Greg - Head of Recruitment

How To Be The Perfect Candidate

Is there such a thing as the perfect candidate?

Perhaps not, but in our experience you can get a whole lot closer to perfection by following a few simple, but golden, rules.

We’ve spoken to a range of employers that we work with regularly to get their views on what makes the ‘perfect candidate’ in the property industry.

Perfect Your CV

It all starts with your CV. Before you’ve ever had the chance to wow them with your rhetoric, you’ve got to get passed the brutal filtering stage. Has your CV got what it takes?

Of course, there are certain boxes you must tick. Your CV must not contain any errors – spelling, grammar, formatting or otherwise. If you can’t be bothered to thoroughly proof your own CV, why would you be bothered to proof your work at your new employer?

It needs to be concise and easy to follow. Formatting is key – you must spend time laying the CV out as you would want to read it. The ability to scan is essential, so clear signposts (typically sub-headings) are important. Allow your reader’s eyes to immediately flick to the bits they want to see, particularly education and work history.

Once those boxes are ticked, you should spend time before each and every application making sure your CV is appropriately bespoke to the job at hand. Scatter-gunning a standard CV is likely to be ineffective, because your employer has a set of criteria in their mind that you must hit. Research the company and make sure your experience, qualifications and personal statement are (subtly) adjusted and filtered to get as close to those criteria as you reasonably, truthfully can.

Work On Your Interview Technique

What makes a good interview technique? It’s a broad subject and perhaps something we’ll cover more fully in a future article. For now though, here are some abridged tips:

  • Listen – sounds like an obvious one, but it is a common attribute to guess what a person might be about to say in conversation and jump the gun. We all do it, but an interview is not the place for it. Listen carefully, absorb what you’re being asked, think about it and then respond with due care.
  • Ambition – employers want staff who understand the power of hard work. Ambitious people tend to work as hard as they can to progress their career, whilst those who are content may be happy to ‘coast’. Show your interviewer that you consider change as opportunity, that you want to contribute to their success.
  • Integrity – it’s very tempting in an interview to present yourself as the ‘perfect candidate’, we’re discussing it right now! But ‘perfect’ need not mean flawless. Everyone makes mistakes, it’s essential to our learning process, so to sit in an interview and claim you have no weaknesses, no mistakes in your past, is simply a lie. Integrity is important to whether an employer can trust you, so are you willing to discuss those mistakes? Can you talk about how they improved your skills and made you a better employee?
  • Likeability – relax, smile and be confident. Ultimately, how good you are at your job is the most important point, but there are likely to be a number of candidates with at least your skill set under consideration – at least for roles at larger companies. Beyond skills, your likeability is your biggest point of differentiation.
  • Passion – being genuinely passionate about what you do is infectious and attractive. So talk enthusiastically about your industry and your role in the interview and impress them with your knowledge, including from aspects of the property industry outside your own field. A truly passionate property professional will read around their subject, keeping abreast of property specific news, policy developments, white papers and consultations.

Whatever you do, don’t lie

Talk about heaping pressure on yourself! Lying in a CV might get you an interview, but it’s a surefire way to ensure you crumble in it. Interviewers will ask you probing questions. You will be grilled on your history and, if your stories don’t stack up, you simply won’t get the job.

So if you don’t know the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 like the back of your hand, don’t claim to! If you haven’t read the NPPF cover to cover, don’t say you have. Stick to the truth and operate within what you do know.

As we’ve explored above, you need to be confident and in control. If you’re sweating buckets, fidgeting and worrying about them exposing a particularly crucial lie – you will be neither of those things.

And even if you actually got the job, your lie is likely to be exposed down the line anyway. Finding and getting a new job is a stressful, disruptive process – you don’t want to have to do it again in six months time!

BBL Property are the UK’s leading property recruitment agency. If you’re seeking a new role in the property sector, you can register your CV with us today (for free). We’ll be in touch to explore the options we have available.