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A Guide to Candidate Etiquette – Pre, Post & During Covid

A Guide to Candidate Etiquette – Pre, Post & During Covid
Job ApplicationsArticleHow ToInterviewingAdvice for Candidates

​A couple of weeks ago, we put a job advert online here on LinkedIn.

The next morning, we had to take it down – a mere 12 hours or so later – due to the massive amount of applications we received overnight.

And almost every single applicant was entirely relevant.

It’s something which recruiters and hiring managers all over the world are experiencing right now; team Certus UK are experiencing much the same over in London. A huge amount of people have found themselves, almost entirely unexpectedly, looking for a new job.

That means an increase not only in applications, but in relevant applications, as the job scene is flooded with talent. And it’s this talent-rich market which really means you need to stand out as an applicant – in the right way, not the wrong one.

I’m grateful not only to have kept my own job, but that it allows me to help others secure a new one; as a result, I’ve put together a guide for job seekers as to the etiquette which might help you do just that.

Candidate etiquette tip #1: phone manners matter

If you’re out there actively searching for a job right now, my advice is this: be prepared for every phone call you receive from a private or unknown number to be opportunity knocking (or calling, if you like), and answer it appropriately as such.

First impressions count, whether they’re made on the phone or in-person; this means answering the phone in a professional way (for example, using your name – “Leanne Mohan speaking,” or “Leanne here, how can I help?”) makes all the difference. Answering the phone in an abrupt, terse or impatient manner doesn’t give off the best vibe. Similarly, if your surroundings aren’t ideal (loud noises, distractions, poor signal etc) then be sure to answer professionally, quickly take down the details of the person calling, explain the situation, and ask if you can find a better place to talk and call them back shortly. This will be hugely favoured over struggling through a difficult, awkward and disjointed conversation!

Candidate etiquette tip #2: organise your applications

Whilst you’re undoubtedly applying for many jobs, that fact only makes it more important to properly keep a record of what you’ve applied to, when and where. If you’re not doing so, how can you expect to be prepared when the call does come?

Save yourself being caught off guard by a call from a recruiter or employer, finding yourself having to mentally scramble and put the pieces together as to which role we’re calling about – it just doesn’t get any call off on the right, let alone best, foot. Creating a simple

Word document or even an email draft where you make a note of the company/agency, job title and date you applied to each job will give you something to quickly refer to – and allow you to come across as confident, knowledgeable and organised. Not only this, but the act of copying each job down will naturally reinforce the role in your mind, meaning it’ll be easier to draw upon when you pick up the phone.

Candidate etiquette tip #3: recruiters are a job-seeking tool like any other – use us!

The process begins here; we’re effectively a direct line to a business which is currently hiring, and presumably someone with skills similar to your own. Speaking with a recruiter may seem like just another step to endure but, simply put, we want you to get the job – truly. Our own success depends on the success of you, and others like you, securing a position which is a great fit; when you receive a call from a recruiter, it’s not a test – it’s a qualification.

If your skills match the job description on paper, we’re not necessarily trying to understand whether you fit the spec – we want to learn more about you, your personality, if there’s cultural fit with the client we know so well. Don’t be afraid to showcase who you are and show some enthusiasm; if you come across lacklustre and indifferent, the likelihood is we’ll feel the same when we put down the phone. And with so many candidates to qualify, many of whom possess the skills we and our clients are looking for, that could make all the difference.

All in all, the idea is this: job searching should be best foot forward, at all times. Whether you’re speaking with a recruiter, the HR department, the hiring manager or even the CEO his or herself, candidate etiquette is key to consider. How did you come across during that call? Did you do yourself justice? Did you ultimately give yourself the absolute best chance of success?

Whilst Covid has certainly shaken up the job market, it’s fair to say that these coaching tips should stand, universally, whatever the circumstances; I’m proud to say that since joining Certus here in Australia almost exactly a year ago, I’ve been providing candidates with exceptional experiences and constantly offering advice and coaching along the way – having been on the other side of the fence myself, it’s something that resonates with me. To check out the roles I’m currently working on, head to our jobs page – – and don’t forget to write down the ones you apply to!

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