It’s a common expression in football punditry these days. “They wanted it more” is often put forward as the reason one team triumphs over another. For the viewer it’s hard to imagine how multimillionaire stars could be found wanting when it comes to desire to win. Yet we know there’s some truth in it.

Back in the 90s, Alabama emerged as the site of the first Mercedes Benz manufacturing plant in the US, after much lobbying from other states. Alabama was in many ways a surprise choice, but among the key factors in its favour was ‘they made us feel wanted’. It’s a factor the IDA exploits so well here in lreland.

It is no different in recruitment. CVs tell us a lot, but not always how much the candidate wants the job. And that’s important to employers.

Often candidates spend lots of time trying to differentiate themselves on a CV. That’s a good thing, but sometimes there are easier ways to stand out from the crowd. Some examples struck me in recent weeks.

Pick up the phone

Quite recently I was recruiting for a position in banking and finance. I received lots of applications, and was very happy with the standard of CVs that came in. Then I waited for the phone to ring. Of all the hungry jobseekers who had invested such effort in formulating these impressive CVs, how many took the time to pick up the phone? Just to say ‘Did you get my CV?’ or ‘I’d really like this job’. You guessed it. None. In an age of email, the 30-second call would have instantly set them apart from the crowd. It would have told me they really wanted the job … and would probably have landed them an interview.

Do a recce

Thankfully, come interview time, someone did stand out. In asking a candidate the cursory “Did you find us ok?” one answered “Yes, I came by yesterday just to see how long it would take.” That left a very positive first impression. The impression that he really wanted the job. So there’s a tip – recce the journey the day before the interview so you know the location and can gauge the traffic. And then make sure the trip isn’t wasted – drop it into the conversation at interview.

Research!

A more obvious one, this. Doing your background research on the firm always impresses, because not everyone does. Check if they have been in the news of late. Check the share price, even. And, again, make sure you make a reference to that in the conversation. Remember – the interview is mostly about you, but firms love talking about themselves!

Quick conclusion: Getting a job may be hard, but sometimes separating yourself from the pack isn’t.

Damien Kehir is Managing Director of Eden Recruitment.