The Importance of Following Instructions

In an effort to put our best foot forward, many job seekers and new hires tend to overlook the obvious.  In our efforts to showcase our ability to add value we need to also stay focused on the minute details, one of which is following instruction.  This starts in the application process and holds true for the entire recruitment process, from phone screening, to phone interviewing, to face-to-face interviews and does not become any less important during onboarding, orientation and training. 

It’s simple, perhaps too simple, the ability to follow instruction.

The application process can be tedious.  Often times we apply to jobs that are “one click apply” on modern job boards like LinkedIn and Indeed.  However, just as often, the job advertisement that catches our eye leads us to the company career page with instructions to fill out a detailed job application that may take upwards of 30 minutes to an hour.  First, in addition to attaching your resume, the application may ask you to enter, re-enter or verify information that was pulled from your resume.  Take your time and pay attention to the instructions. 

If you are selected for the next step after your application, a recruiter phone screen, otherwise known as a pre-screen, be sure to listen and pay attention to the questions you are being asked as to not derail the conversation.  The recruiter is often tasked with compiling specific information and has a limited amount of time.  It may be tempting to want to share anything and everything and sell yourself as this may be your only opportunity to have a person to person conversation, but trust that your resume has already sold you to the company.  You meet the requirements, that is why you’re on to this next step!  Answer the question that is being asked.  No more, no less.

So, the phone screen went well and now the hiring manager wants to talk to you!  The same principles hold true. The hiring manager has a limited amount of time and has been tasked by HR, his peers, and managers, to compile certain information.  Again, as tempting as it may be to over share, remember to answer the question(s) you are being asked in a clear and concise manner.  Not too short, not too long winded.  Find a balance and stay there.

Congratulations!  You have been selected for the role and have accepted the offer!  Keep these principles in mind during onboarding and training, its simple, just follow instructions.  The most successful employee relations stem from this small and often overlooked detail.  Focus on truly being a sponge and absorbing as much information as you can about the employees, the culture, your duties, and your schedule.  Once you complete the training and probation period, you can then start to shift your focus to adding value.  Until then, just follow instructions.