It ain't rocket science, folks. Or is it?

Sometimes I think too much. 

I know this about myself and counter that tendency by focusing on the slogan (yes another one) "Action breeds action" every single day. "When in doubt send them out!" is another one that rings true in my ears.

However, that doesn't mean we should present a candidate without thinking, it doesn't mean our job is to fling crap at the wall without preparation. 

On this board we sometimes talk about how we should prep candidates for interviews, and how much is too much.  Good discussion for sure. In a tangentially related topic, I have been thinking (obsessing) about how we prepare resumes (or the term I use - presentations) for our client's viewing.

In my mind I wear an FBI Profiler hat - both when looking at prospective candidates and also when I look at the position description. The description gives me important information - both in what is written, what isn't,  and what is written between the lines. These clues often determine who gets an interview and who doesn't.  I imagine we have 10 seconds for a reader to make a decision about our candidiates.  It used to be 30 seconds -  but I think people are busier now.

Thus when I share a presentation with my client, it is a thought argument for that candidate getting an interview.   That is its only purpose.  I fervently believe that I need to construct that argument in a detailed and methodical manner with critical eye toward overcoming obstacles.  I have to think like a skeptical client and overcome any objections.  I also believe, equally fervently, that recruiters re-writing resumes is not only bad form but stupid. What is the point of getting an interview if the moke doesn't have the skills to do the job, right? Right.

So part of my process of qualifying candidates includes me gathering information for the presentation which is *always* tied directly to the requirements as given to me by the client.  If they give me enough good juice, they get the keys to the kingdom (the client's name), and an invitation to the dance.  If not, well they haven't earned my time.  I make them do the work of putting their best foot forward in regards to writing the resume focused on speaking to their experience and showcasing their background in the language of the job description.

That is the part that trips up a lot of the recruiters that work my jobs - enough of them and often enough to actually shock me. It seems so basic, so very remedial, to simply makes sure that the candidate has all the skills on the job description.  Why wouldn't we do that?!  Enough don't (in my direct experience) that I realize how frustrating many of our, collective,  resume submissions must be to our clients.

It is one of my most important points of qualification to ask the candidate to use the words the client uses to showcase their work and to give me some concrete examples of them doing what the client is seeking.  It really is much like a secret code, and when I don't use the code, I increase my chances of failure.

Here is yet another slogan:   "Words Matter." In our business they really matter, and if we forget that we are lost. Sometimes people can use the same word to say to different things.  Sometimes different words can mean the same thing.  It is our job to make sure that every candidate we represent has the chops to accomplish what the client desires.

Paying attention to the words on both sides of the equation is how we can do that. So very simple, and yet how many of us don't do it? Too many. Let's stop.


Views: 336

Comment by Paul Alfred on September 14, 2011 at 11:42am
Lisa there are qualified candidates out there who really don't know the first thing about writing a good resume especially the resume that translates to  " I know you want to extend an offer before you meet me"  ...  I will leave the management consultants out of this list - then again ...  perhaps not ... A little guidance and hand holding is sometimes necessary...
Comment by lisa rokusek on September 14, 2011 at 12:17pm

Oh heck yeah, Paul.  But one would assume that recruiters would master that focus.  

Hey, it even transcends both the agency and internal distinction.  If we as recruiters don't help our candidates persuade the decision makers that they are a fit, who will?  In a way this post is so basic as to be an embarrassment, but still I see and hear about recruiters not practicing basic positioning, and also catch myself doing it too.  Just making sure I put my money where my mouth is.

Comment by Amber on September 14, 2011 at 1:13pm

Can't imagine how well it can work for recruiters who aren't doing this preparation before sending out a resume, but I guess it must work sometime, somewhere.

I spend the time with my candidates "translating" their skills, abilities, and reason for being a great match with my clients position. Even if they have a terrific resume, it is rare that something may not need to be added, removed, or re-worded to best suit what I have found my client is looking for. I do have the candidate fully understand and participate in what I will be sending forward. Hopefully, it ends up with a sucessful placement for me, but I think (and hope!) it also gives the candidate some skills they can use in the future.

Comment by Jerry Albright on September 14, 2011 at 2:04pm

Everyone knows I'm not here just to sell something - but the tool I've developed relates directly to this very (excellent) topic. 


What is the first impression your client gets from the very moment your candidate lands on their desk?  Where do their eyes land?  What becomes the first thing they know and feel about your candidate? 


Hopefully you've got a good relationship with the client.  In a perfect world you would call, describe their top skills and schedule the sendout.  Anyone remember 1988?  It worked that way.  Now - not so much.  We've got to adapt.


In my push to adapt to the "send email/attach resume/hope like hell they see something they like" world - I've decided to not play that game.  I think my client should HEAR exactly why I believe they're a fit.  My client should EXPERIENCE the same person that I have.


Simply put - when the open a resume from me there is a play button on the top.  All they do is click it and IMMEDIATELY hear my candidate describe the skills I know the client is looking for. 


There.  I've said it.  Carry on.......

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on September 14, 2011 at 3:09pm
even this corporate recruiter knows better than to send a resume that hasn't been properly "adjusted".  :)  Excellent post Lisa!


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