How to Make Employers Want You

How to Make Employers Want You

Alexandra Levit

Wall Street Journal Career Journal Most people in the job market today would consider themselves lucky to get a single good job offer. Receiving multiple offers sounds like a dream, but for some, this scenario is very real. They are the candidates every company wants.

Nicholas Rosenthal of Newport Beach, CA, recently interviewed for real-estate investment jobs and found himself with his pick of opportunities. Mr. Rosenthal, 26 years old, feels that his blend of experiences in commercial real estate have made him especially marketable. "Having someone who worked on the buy side but also understands investment on the sell side was advantageous to employers," he says.

Mr. Rosenthal's network of job contacts also was a factor in many of his offers. "I am active in major industry trade groups, and I asked the heads of those groups to make introductions on my behalf," he says. "Because I was brought into companies at a high level, I had an immediate degree of credibility when I interviewed."

Show How You Will Fit

Contrary to what many believe, most firms in most industries are hiring, even now. "In tough times, there is a flight to quality," says Jeff Schwartz, a partner with Deloitte Consulting's Human Capital Group. "Companies are out there cherry-picking the most critical players. Candidates have to think deliberately about how their skills will fit a job." For this reason, the most successful candidates target prospective companies carefully, using the Internet and their networks to learn about organizational culture, history, financial performance and recent news.

By the time the interview takes place, they are able to have an intelligent discussion about the value they bring to the position, and the employer can easily envision them starting tomorrow.

Attractive personal qualities are a service orientation and diversity. "Explain to an employer how you are involved in your community, and if you have a legitimate interest in what the company is doing from a social-responsibility perspective, discuss that," Mr. Schwartz recommends. "And of course, every employer today wants to hear that a candidate is flexible and has a wide range of experiences."

Connect the Dots

Even desirable candidates, though, aren't immune to the perils of follow-up. The best job hunters manage the hiring process at the various firms to which they're applying, and they don't assume that one hand knows what the other is doing.

"You'll generally have a better shot if you interact with a company via multiple entry points -- a recruiter, a human-resources manager and a personal contact," says Mr. Schwartz. "And every time you're introduced to someone new, you should connect him or her to the individuals you've already met."

Finally, nothing takes the place of demonstrating excitement about every firm you approach, and this enthusiasm should be expressed to everyone from the relative who is a company alum to the receptionist who greets you in the lobby. Even if an organization isn't your top choice, you want to be its top choice. As you round up those offers, the power to choose will be with you.

This article is reprinted by permission from, c Dow Jones & Co. Inc. All rights reserved.

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