• Recruitment

Does your job search seem endless? Here may be why

(Don’t worry, nothing)

Those candidates either hardly get invited to a first interview, or they reach the first interview but not the second, or finally, they pass all the tests but always “finish second” in the final round. Yet they have all the skills the market is looking for! Does that ring a bell to you?

We are writing this post because, most of the time, minor adjustments can change a lot. Our advice is to check where the bottleneck is and then take action.


You send more than ten applications, you know your profile fits, but you hardly get invited to an interview? It means something in your CV is not working. Our finding: most of the time, the recruiters did not understand your CV. Simple as that.

Here is a list of reasons why recruiters do not understand your CV :

  • You used internal acronyms and specific wording only your current employer or an expert in your branch would understand. Most recruiters are generalists:
    • OTC for Over the counter in the pharmaceutical industry,
    • POC for Percentage of completion in the engineering industry,
    • RtoR, OtoC, PtoP in a shared service center
    • Even Supply Chain sometimes means Manufacturing and sometimes Logistics, depending on the company.
  • Your job title is too original, and you do not fall into a clear category: if you are “Senior BPA and process partner lead,” we doubt many will understand. For information, it is allowed to modify your job title on your CV as long as you explain it;
  • You come from a different corporate culture, and your job title is not adapted to the Swiss market:
    • An Accountant in the US is a Financial Controller in Switzerland or sometimes a “Head of financial reporting” (not a bookkeeper);
    • A Management Accountant in the UK is a Controller in Switzerland;
    • A Controller in the US becomes a Regional CFO in Switzerland.
    • Commercial finance in a US company becomes Business Controlling in Switzerland.
    • Director is a middle management title for some US firms and refers to the C-level for the Europeans.
    • A Leiter Finanz is usually a Head of Accounting or finance manager, not a CFO.
    • Someone in charge of the consolidation becomes a Group Accountant.
  • Your CV looks like the front page of the NZZ or the Economist… candidates usually ask us, “how many pages for my CV?“. We think it is not a question of pages but rather a matter of space: can a recruiter read your CV diagonally and get a picture of your career in a few seconds? A few seconds: that’s all recruiters have to make the first filter.
  • The introduction, also called “Executive Summary,” can sometimes give an impression of arrogance. Some candidates write grandiose sentences, which eventually end up similar to everyone else’s CV. For instance, “a dynamic and motivated strategic CFO with a proven record of generating and building synergies and coaching individuals to success” does not -in our opinion- bring much-added value to one’s CV- at least in a Swiss environment. We would recommend being more factual (industry, concrete achievements)- we will assess your soft skills during the interview.
  • Some expressions are so generic that they lose meaning. For instance : “Presentations to the management” / “month-end closing” / “building reports/ Ad hoc projects“. What is the purpose of your job?
  • Always describe your company’s industry, especially if your firm is not well known. Key figures are more than welcome (FTE, revenue, etc.).
  • A photo is… a double edge sword. We are hardly objective about ourselves, so ask around what people think of your photo. If you are unsure, remove it: a photo is never mandatory.


About the interview’s technique, a lot could be written. We are different, and there are so many articles on the topic. We believe the mindset on your way to the interview can be the game-changer :

“Come to help and not to sell”

  • The hiring person you are going to meet is worried. Remember that the hiring manager is concerned they might hire the wrong candidate or miss a dark spot in your experience. After all, maybe you are hiding something. So an interview is not about proving you’re the best but rather reassuring the counterpart. Make sure they trust you.
  • The person you will meet is in pain: a hiring manager must hire because they have too much work and insufficient resources, right? So the key message you want to deliver is: “I will help you, and I will make your life easier.” This should be your cornerstone in the conversation.
  • Only then can you prove you’re the best.


If you reach the last round, the hiring company is convinced you can do the job. Still, we often see candidates who keep pushing to convince on their skills “I can do the job,” “I have the skills,” “you can call my references.” But this is not necessary anymore: now is about connecting.

What prevents from connecting?

Our main finding: the candidate forgets to express their motivation (yes). Although very trivial, this misses oft at the end of a hiring process. The candidate would keep selling their aptitude for the role, while the hiring company would now love to hear something like “I think we would be a great team together” or “I feel I would be happy in your team.” Recently a candidate of ours told the hiring manager: “this job is for me; I’ve known since the beginning that it is my dream job.” And it worked. She was too junior on paper, but she passed all the others. Again, this sounds trivial, but we do see it constantly- and it does make a difference;

There is also often something about the attitude. It never is obvious, and giving honest feedback here is touchy for most employers. Usually, this happens when the candidate went through a traumatic professional experience (a burnout, a restructuring, absence of promotion…, you name it) and when the wounds have not fully healed. It is difficult to explain how, but we noticed the hiring manager feels there is something in the air without being able to put their finger on it. This feeling of not getting a complete transparent picture can be a killer when closing the recruitment. Our advice here is to make sure you are at peace with your professional past. More than a failure, it is a fact of not assuming your history that generates concern in the recruiter. By being serene (and honest) about your experiences, you share something personal and automatically connect with your future boss. This one is not easy, we know 🙂

Finally, let’s remember that the decision at this stage is usually highly subjective. So one should not worry if they do not get chosen. We can hardly avoid the unconscious biases from the employer’s side, sometimes flirting with silent discrimination: the gender, the age, or your cantonal accent (true story!). We believe that if you get until the last round, you should be able to win against stereotypes with a proper sense of humor and a relevant attitude. And if not, this was not the right company for you: no regrets!