Candidates waiting in chairs to start recruitment process
Want To Stand Out In The Recruitment Process? Use These Marginal Gains
March 8, 2021

Standing out in the current job climate can feel like an impossible task. But making the top 5% of talent in the recruitment process is actually easier than you think.

It’s all about marginal gains. Implementing just some of the following suggestions will make all the difference.

CV formatting

AI software is used by a large number of businesses and recruiters to filter candidates and whittle down their list, so this is a step that you can’t afford to skip. You could have all the knowledge necessary and a perfect set of skills, but if your CV doesn’t match the algorithm, you might not be shortlisted in the recruitment process.

In addition to understanding how these algorithms work, it’s vital that you meet the hiring manager’s formatting needs – whether that’s putting the most important information at the top, summarising previous roles through bullet points, or uploading your CV in a particular file type.

Written language

The presentation of your CV is one thing, but you also need to watch your language. Steer clear of business jargon, buzzwords and clichés. Saying you’re ‘enthusiastic’, ‘passionate’, ‘motivated’ or ‘solutions focused’ is best avoided too. They’re extremely overused phrases when it comes to CVs, and they should be a given – after all, who’d want to hire someone who wasn’t motivated?

Instead, it’s a great idea to use strong action verbs, especially at the beginning of your CV. These will help show your contributions and exude confidence. We recommend words like ‘initiated’, ‘championed’ and ‘accelerated’, but remember not to use the same verb more than once.

Body language

When it comes to interviews, non-verbal cues are just as important as what you say. Poor body language, such as slouching, is easily done. But if you have an awareness of such behaviour, you can ensure it doesn’t happen in your interview – whether it’s in person or via video.

Sitting up straight is an obvious one, as well as keeping as still as possible. We suggest leaning forward slightly to demonstrate that you’re listening, although you shouldn’t get too close. Remember to smile too – you’ll come across friendlier and more likable. And, while it’s always good to use hand gestures, you don’t want to go overboard.

Interview questions

Then there’s how you communicate verbally. Of course, you can never know exactly what you’ll be asked in an interview, but if this isn’t your first, you’ll be aware of the type of questions you can get. If you’re lacking in experience, don’t panic – there are plenty of example interview questions to be found online. We recommend role-playing them with someone at home, or with a friend virtually. This is a particularly good idea now that video interviewing is becoming the norm in the recruitment process, and could remain so in the future.

It’s not possible to practice every interview question out there though – there simply isn’t time, and there will always be one that you’d never expect (‘who would win a battle between a ninja and a pirate?’ is a question that has popped up in the past!). However, we’ve put together a list of the most typical ones:

  1. Tell me about yourself
  2. Why do you want this role?
  3. What are your greatest strengths?
  4. What do you consider to be your weaknesses?
  5. What is your greatest professional achievement?
  6. Tell me about a problem you dealt with at work
  7. Tell me about a time you made a mistake
  8. Why are you leaving your current role/why is there a gap in your employment?
  9. What’s your management style?
  10. How would colleagues describe you?

See how we can help you stand out

Marginal gains are what separates you from other candidates and can ultimately win you the role. Here at Outplacement Services, our goal is to support individuals like you on the journey from redundancy to a new career. We make the process as straightforward as possible by delivering webinars, providing advice and CV tips, sharing interview techniques, and offering wellbeing support.

We can also help if you’re an employer who would like to support their outgoing staff – simply call us on 0203 805 7020 or email

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