What Recruiters are Looking for in 2024

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In a competitive job market, where cutbacks and innovative technology are reshaping industries worldwide, and career paths are being threatened, having a high-quality CV will set you apart. 

According to CV writing assistant StandOut CV, only 20% of CVs received for a single position are shortlisted, which means that 80% of CVs don’t make it past the first screening. StandOut CV also cites that recruiters only spend six to eight seconds, on average, reviewing each CV. So providing them with all the information they’re looking for, while remaining concise, is essential in securing the role you want. 

However, with shifting trends and a glaring skills gap, HR departments and recruiters are becoming increasingly demanding when it comes to selecting the right candidate. Therefore, your CV and their first impression of you should be memorable enough to help you stand out from the competition.

To give you more insight, below we discuss what recruiters are looking for in 2024.

1. Skills-Focused CVs

Recruiters and employers are becoming more and more attracted to applications and individuals who display a wide variety of skills that can be transferred from one profession to another. 

Gone are the days when extensive work experience would guarantee you a role. Today, more value is placed on transferable skills, which showcase a candidate’s capabilities to adapt to new roles. Reflective of this change, however, is a survey by Forbes which found that 70% of current professionals don’t feel adequately prepared to step into a professional role due to the high expectations set by employers. To get ahead of this, it’s in an applicant’s best interest for their CV to display their relevant and transferable skills for easier screening, regardless of industry and position.

What are transferable skills? 

Transferable skills typically encompass both soft skills, such as communication, writing, time management and organisation, as well as hard skills, which can include computer skills, cyber security coding and digital marketing. Perhaps the most significant aspect of transferable skills, however, is that they stick with you throughout your career, continuously improving and adjusting to help you grow as a working professional. 

By creating a skills-based CV, recruiters can more accurately measure how suitable a candidate is for an open position, while also giving L&D  departments insights into the skills future organisational training should hone in on. 

Don’t forget that many recruiters employ applicant screening software to automatically screen through thousands of applications in order to identify the most qualified candidates. Oftentimes, these screening softwares look for keywords, which in most cases relate to transferable skills, so having a skills-based CV will help you get past the first software screening and into the interview stage. 

2. Social Media savvy 

The rise in popularity of social media for business has led to many recruiters turning to candidates’ social media profiles to gauge a sense of what each applicant is passionate about, and whether their work is one of their passions. 

Many recruiters support the idea of applicants updating social media profiles, regularly, such as LinkedIn, with important career milestones, even when they're not looking to change jobs.

However, it’s vital to filter through what is worth sharing and what isn’t. So, consider stepping into the shoes of a recruiter to give yourself some perspective.  

For instance, consider including job promotions and qualifications to showcase your commitment to your industry and a desire to grow, while engaging with industry-relevant content by sharing, commenting, and liking - all of which suggests passion and drive to stay on top of industry trends and news. 

Displaying social media savviness doesn't stop where it concerns individuals’ career accomplishments though. Social media profiles are also reviewed by recruiters to screen and better understand candidates’ personalities.

Remember that your future employer will likely look at your social media to understand you better, which may be scrutinised if you come across as unprofessional in any way. This isn’t to say you need to police yourself if you’re having a fun night out, you only need to be mindful of what you wouldn’t want a recruiter to see. 

3. Individuals who take initiative and are self-motivated

According to Twin, an employment and training provider, 31% of hiring professionals are looking for candidates who take initiative, which is the second most valued characteristic they’re looking for next to multitasking skills.

Oftentimes, during a hiring interview, candidates will be asked to give an example of where they showed ingenuity during their career. Employers want to hire individuals who are fast thinkers and aren’t afraid to step up and show initiative, so it’s important to be prepared to answer this question in a timely manner. 

Utilise the STAR method to answer this question, showcasing your skills and abilities, while also reflecting on how the initiative had a positive impact on you and the company as a whole. First describe the Situation you were presented with, then explain your role and Task, in order to reach the desired solution, the Action you took to overcome the issue and finally the Result that was achieved. 

Employers hold in high esteem individuals who are self-motivated and can take charge of their work calendars and lead meetings, tasks and projects, without needing constant micromanagement. This showcases your ability to drive results independently, making it a quality of value to recruiters in every industry. 

4. Candidates with aligned values 

For many employers, cultural fit is a very important factor when hiring the right candidate for their company. Seeing that a company or brand’s number one ambassadors are its employees, it’s important that you share similar values, morals and principles with the company you hope to work for. 

During a hiring interview, chances are you’ll  be asked about your  personal values and how you believe they align with those of the organisation, to determine whether you’re  the right fit for the company’s culture. It’s imperative to be honest with yourself and your interviewer when answering such questions, however, it’s always worthwhile researching the company, in advance, to determine its mission and the morals it holds at heart.

According to The Role of Workplace Culture in Recruiting Top Talent report, by recruiting company Robert Walters, 90% of employers consider it very important to find candidates who are a good cultural fit, while it also reports that 73% of professionals tend to leave their job as a result of a poor cultural fit. 

Thus, making sure you’re open and honest with recruiters with regard to your values and priorities will save both you and the company a lot of effort and time. The last thing you want to do is work for an employer that has completely different views and morals than you do. You likely wouldn’t work for a fur coat distributor if you were a vegan, right? You’d be left feeling demotivated, disengaged, and suffering from a sincere lack of belonging. Instead, recruiters want you to be you so they can match you with the right employer. 

5. A growth mindset with a passion for continuous development

With the world of work  continuously changing, adapting and modernising, recruiters are always looking for individuals keen to learn and evolve to keep up with these fast pace changes. 

Professionals with a growth mindset are motivated to work towards higher levels of professional achievement through continuous learning, developing new skills to help them reach their career aspirations. 

For recruiters, having a growth mindset shows that you can be easily trained in a new role due to your adaptability and willingness to learn. In fact, a study by Emeritus, found that employees who work for companies that value a growth mindset are 34% more likely to feel a strong sense of commitment to their organisation. 

Whether this means taking on a professional course, teaching yourself new skills you can apply to your role, or simply having a curious approach to your organisation’s operations, anything you do to encourage development in your skills and knowledge, will put you in an advantageous position with future employers.

What Recruiters Want 

Recruiters and employers are looking for the same thing: the right fit. Recruiters look to solve a problem, so presenting yourself as the solution to that problem will put you ahead and make you stand out from other applicants.

Good luck!

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