What? That was part of the selection process?

What? That was part of the selection process?

It’s amazing how many times we see people put enormous effort into their written applications and interview preparation only to undo their hard work in a few seconds. They forget the other parts of the selection process that might even count more.

selection process
Read time: 3½ minutes | Author: Nick Deligiannis - Managing Director, Hays Australia & New Zealand

As well as testing the claims you’ve made on your resume, recruiters and employers draw on all their interactions with you when assessing if you are a right fit for the job.

In the job world, the moments you don’t think count for, much often count a great deal. There is plenty of competition for the best roles. When a number of candidates share the same level of technical strengths and suitable experience needed for the job, more weight is given to each candidate’s interpersonal skills and the general way they conduct themselves.

4 other parts of the selection process

1. Treat your existing employer with respect

When asked if you can attend an interview during a workday beware the offhand remark. Saying, “Sure, I’ll make up something for my manager” or joking about creating a doctor’s appointment could run up a red flag. A potential employer will see the way you treat your existing employer as an indicator of how you will treat their organisation if you get hired.



Accommodating interview times whether by phone, Skype or in person can be tricky. Most people conjure up a health appointment or family commitment so they can attend an interview. You may feel entitled to duck out given your record of providing hours of unpaid overtime to your organisation but that won’t impress a potential employer. 

2. Be aware that anyone you meet could be part of the hiring decision

Some candidates want to save their best game only for the moment they sit down with their potential boss. However, that moment may never come if you don’t treat each person you encounter in the selection process with respect and interest.

Most candidates know to give recruitment consultants their best as they have a major influence on the hiring decision. However, any number of other people could influence the selection decision to a degree. The receptionist who greets you, an executive’s PA (especially a CEO’s PA) who offers you a glass of water or the team member who shows you around. Anyone you interact with could be asked for, or volunteer, their opinion of you.



Making small talk is all about building rapport and it can be a great way to ensure you are remembered in a positive way.

Use a little forethought to think up suitable conversation bites you can roll out while being escorted to the interview room whether that is by a recruitment consultant, HR team member or a potential co-worker or manager. Steer clear of anything controversial, gloomy or negative.

3. Video interview etiquette

Interviews by Skype and video link are increasingly common in this busy world, so ensuring everything “in frame” reinforces the great stuff you’re saying is vital.

As well as the obvious – dressing as you would for a face-to-face interview and removing clutter and overly personal items such as laundry or dishes – think about what else is in view. Work documents or personal papers such as bank statements could make you appear careless or indiscreet.

Your choice of reading material could be a plus or a minus. Dress the set appropriately and keep it uncluttered so the interviewer focuses on what you have to say.

4. Email and text blunders

Why spend hours on your cover letter and resume and then write a sloppy, cryptic or unprofessional email or text message? 


Recruiters are dealing with any number of assignments simultaneously while for employers filling a particular role is only one of a myriad of business issues they are managing.

Treat every email and text message with the formality the selection process requires. Use the “subject” line of an email to help the reader identify what your email relates to, for example, the job title and then “interview time” or “additional referee”.  And use the appropriate greeting whether that is Dear (person’s name spelt correctly) or “Morning/Afternoon” (person’s name). Avoid getting too chummy by sharing social chitchat, using nicknames or become too informal, like “Hi mate”.

When you’re job-hunting, all your actions and interactions need to reflect the image you are trying to project. Keep that in mind and you will be remembered for all the right reasons. Even if you don’t pass the selection process, you will have created a good impression that will serve you down the line.

Did you nail your first interview? Here’s what to expect in your second job interview, or learn about salary negotiation.