are, we reached out right to the source. Over a dozen folks in the recruiting and HR space shared the tips they have for candidates that want to set themselves apart. Start ironing that interview suit — you’re going to need it!

1. Highlight Transferable Skills

“The more research you can do, the better. When you know what an organization does, you’re better equipped to determine what types of roles are most suitable for your skills and experience. Focus on the knowledge and experience that you have that would be ideal in any role and could be transferrable no matter the industry – then highlight those skills in your résumé. It also helps to be prepared to relay in detail how those skills are helpful in performing the functions of the roles you are interested in, should you have the opportunity to interview with a recruiter or hiring manager.” —Chad Melvin, Vice President of Leadership, Learning and Development at Aflac

See Open Jobs at Aflac

2. Always Update Your Resume

“Keep your resume up to date. I get it; you’re not actively looking for a new position. But if your dream job fell in your lap tomorrow, would you be ready? Take a look at your resume every two to three months and provide updates to your experience, skills and keywords. It’s easier to do this in real-time instead of thinking back on all the things you’ve accomplished over the past five years! Don’t forget that you have a lot to offer. Why not position yourself in a way that makes it easy for those with hiring influence to reach out and work with you?” —Julie Cox, Sourcing Manager of Talent Acquisition at AECOM

See Open Jobs at AECOM

3. Take a Look Behind the Scenes

“Before you apply for a job, not only check out the company website, but find them on social media to get a sense of what the culture is like. At The Washington Post, we showcase our culture and employees on our @WashPostLife handle on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. It gives a candidate a sense on whether or not they’d enjoy working with us.” —Austin Graff, Talent Acquisition & Branding Specialist at The Washington Post

See Open Jobs at The Washington Post

4. Tailor Your Application Materials

“When researching our company, it would be good for candidates to go to the ‘About’ section on our website at to learn a little about what we do, as this could trigger other relevant experience that the candidate may want to add to their resume, cover letter, or note in the application. This could make a difference in being selected for the next step in the process.” —Dionna Smith, Recruiter at TSYS

See Open Jobs at TSYS

5. Apply to the Right Roles

“Read the job description beyond the title. You don’t like to be rejected, plain and simple. Take the time to read beyond the job title and understand the role you are applying for. I can’t tell you how many times we have had candidates apply for jobs where their skills don’t align with the role whatsoever. I understand there are candidates who are interested in a career change so if that is you, take the time to rework your resume to speak to the job you are applying for. You need to catch the recruiters eye in a matter of seconds, so do your due diligence and make yourself stand out!” —Josie Sandlin, TA Manager at Nutrabolt

See Open Jobs at Nutrabolt

6. Go Above and Beyond to Wow Recruiters

“Addepar unites an extraordinary team of engineers, product-innovators, and industry experts with a pioneering vision devoted to building the operating system for our financial world. Our team is reimagining the role of technology in one of the world’s largest and oldest industries—finance. We recommend candidates interested in Addepar read the book The Big Short by Michael Lewis. Addepar was founded in 2009, after the financial 2008 crash, to address the lack of transparency in the financial system.” —Lissa Minkin, VP of People at Addepar

See Open Jobs at Addepar

7. Demonstrate Your Passion

“Job seekers should take time to learn more about our company and the roles they are considering. Reviewing our website, watching our videos, viewing our social channels and talking with our employees can help provide a more realistic outlook of what it’s like to work here. We want them to have an understanding of who we are, what we do and what we value. Our interview process is just as much for the candidate as it is for us – we want each and every candidate to get to know the team, learn about our culture, and understand the day to day responsibilities of the role to make sure this is the right place for them. Every candidate who applies should be as passionate, driven and dedicated to our company as we are about them.” Courtney Jorgensen, Director of Talent Acquisition at Echo Global Logistics

See Open Jobs at Echo Global Logistics

8. Don’t Doubt Your Abilities

“Some people assume you have to know finance to join Goldman Sachs – this isn’t actually the case.  We have 17 divisions and hire people with a wide range of interests and experiences.  So long as you’re driven, intellectually curious and eager to work in a team-based environment, there’s likely a role here that makes sense for you.”  —Matt Jahansouz, Global Head of Recruiting at Goldman Sachs

See Open Jobs at Goldman Sachs

9. Get the Scoop From Current Employees

“Before applying to Famous Footwear, we’d love for candidates to come visit us at one of our more than 1,000 stores to experience the environment first-hand in addition to checking out our career site and our Glassdoor profile. Candidates who do these things have a realistic view of the job and working environment and have opportunities to hear directly from our associates.”  Marci Sigmund, Director Talent Acquisition at Famous Footwear

