If at any point in your job hunting process you’ve wondered what goes on behind the scenes, you may want to read further.
We frequently get asked questions about the recruitment processes, or how HR managers perceive candidates, or what works and what doesn’t. So we wanted to share with you all the advice and insights directly from an HR Manager. We got in touch with Batool AlWedaei, HR Business Partner at Danzas Bahrain (DHL Global Forwarding). Having worked extensively in recruitment, Batool has been involved in hiring, and selection and has come across all sorts of candidates. We asked Batool to share her experiences and shed some light on what is it that hiring managers look for in candidates, and here’s what she had to say.
What makes certain applicants standout to you over the others?
In my opinion, it is always the personality that makes any candidate stands out. Don’t get me wrong, technical knowledge and experience are important but what makes me choose one candidate from two who have the same technical knowledge would definitely be the personality that fits the vacancy and the workplace atmosphere.
How important are the experience requirements when applying for jobs, and should experience matter over skills?
Well, very tricky question. Because from my three-year experience in this field I have always seen it differing from one vacancy to another. As in some roles, experience does really matter because it brings with it the skills, the knowledge, and the network that the employer is looking for, sometimes the experience does even sculpt the personality and the soft skills which makes it tempting for the employer to not compromise on the experience.
However, in some roles, which it even states experience is needed, when we see a fresh graduate with the needed skills and the personal traits that can bring the spirit and the change which the company is looking for, the employer would overlook the lack of the experience and will prioritize the value that the fresh talent brings along, due to the fact that experience can be gained, skills can be taught but the vibe and the personal traits are difficult to change.
Sometimes, the element of time rules the situation too. The employer might be in need of someone who can join and immediately start performing without the urge to provide basic training of the field. Meaning, when there is an urgency to fix a situation, an experienced person is probably needed.
Should experience matter over skills? No, definitely no. but let’s keep in mind, that usually experience brings with it the required skills for the vacancy. Experience doesn’t mean the number of years worked, experience means the technical and personal skills gained, the technical knowledge obtained, the stakeholder management. I think I can say that it always goes back to the employer and the element they are deciding to prioritize whether, time, experience, personality. And for that, I am a big believer the famous “Experience Requirement” should never prevent anyone from applying to any role.
What are some realities of the recruitment process that you’d like job seekers to understand?
The recruitment process is not a selection tool for the company only, it is an employer selection tool for the candidate too. You can judge and get to know the company through its recruitment processes.
What is the right way to follow up on job applicants, and actually make sure to get noticed?
I don’t recommend following up, as if there is any progress in the application whether positive or negative, HR will keep you informed. However, if you have to follow up I would say the best communication method is email. Doesn’t guarantee an answer, yet doesn’t seem very clingy either.
If you want to stand out, the interview is the right time to do that.
What are some best case practices based on your experience that you’d like to share with job seekers?
Being yourself in the interview is the best thing a candidate can do. If we are hiring you, we will work with the real personality of yours, not the temporary personality we have seen in the interview.
When a candidate applies for a vacancy, certain expectations shall be drawn in his/her mind. Not having expectations will make it difficult for the applicant to evaluate the opportunity if it is a go for or not.
Job offer stage is a stage where both parties can negotiate the offer. I have noticed a couple of applicants, especially the fresh talent, that if the offer is proposed and they are hesitant about it, they would immediately reject it without negotiating it. It worth saying that this is a bargaining stage, push and pull till both parties reach a middle ground. So, don’t be afraid of stating your doubts and clarifying the grey area.
What are some deal breakers that might affect candidates’ chances of securing the job that they should be aware of?
Dragging the job offer acceptance for a period of more than 10 days. Emphasizing on the monetary part more than the practical part of the job. Coming to the interview without doing the simplest homework of reading about the company.