Tag Archives: recruiters

Response to the Frustrated Recruiter Lady

While reading an article titled, “You are the Laziest Jobseeker Ever,” I felt sympathy for a recruiter who writes in near stream of consciousness describing lazy, apathetic jobseekers. From the sounds of it, she had certainly had enough of jobseekers who don’t give a damn. She is a frustrated recruiter lady.

I once wrote an article on jobseekers who actually care about their hunt and make great efforts, despite being rejected many times over. They are the people I meet on a regular basis in my workshops and coach them through the process, the ones who go about the search the proper way—networking, sending targeted résumés, using LinkedIn, etc. They are not the ones portrayed in this article from the Frustrated Recruiter Lady.

Frustrated Recruiter Lady describes in her article jobseekers I optimistically like to think don’t exist, ones I conveniently store in the back of my mind. They are the people over whom my colleagues and I pull our hair out. “Does this person want this job?! He won’t even return a phone call on a sure thing. The employer says she wants him,” we say with exasperation. But these jobseekers are far and few between.

Frustrated Recruiter Lady exasperatingly writes that when a jobseeker responds to her with a fragmented e-mail instead of a well thought-out cover letter, it is inexcusable and deserves her wrath. She writes, “THEY did not sign their names or include their phone numbers which means that I had to go back to CareerBuilder to look them up… well guess what YOU MOVE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE LIST THAT WAY!”

Chill out, lady, I want to say when she overuses those all-cap words. Doesn’t she know writing in all caps is like shouting? But I can also  understand why she is misusing capitalization; she is frustrated, as I would be.

“So I am not going to dig back through Careerbuilder to find you again?” she continues. “Yes I most likely saved you in a folder or put you on my work list, but still, your lack of investment in the process makes me think you are flighty.”

This is how she reacts when she gets a response like, “I’ll get back to you.” I’ll get back to you? No, I think, you should answer Frustrated Recruiter Lady’s message IMMEDIATELY. (Yes, I’m shouting.)

I have to admit that my desire to help this type of apathetic jobseeker is minimal at best. The way it works with recruiters is that they are not working for the jobseekers; they’re working for the companies that pay them money to satisfy a very important need—filling a vacant or soon to be vacant position. They are not the jobseeker’s best friend, but by helping their customer, they are ultimately helping the jobseeker. They’re simply the middleman…woman. The jobseeker holds only one card, the card that tells them to put it on the line.

The recruiter is the person who won’t or can’t penetrate the walls of companies who prefer to engage in the Hidden Job Market.

I understand Frustrated Recruiter Lady’s annoyance, and it’s not because of the way she capitalizes the eleven words above. It’s the same way I feel when I’m leading a workshop and an attendee forgets to turn off her cell phone. And when it rings she doesn’t turn it off. She lets it ring until I mockingly say, “I like that ringtone. Where did you get it?” Many in the room laugh at my sarcasm.

Yes, Frustrated Recruiter Lady, it should be the way you want it to be, as long as you’re fair and honest and care one little bit about your next-body-to-fill-a-position person. When you think about it, the job of a recruiter can be difficult. So give her the respect she’s owed and pick up the phone or send a cover letter. That’s the way the game is played.

One of my jobseekers approached me the other day and asked if she should send a quick text to a recruiter’s inquiry or reply with a well-thought-out cover letter and résumé. I smiled and, of course, told her to play her card the right way.

Recruiters advised to interview properly; jobseekers advised to be well prepared

Listen up jobseekers! Recruiters are looking for and finding better ways to interview you. In-house or third-party recruiters are being advised to find the right candidate, not the one who interviews best, but the one who can do the job. The one who can still do the job six months from the time he/she’s hired. 

What does this mean to you? Everything recruiters are advised to do, you must follow their lead…and more.

In Ben’s (simply Ben) article, 5 Ways a Recruiter can Improve Their Interview Technique, posted on http://www.recruitersblog.com/, this recruiter offers his colleagues some sage advice on how to hire the best talent through proper interviewing techniques and attitude. What he has to tell his colleagues is exactly what those of you who seek the help of recruiters should know. What follows are a few of Ben’s notable points.

Recruiters shouldn’t base their decision on interview “performance.”

There are those who interview well but can’t do the job. In other words they’re frauds. Conversely, there are those who don’t interview so well, but can do the job. They suffer a bout of stage fright. Ideally recruiters would like to present people who have both qualities to the hiring manager; but the latter is much more preferable than the former. Side note: unfortunately performing well is still something you must strive to do. Prove you can do the job and then do it.

“I’m sure we’ve all had experiences we’re we’ve hired someone because we got on with them at the interview stage,” Ben writes.  “Then, six months into the role, he or she were still great people but couldn’t/struggled to achieve what was required of them in the first place.”

Don’t focus on first impressions.

Another thing I admire about Ben’s thinking is how he tells his colleagues to deemphasize the first impression interviewers make. Don’t ignore it completely, but don’t make it a deciding factor like we’ve heard done so often in the past. Some say a recruiter or employer will make his/her decision within the first 30 seconds. Here’s what Ben suggests to his colleagues:

“My challenge to you? Be really disciplined on this one. Take those first impressions (we’re all human after all and can’t switch off this natural reaction) but park them.  Write them down somewhere at the beginning of the interview and refer to it again at the end to compare with your final thoughts.”

Use behavioral interview techniques.

One last thing I’d like to point out is the value of behavioral questions. Ben nails this one on the head when he talks about speculative responses as opposed to proven responses. All of us can rehearse for the traditional questions, but the answers we provide to a behavioral question are proven over and over to be accurate…and truthful:

“Just because a candidate says they will do something in 5 weeks time if X Y or Z happens doesn’t mean they actually will.  Instead of asking them what they would do if something happened simply switch the question around.  Ask them for specific examples where they’ve encountered that situation and what they actually did. What were the results? What were the challenges? What were the biggest lessons and how did they change as a result?”

Job search advisors are hearing more and more about how recruiters are employing the best practices to present the right people to the employers, candidates who have not only the technical skills but the transferable and adaptive ones as well. Jobseekers can hope that recruiters and employers will practice best interview techniques, but they must also be prepared for poor interviewers.

Recruiters and staffing agencies say your soft skills are important too

Based on two recent blogs I read on LinkedIn Today (a great feature), recruiters and staffing agencies are not only concerned about job candidates’ hard skills; they’re also concerned about their soft skills. And this makes sense. Who would want to hire a dud who brings the operation down with his attitude? Jon Prete, “Who would you hire: Charlie or Ashton? It’s all about attitude!” and Jeff Haden, “The 5 Biggest Hiring Mistakes,” both emphasize the importance of hiring someone who will be a good fit.

This said, how should you prepare for the job search with this in mind? Here are five areas of your job search to focus on.

1)       Be the round peg for the round hole: “The outstanding salesman with the incredible track record of generating business and terrorizing admin and support staff won’t immediately play well in your sandbox just because you hired him,” writes Haden.

Let’s face it; if you’re difficult to work for, you have one strike against you already. Look at yourself long and hard and determine what areas in your personality you might improve. Also determine in which work environments you feel most comfortable. If you’re a demanding person with little tolerance, you might consider an atmosphere with other demanding people…where you can’t terrorize other people.

2)      Show it on paper: Many jobseekers say writing about their soft skills on their résumé and in their cover letter is irrelevant. This is bunk, especially with your cover letter. I don’t suggest that you use clichés like, “hard worker,” “team player,” “dynamic.” I suggest you illustrate these traits through your accomplishments. Show rather than tell.

A Manufacturing Manager who has a team-work approach and leadership skills might write: Consistently met production deadlines through collaboration with colleagues in various departments and providing effective leadership to (formerly) unmotivated subordinates. Result: Products were shipped to customers with a 97% return rate.

3)      Talk about your soft skills while you’re networking: “I hate bragging at networking events,” I’m constantly told. “Nobody wants to hear about my personal qualities.” Yes they do. If someone is going to recommend you to a solid contact, wouldn’t you like to be assured that she will tell him that you loved what you were doing; you were a positive influence on you co-workers? Demonstrate your enthusiasm while you’re networking, whether at events or on the sidelines of your daughter’s soccer game. Instead of saying, “I’m innovative”; say, “I came up with ideas that were often implemented and led to significant cost savings.”

4)      Of course demonstrating your soft skills at the interview is important: This goes without saying. Interviewers today are using behavioral questions to find the people with the right attitude. “If crafted properly,” states Prete, “behavioral questions can provide a glimpse into a candidate’s decision-making process as well as their values. [Leadership Development Advisor, Beth Armknecht Miller] believes that a great majority of employees fail in a company because their soft skills and values don’t match those of their manager and company.”

Unlike the résumé where you have limited space, the interview provides you the platform to tell your stories using the STAR (situation, task, action, result) formula. You may be asked about your ability to effectively discipline subordinates. “Tell me about a time when you were effective in disciplining an employee. How did this help the employee perform better?” Have a story ready.

5)      Seal the deal: The interview is not concluded until you’ve sent a follow-up letter, I tell my workshop attendees. This is another opportunity to emphasize your strong personality skills, making you a better fit for the position than other applicants. Many jobseekers fail to send a thank you note, and some don’t get the job for that reason.

A former customer recently wrote me, “The HR person really liked my hand-written thank-you note; said it was rare.” The message here is that you can stand out as a courteous, professional, and follow-through type of candidate simply by sending a thank-you note.

Jobseekers generally think that recruiters and staffing agencies care only about the technical skills. (After all, recruiters can’t present a zebra with orange stripes to their client when a zebra with black stripes is called for.) But two recruiters are telling you that employers want a great personality fit, as well. Take their advice and sell yourself as an all-around employee from the very beginning.