Dear Soon-To-Be-Candidate,

I hope that this letter finds you well. Before you come and see me, I’d like to tell you a few tips (if I may) for your next interview (or whatever’s next in the process).

I want you to stand out. Please do. Interviewing a bunch of people in a day is tiresome. As a matter of fact, I often forget the not-so-memorable individuals. You might think that is unfair, but that’s reality. Keeping notes greatly helps though, but I’d rather remember somebody worth remembering.

The more people you interview, the more spread those interviews tend to be, and the more likely will any interviewer remember a candidate by impressions rather than by a long list of facts.

Most of the time, HR people who interview applicants remember by unique traits or associations such as: “the man who can do ballet”, “the woman who does triathlons”, or “the guy with the handcuff-ready stainless-steel briefcase.” So, be sure to be remembered right.

Yes, I want you to stand out, but not for being tawdry. If you stand out for the wrong reasons, you’ll be damned. It is easier to remember sound bites that are negative. So, don’t be cheap and showy (tawdry).

Commonly, tawdry candidates would complain about their previous work, employer, or customers, or the government  without any prompt. These are negative sound bites mind you.

I want you to be likable. We all want to work with people we like, and like us in return. So, do everything in your power to look nice. Please be warm and personable. I want you to look sincere. I want you to be enthusiastic about this interview and the job you are vying for.

I’ll let you in a little secret:

“A candidate who makes a great first impression and sparks a real connection instantly becomes a big fish in a very small short-list pond.”

I want you to ask lots of questions about what really matters to you. I need to know whether I should hire you, but just as importantly I need you to make sure the job being offered to you is a good fit for you.

See 15 Smart Questions to Ask Your Future Employer

I want you to ask for the job… and I want to know why. By the end of the interview you should have a good sense of whether you want the job. If you need more information, then ask. Let me help you make your decision.

If you don’t need more information, then ask for the job please. I’ll like the fact you asked. Also, please tell me why you want the job. Tell me why you are the perfect fit for the job.

I want you to follow up… especially if it’s genuine. Who doesn’t like an appreciation follow up? We, recruiters and interviewers, all love follow-up notes thanking us. It’s nice. But I’d appreciate it even more if you have something else to bring to the table (no, I don’t mean you send me food) related to the job, or anything we’ve talked about.

Example: Perhaps we’ve discussed some industry-wide problems a person in your desired position is most likely to encounter. I mentioned there’s no satisfactory solution to such problem yet. I’d appreciate it if when you follow up on your application, you bring something like a solution, or at least a supposition about how you are going to deal with the said problem. You’ll definitely stand out!

Or, if you like travelling, you might want to send me a postcard, too.

Best regards,

Your well-meaning recruiter,