Little Things Can Make the Job Candidate

Showing up with a copy of your resume seems so last millennium, compared with what some jobseekers have done.

A survey of human resources managers by Office Team reveals the most impressive action they’ve seen or heard an individual take to try to land a position.

Among responses:

  • An applicant walked in with coffee and donuts, and her resume underneath.
  • An applicant outlined what he planned to do for the company in his first six months.
  • A handmade get-well card when an applicant heard the hiring manager was under the weather.
  • Offers to work for free.
  • Traveling a great distance just to be interviewed.
  • An invitation to coffee.
  • Contacting a board of directors to try to make a case for being hired.

The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 650 HR managers at companies with 20 or more employees in the U.S. and Canada.

Some job seekers did a little show-and-tell:

  • “I recall applicants who have impressed me with their overall marketing approach. A few have sent in fancy CDs that contained a video message explaining why they should get the job.”
  • “Someone applying as a car detailer brought in his own vehicle to demonstrate his skills.”
  • “One woman showed up with a suitcase full of binders containing letters of reference, certificates of achievement and other accolades.”

There were professionals who shined by going back to basics, such as familiarity with and expertise with the company; a follow-up email; explaining skills in a way that correlated directly to what a company needed for the position; a thank-you note right after the interview; examples of work; persistence in calling to make sure they got the position; arriving in a three-piece suit for an entry-level position; and arriving on time and well dressed.

Sometimes simple is better: employers just want the truth. “Extreme tactics aren’t always the best way to stand out with hiring managers,” said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Often, perfecting job-search basics can get you noticed.”