Well Prepared for Your Application Part I
Recruiters' Tips from Japan and France
In 2022, Sartorius hired more than 3,600 people worldwide. The recruiting team has scanned through countless applications to identify the candidates they would invite for interviews and consider for a job. But what are they looking for? What gets their attention? And what convinces them most in the interviews?
In a two-part series, Sartorius recruiters from different regions share their application tips. Discover inside looks from Japan and France in this first edition.
This article is posted on Sartorius Blog.
Neil Shepherd, HR Business Partner, Tokyo, Japan
“I would recommend not including too much detail in the CV, but enough structured information to get a general idea of the person and the career path.”
Neil, a well written CV is important. What is the best way to structure it?
Typically, Japanese companies have very specific expectations of how a CV should be written, but global companies in Japan, such as Sartorius, are usually much more flexible in terms of format.
When I look at a CV, I like to be able to easily see the candidate's basic profile information somewhere near the top. A professional-looking profile photo can also help to create a positive first impression.
Personally, I would recommend not including too much detail in the CV, but enough structured information to get a general idea of the person and the career path and highlights.
Which information must be included?
I like to take a quick look at the candidate's journey, from the last steps of their education to the present. What I look for is the relevance for the industry and roles they have experience in so far, how long they have stayed with each company, the reasons behind each change of company and/or role, whether there seems to be a logical direction in their career development so far and whether there are any unexplained gaps.
Sometimes candidates simply list the names of the companies they have worked for. For me, however, some additional information about each company is helpful, especially if the company is not well-known in the same industry. For example, what industry is the company operating in? How many employees are there in the Japanese entity?
It's also good to see when candidates make the effort to include some brief information about the type of environment and role they're looking for. It is beneficial to mention specific aspects of Sartorius and the role that they find particularly attractive.
You mentioned gaps in the CV - what about them?
Career gaps are not necessarily a problem if you can briefly explain somewhere in the CV what you did during that time. However, if there are gaps after more than one company the candidate has worked for, additional explanation would be even more important.
What do you look for in an interview?
Two things are important to me: a candidate's personality and how they communicate and respond to different types of questions in a professional, thoughtful way. Although specific experience may be a "must" for some roles. I believe that at the end of the day it's a candidate's personality, mindset and passion that will determine their fit with the company and the role, so it's very important for me to be able to get a clear sense of these things through the interview process.
What are the absolute no-nos in a job interview?
Above all, dishonest answers. This can either take the form of an apparent contradiction between a candidate's answers to different questions, or the candidate giving the impression that they are trying to give the "perfect" answer that they think the interviewer wants to hear.
Visual communication is also critical, particularly if you're being interviewed virtually. I think it's very important for candidates to make sure they're participating in the interview from an appropriate, quiet environment, and to use background effects (such as blurring) when necessary. A lack of either of these can unfortunately create a less professional overall impression.
Maxime Satta, Recruiting Specialist, Aubagne, France
"Do your homework and research the company, the values, the products and the job itself. Then look into yourself: how you can contribute to the company’s goals?"
Maxime, what do you look for in an application? What is the most important document?
The most important document is the resume. The cover letter is a plus. When prioritizing, I focus on efficiency and clarity in the CV – we like simplified things at Sartorius. As a recruiter, I need to understand what you would be bringing into the company – ideally already in that first look.
What questions should candidates prepare for in the job interview?
First of all, it is not only about well-prepared answers to questions - the whole preparation for the interview is key. Do your homework and research the company, the values, the products and the job itself. Then look into yourself: how you can contribute to the company’s goals? The aim is for the candidate to show the recruiter that they have understood what we are looking for and brings a relevant package.
Are there any no-goes in a job interview?
No preparation – that’s a no-go because we can instantly tell if someone isn’t prepared. But also the opposite: too much preparation. Candidates run the risk of losing themselves with too much preparation. Perfect answers are not what we’re looking for. The aim is to be yourself and to authentically present yourself in the best possible light.