If you want to work for the best, you’ve got to strive to be the best. Your goal as a job seeker should be to stand out from the crowd for all of the right reasons, and at all of the pivotal moments, from application to negotiation and, ultimately, on the job.
So instead of applying for the job right away, it’s important pause for a few minutes and carefully consider where you are applying. Instead of submitting the generic resume and cover letter, consider tailoring your approach to each role. Learn about the company, explore its mission, research what other employees say. This will make you an informed candidate that recruiters cannot resist.
Not convinced? We spoke to hiring managers and executives at the Best Places to Work to uncover what they expect from informed candidates who apply to open roles. Here’s what they said you need to know before clicking “Apply Now”.
Be inspired and motivated by the mission.
“To succeed at Glint, it takes a passion for our mission. Between our people and our platform, we have the power to transform the way we work and the way organizations support their employees. If you’ve ever worked somewhere where you didn’t feel you had a voice, you understand the importance of what we’re building. People who thrive at Glint let that passion drive them and have an attitude of ownership: of the company, their own career development, and the culture we’re crafting together.” —Alexandra Coonce, VP of People at Glint
Get a current employee to refer you, if you can.
“We look for great smiles and people who love being around people. We also want Associates who have a natural commitment to serving our customers. We can teach just about everything else. We find a surprising number of our best new hires are referrals from current Associates. Great people tend to hang out with other great people.” —Lynsi Snyder, CEO of In-N-Out
Be prepared to show and share your authentic self.
“I’m not interested in what somebody’s skills are. I’m interested in the traits that makes them who they are. I believe you can train anyone to do something, but the core of who the person is way more important than the skill set that they’re arriving with. Instead of an interview, instead of talking about what they’ve done and what skill set they’re able to come in with, we’re focused on what makes them who they are. We look for very specific traits, we look for people that are positive and optimistic, honest and caring, people that are mission driven, people that want to work for something that is bigger than themselves. We’re asking questions about what inspires them, what’s the hardest thing that they’ve had to overcome in their life.” —Asher Raphael, Co-CEO of Power Home Remodeling
Explore and be interested in the company culture.
“Jobs at Delta are enormously competitive, which is a good situation for us. For example, last year, we had 150,000 applicants for 1,200 openings for flight attendants. So we look for the best of the best – those who have strong skills and experience but also those who we know will be a good fit for Delta. If someone is brilliant at their job but doesn’t fit or values or culture, they won’t be successful here.” —Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines
Know who you really are and what you really want.
“As important as what they know, is who they are. For us, that means: Do they have a love for the outdoors? Do they care about introducing other people to it? And do they want to be a part of something bigger than themselves and make a difference? When we find those kinds of people, they immediately become part of a community that REI represents.” —Jerry Stritzke, CEO of REI
Show passion, drive and talent.
“I distill what we’re looking for in candidates down to three items: passion, drive and talent. In general, we ask our hiring managers and the employees that we’ve selected to be part of the interviews to always be focused on hiring people better than themselves. If you’re given the opportunity to grow your team and you seek out someone better than yourself, then you’re going to make the company better.” —Brian Bjelde, VP of HR at SpaceX
Be an informed candidate.
“We love when people do a little extra homework to learn not only about our hotels and restaurants, but also our culture and core values such as wellness, the environment, diversity and inclusion. Those who have a 360-degree view of their role will be set up for success and can hit the ground running. If you’re a self-starter, motivated, compassionate, have a great sense of humor, and a passion for hospitality, we’re the right place for you.” —Ginny Too, VP of People + Culture at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants