When I was in transition, I spoke with plenty of recruiters. Most of them had a job description in hand and would look for a mirror image of that job description on a resume. It was easy to see that if there was one bullet on the job description that wasn't listed on the resume, the conversation stopped. I want to know why recruiters treat intelligent people like they're incapable of learning? Learning is ongoing for professional people and let's face it, the Internet provides an amazing springboard for research.

Every position cannot be all-inclusive to every company and recruiters and hiring managers should understand that an intelligent person can learn new areas of their jobs if it's a requirement. If recruiters have a strong candidate, they should make an effort to build a relationship with the candidate so they can make a professional assessment about their current competencies as well as the candidate's innate abilities to take initiative and want to learn more. There are, what I like to call, "Steady Eddies" who are great employees; however, they're not going to be superstars. Not everyone can be a superstar and that's okay too, but that's a topic for another day. In addition, hiring managers and companies need to stop expecting recruiters to wave a magic wand and find their perfect candidate. The perfect candidate is non-existent!

In closing, it would be peachy if recruiters and hiring managers would understand that people aren't perfect and companies aren't perfect. There will always be a hole or a void somewhere on the resume and it's a matter of determining the priority of that skills void. Talk to the candidate and let them share their work and personal experiences with you. Stop using the recruiting process to rule out candidates and start using it to court them. When a candidate knows you want to learn more about them, they'll be less nervous when they speak to you and inclined to share their experiences candidly. Maybe then candidates will stop being on the defensive with recruiters and recruiters will stop accusing candidates of lying.

This is human nature folks, don't overcomplicate it. Thoughts?

Views: 226

Comment by Mervyn Dinnen on January 13, 2011 at 6:50pm
Love the post Kimberly, so true and so frustrating. I have used the phrase 'Hire for Attitude, Train for Skills' a lot and even written a blog with that title. It should be the way that companies hire but rarely is. Most 3rd party recruiters (certainly in the UK) will find their market share being squeezed as direct and social recruiting grows...they need to offer insight, and that starts with helping the client find the BEST person, the one with the right attitude, values and motivations, not the one that ticks some arbitrary boxes
Comment by James F. Jeter on January 14, 2011 at 11:10am
I totally agree with you, Kimberly. However, I have found the fault does not always lie with the recruiter. Some hiring managers will state they want a specific quality and if the applicants doesn't have it, they do not even want to look at the resume. Once I find the applicant is lacking that particular quality, why should I keep on interviewing the applicant when I have dozens more I need to look at and I have so many hours in a day? The fault many times is with the HM and their expectations, not the recruiter.
Comment by Sandra McCartt on January 14, 2011 at 12:29pm


Sometimes we have the flexibility with a position to put forth a candidate who may not have all the bells, sirens and whistles a client expects, sometimes we don't.  When a client signs on with a recruiter to pay a 20 to 40K fee they expect and demand that we deliver a candidate who does not require much training/learning or down time before they can take over full responsibility for a position.


Sometimes there are quirks to a position that only the recruiter knows and may not be able to share with a candidate.  ie; client says, "We have tried two people in this position who did not have all the background for this spot but we thought with a bit of training they could get up to speed."  It didnt' work we don't want to do that again."  In the past few years companies have been working lean and mean so many do not have the latitude to take a risk with a new employee who does not have all the bells, sirens and whistles.  Some of that will change with the market.


Unfortunately the frustration for most recruiters is the same as that of the candidate. We do look for reasons to hire based on the job requirements.  As the first line of screening we filter out candidates then when we submit to our clients they look for reasons not to hire as the second line of screening

before the resume ever gets to the person making the final decision.  We can try and sell attitude all day long but 90% of the time clients do not pay recruiters big fees for great people with great attitudes if they don't have most of the bells, sirens and whistles.  Sometimes a candidate without a lot of the requrements gets hired because of smarts and attitude but normally not through a recruiter who has been charged with finding a superstar in order to justify our existance.


Frustrating for all concerned but a fact.  We too wish it were not so.



Comment by Kimberly Roden on January 17, 2011 at 9:15am
I appreciate all of your comments and thank you for taking the time to leave them.  There's always learning and growing for anyone who works with people and this issue is no exception.  Thanks for your candor and I look forward to enjoying more of your perspectives.
Comment by Michael Stoyanoff on January 17, 2011 at 11:31am

I agree Kimberly. If recruiting was as simple as the toy baby's fit shapes into, we'd have all happy clients and candidates.

I know I did not have all the qualifications for the job I am doing now, but the passion and personality were there along with a good amount of the technical experience. However, in the time I have been here I have learned a great deal more and still my employer is happy with my work. Did I fit the description entirely? No, but it still worked out in the end.

Comment by Jason Monastra on January 17, 2011 at 1:01pm

This is a hot topic of mine and I love the way you placed it at the forefront of this forum.  Transitional skills are very important and must be reviewed when discussing future positions where a professional might be a strong match.  If someone matches 100%, trust me they are not the right person.  Professionals do not want lateral moves but advancement.  Find someone that has 80% of what is needed, the core of the role while offering them 20% of ancillary skills to learn.  This generates strong interest in the role and company, plus keeps retention high.


When companies want a checklist and recruiters screen people out via a list of questions, the company is doing no good for itself.  It places itself in a challenging position to find the perfect person while not looking towards the future, an oppossing view of the candidate.  Job Seekers look at opportunity, not just the job at hand.  They want growth and the capability of learning new skills.  Companies that seek a checklist are seeking the wrong thing, they are seeking a part in a machine.  Companies that seek value in their employees are looking for skills, soft and technical, ones that can be developed and provide long term advacement.


True professional recruiters or negotiators must be in a position to court both the company and candidate, providing a win-win and educating the client on why hiring someone with most of the skills and a desire to learn is better than hiring the best person on paper.

Comment by Saum Sharifi on February 1, 2011 at 3:51pm
I agree with your statement Kimberly - "In addition, hiring managers and companies need to stop expecting recruiters to wave a magic wand and find their perfect candidate." - That is very true. For example, if a hiring manager is asking for someone with 10 years of experience, and a list of other skillsets, and I present a candidate who has all of the skills they ask for, and has say, 6-7 years of experience, or even 5 years, but this candidate is also a MBA, Masters degree Ivy League graduate, with good job stability in their limited experience, it is quite ridiculous for a hiring manager to pass on their resume without evaluating them in person. Not only is the person with less experience more affordable, but often times they are just as capable if not more than the person with more years. That's just one example of many... In many cases, candidates are worth evaluating in person, before eliminating or judging based off their resume.


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