Ask a Recruiter: What Makes a Candidate Stand Out?

Ask a Recruiter, For Candidates

This is the first installment of our new series called “Ask a Recruiter”, in which we pose a question to our executive recruiters about hiring, interviewing, job search, and more. If you have any questions you’d like to ask for this series, please leave them in the comments.

Question: What makes a candidate stand out to you (aside from obvious qualifications)?


Kelly Nelson, Executive Recruiter specializing in the Hospitality and Tourism industries
When I review a candidate’s resume I am focused on his or her career path and history. I am looking for a steady progression with reasonable tenure in each position. It is not unusual for an individual to change positions more rapidly early in their career.  This is not a problem provided that the moves seem rational and obviously progressive. I am looking for a steady progression with reasonable tenure in each position.

However, If this trend continues later in the career with numerous assignments lasting less than two years – it generally is a red flag.  It is also problematic if the recent career moves are regressive – positions with lesser responsibility and decreasing compensation.

My suggestion is that candidates be very careful when considering a new position – is it clearly a move forward? Does the position represent growth?  How will the move be perceived? Is the market position of the company consistent with prior assignments? These are basic principles for candidates to consider in terms of long term career building and what I look for any time I review a candidate.

Nora Bright, Executive Recruiter specializing in the Nonprofit and Arts industries
I have had candidates send me hand-written notes in the mail after I’ve spoken with them on the phone about an open position, or sent them off to an interview. Even if this particular job opportunity doesn’t end up working out, the candidate’s extra effort can make them stand out in my mind for future opportunities. I really appreciate when candidates make a special effort to say thank you.

Recruiters are often seen only as an intermediary- we aren’t always thanked by candidates for our hand in the hiring process, even when we help them get a new job. So I really appreciate when candidates make a special effort to say thank you. It also shows that the individual is thoughtful and detail-oriented- qualities which will impress our clients.

Bristol Associates, Inc. is an executive search firm with over 50 years of excellence in recruiting nationwide. Bristol specializes in recruiting for the Casino Gaming; Hotels and Resorts; Travel, Tourism, and Attractions; Facilities and Concessions; Food and Beverage Manufacturing; Restaurant; Hospital and Healthcare; and Nonprofit industries.

If you’re interested in working with Bristol Associates, click here if you’re an employer or here if you’re a candidate.

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