Generalizations are stupid.

There. I just made one. Now doesn’t that sound silly? You’re probably thinking “aww, come on Amy! It’s usually true!” Yeah maybe, but it’s exhausting. I have been diagnosed with Generalization Fatigue. Symptoms range from eye-rolling, head banging, and groaning to slamming laptops closed in order to protect yourself from one more crappy prediction about the fate of recruiting. Here are some of my favorites:

The resume is dead.

Facebook is the holy grail of recruiting.

Facebook sucks for recruiting.

If your website isn’t mobile, no one will ever apply to any of your jobs and you’ll go out of business.

Nobody applies to jobs on a 3.5 inch iPhone screen.

Never disclose salary during your first interview / screen.

Always wear a suit and tie to an interview.

Never wear a suit and tie to an interview in Seattle.

Here’s the problem with generalizations. They’re right for someone, somewhere, some of the time. I understand that. We are not doing ourselves or our customers any favors by planting these flags. It’s ok to say something like “here at MY company, we are fairly conservative for an IT firm. I would recommend you wear a jacket to the interview even though the hiring manager will be in jeans”. Or conversely – “most interview advice would say wear a suit, and that’s usually correct. Here at MY company, we are casual Friday every day. Feel free to dress as you would for work, should we hire you.”

That’s ADAPTABILITY. We owe it to ourselves and those we serve to be up front about this. Accepting or rejecting these ideas out of hand is not good for anyone. A recruiter on another thread actually called out recruiters for “allowing” Facebook to gain relevance as a sourcing tool. Really? Fish where they’re biting, I say - and if mobile is the bait, USE IT.

So what’s a candidate to do? ASK QUESTIONS. Ask the recruiter for advice. Haven’t you noticed all the blog posts out there by recruiters of every kind? We love to tell people what to do and how to do it. So do yourself a favor and ASK. What is true for one company or metro area is not always true for another. Not every recruiter reads resumes the same, or looks for the same things. We are all individuals with our own unique triggers – while some ideas are “standard” (most of us agree the one page resume is a myth) some, like interview dress code, can vary widely. I would never presume to tell you how to interview at a startup, for example, because I’ve never recruited for one. But I know lots of recruiters who have and I would immediately send you their way.

You can’t win the game if you don’t know the rules. If I may paraphrase the President of my youth – “we’re from recruiting, and we’re here to help”. Don’t be scared.

Views: 773

Comment by Amber on May 13, 2013 at 4:46pm

This is a little left maybe, but I just had a candidate who was told by "somebody" (some guru, no doubt) that any and all offers for a sales position should always be negotiated. Yup, all companies are trying to trick you so they can see what kind of a salesperson you are. 

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on May 13, 2013 at 5:36pm

thanks you guys for commenting :) Dane - at my last company we were very conservative in regards to interviewing. Well, you can imagine recruiting people from places like Microsoft, Amazon, etc - they showed up in jeans and my hiring managers would freak out. I actually heard someone on the Animal show once say "never show up for a tech interview in Seattle in a suit". I could have cried. I actually lost candidates because hiring managers couldn't get past how someone dressed for the interview.

Amber, no doubt the moron who gave that advice gave up recruiting back in the 90s and is still working on that best selling "advice" book. Ugh. I wish stupidity was painful.

Comment by Dane Anar on May 13, 2013 at 5:43pm

The way that I look at it is this: "Dress to impress".  If you know that that office wears converse and skinny jeans, you better get your most kick ass pair of chuck taylor's and most badass skinny jeans to wear to that interview.  If the company is conservative, better practice your double windsor and go with a pocket square vs no pocket square.  

Now if only people would catch onto my brilliant idea of conducting interviews while getting mani's and pedi's or while playing 18 holes of golf.  COME ON WORLD!

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on May 13, 2013 at 6:34pm

Exactly Dane! and if you're not sure.... ASK SOMEBODY. :)

I can get behind the mani/pedi interview. LOL

Comment by Elizabeth on May 14, 2013 at 2:05pm

Love this Article! My favorite part is you can't win the game if you dont know the rules. NAILED IT!

Comment by Will Thomson on May 16, 2013 at 11:10pm
Yea, if you showed up in a suite an tie in this hippie liberal town we call Austin, you may be escorted when you sign in. Some folks wear their 80's rock concert to the finest steak house on a Saturday night and no one thinks anything of it. No, seriously, just ask. It all depends :). Good post, Amy!


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