See Open Jobs at Famous Footwear

10. Double Check the Job Description

“Job seekers should take a thorough look at the job description, sometimes job titles can vary from company to company and it’s important the job seeker know what the job entails.” —Mary Ellen Appel, Recruiter at TruGreen

See Open Jobs at TruGreen

11. Scope Out the Workplace

“Cracker Barrel’s mission is ‘Pleasing People,’ which defines our culture and is felt from the moment you step into our retail store and throughout your dining experience. We encourage job seekers to visit our stores to see that firsthand from an employee’s perspective. They should also visit our website and social channels to learn about our heritage and diverse culture. These are fundamental elements of our brand and why people choose to work here, stay here, and love what they do here.” —Gwyn Bonasoro, Director Talent Acquisition, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

See Open Jobs at Cracker Barrel

12. Reach Out to Recruiters

“Job seekers should keep an open mind about the Automotive Aftermarket world and realize that there are tons of opportunities at NAPA that do not require an automotive parts background. Remember, it takes lots of diverse backgrounds and jobs to keep our company successful and they aren’t all parts jobs or people! We would love to connect with every single job seeker that reaches out to our Talent Acquisition team as we are honored that someone is interested in working with NAPA. Just try and be patient with someone getting back to you and remember to keep all of your communications professional with those who you reach out to, even if you haven’t heard back from them right away. I promise you that we do want to follow up, [it] just may be hard for Recruiters to return an email or call to every single person that reaches out.” —Denise Jones, Talent Acquisition & Employer Branding Manager at NAPA Auto Parts

See Open Jobs at NAPA Auto Parts

13. Apply to Companies That Match Your Values

“As a job seeker you should research potential employers and know if the organization represents your own personal values. At Kaiser Permanente, it is the KP Difference. We are relentless in our pursuit of excellence. Driven by our mission to provide the highest quality preventative medicine, we are committed to eliminating healthcare disparities, and to making lives better through innovation, technology, and research. We promote wellness among our members, communities, and each other. I encourage you to discover Kaiser Permanente through the testimonials of our employees. Also, come visit our website and spend some time with us, learning more about Kaiser Permanente, who we are, and whether our organization represents your own personal values. I enjoy sharing our mission and values with potential candidates — individuals who want to deliver excellent care in our communities. We have 200,000 dedicated professionals that make our strong, diverse organization THRIVE every day in the communities in which we serve. We are driven by our passion and strive to take Kaiser Permanente to the next level. If you are a dedicated health care professional who wants to deliver the best quality health care and reach your full potential, come discover Kaiser Permanente.” —Yvonne Vitale, Talent Acquisition Consultant at Kaiser Permanente

See Open Jobs at Kaiser Permanente

14. Do Your Research

“To learn about different areas of our business and hear from our team members, job seekers can visit our Who We Are playlist on YouTube. They’ll find videos about different areas of our organization and about the wide variety of career opportunities we have, from information technology to more traditional finance careers. Job seekers can also visit We Are Wells Fargo to see our offices and learn more about our company and job opportunities. Whenever possible, I also recommend reaching out to existing Wells Fargo team members on LinkedIn or via email to ask if they’d be willing to share their experience and provide information about opportunities within the company.”  —Carly Sanchez, Head of Talent Acquisition at Wells Fargo

See Open Jobs at Wells Fargo

15. Identify Your Career Path

“Someone once gave me great advice early in my career – salary and benefits are important, but you also want to work for a company that matches your personal values. Before applying to Sanofi US you should learn about our company by researching our corporate and US websites. You’ll see how we keep the patient at the center of all we do, how we work to meet medical needs and what we offer to our employees when it comes to work/life [balance] and professional development. Knowing this will help you to understand if Sanofi is the right fit for you. You also need to have a good sense of self and understanding of where you want to go in your career. At Sanofi we offer great resources and programs to develop our employees, but ultimately the employee owns their future career path.” —David Orr, Head of Talent Acquisition, North America at Sanofi US

See Open Jobs at Sanofi US

16. Demonstrate a Commitment to the Greater Good

“Research each company’s mission and values before you apply. Make sure what matters to you is also important to your future employer. At State Street, we believe in strengthening our future workforce, finding better ways to reduce our carbon footprint, and using our investing experience to benefit the communities where we operate.” —Kim Dinicola, Head of University Relations at State Street

See Open Jobs at State Street

17. Learn What Makes a Company Tick

“Job seekers should become familiar with Asurion’s culture, core values and the key stakeholders of the business to be successful in our application process.” —Kay Johnson, Senior Professional Recruiter at Asurion

See Open Jobs at Asurion

banner 5