10 Tips From Corporate Recruiters That You'll Ignore Anyway

We have decided to do it. Yes, Will Thomson & Amy Ala are joining forces to write a post that hopefully will shake up the recruiting community a little bit.  We are both corporate recruiters, we both have come from the agency world, and we both have placed a ton of people.  We can't claim to have seen it all, because nothing, and we do mean nothing, ceases to amaze us in this crazy industry!  We have seen the good, bad, ugly, and HORRENDOUS in the recruiting industry. We both have experienced our highs and lows.

Today, we want to talk about candidates.  We have heard it all. We know what works and what doesn't work, so take a minute and read this post.  We are writing this out of frustration because we do TRULY want to see you succeed.  When you succeed, we succeed, and we are all happy in this world.

Sadly, most of you won't listen to our advice.  The world will keep spinning and there will be another day. You will continue to live your stressed out, anxiety filled lives and we will be the receiving end of all of your complaints.  We will be the ones that get the call saying you are miserable and it is all our faults.

We are sick of it, and here to help.  In this post we want to give you 10 pointers.  10 things NOT to do in your job hunt.  Now, this is just the beginning.  There is more to come, but we figured baby steps are better than no steps at all.  Oh, candidates.  Do us a favor!  Please, please, please LISTEN to some of the advice we have to offer.  It will save us a heck of a lot of time and heartache for all parties involved.

1. Know What You Can Do. Recruiters are NOT mind readers!  We have absolutely no idea what you want to do if you don't have any idea!  Simply picking up the phone and calling us to "help find a job" is NOT going to help us. We are happy to strategize with you, talk about your previous employment, what you're good at and what you've accomplished, but we need YOU to tell us these things. A "master resume" that holds all your information and can be edited for different companies and positions is very helpful.

2. Be Easy To Find And Contact. It's not all about applying to jobs, though that's part of it. Do you know how much time the average recruiter spends on LinkedIn? We don't either, but we're willing to bet it's a LOT. If a recruiter comes across your profile and there is no indication of how to get in touch with you, we're likely to move on to the next candidate. Active job seekers should seriously consider how VISIBLE they want to be to the recruiters that are looking for them. Create a separate "work" email for your job search.

3. Follow The Process. Understand that for compliance reasons, we may ask you to do silly things like "send a resume" or "apply to this job". We will do EVERYTHING in our power to make the process easy, smooth, and with a definitive result.  We, however, can't just set up an interview without some routine legwork.

4. Try To Be Flexible.  How bad do you really want the job?  We know you are busy and you probably have a very important job.  We will try to accommodate as much as we can, but sometimes the accommodations can't be met.  Managers and Recruiters are busy also and if you make yourself totally unavailable at odd times, chances are, we will find another candidate before connecting with you.

5. Respect Space & Time. Try not to be a stalker.  A good recruiter will set expectations with you.  We should clearly articulate when you should be hearing back from us.  If we set a time to talk in an initial phone screen, be on time.  Don't follow up with 15 phone calls and e-mails trying to reschedule if you have missed your opportunity.  We understand things happen, but if it happens again, we have long forgotten about you. 

6. Sending Random LinkedIn Invites to Recruiters Does Not Work  We both receive countless LinkedIn invites a week.  Yes we are connected.  Yes we work at big companies.  No, it will not help you to randomly connect with us. If you do send us an invite, GIVE US A REASON.  Chances are we are recruiting a totally different skillset than you have so we wouldn't be able to help you anyway. We might, however, be able to introduce you to other recruiters who are looking for someone just like you. Help us by telling us what and who you're looking for!

7. Research The Company And The Position  So often candidates are completely unprepared.  Take some time to ask as many questions as you need to understand the role that you are interviewing for with your recruiter.  Understand the organization.  Understand the goals.  Understand their backgrounds.  Understand the direction of the company and how you will fit into the equation. When in doubt – ASK YOUR RECRUITER.

8. During The Interview Process, Don't Apply To Another Role Until Process Is Complete Simply put, if you are working with a recruiter and have applied and interviewing for a specific role don't ask about 4 different roles within the company.  This just shows your lack of interest, or lack of confidence in the role in which you are interviewing.  If you are working with multiple recruiters at a huge company, it is okay to talk, but just make sure everything is transparent. There can be exceptions to this, for example Amy's multiple Program Manager reqs. It may make sense to talk about multiple positions across different teams, especially when 90% of the roles need the same skillset and experience. Just don't try to be an Accounting Clerk and a Forklift Driver at the same time. Not exactly the same skill sets, even if you can do both.

9. Ask For Feedback, But Accept What We Can (And Can't) Provide. Sometimes the only thing we can tell you is that someone else was more qualified. Sometimes that's all WE know. It could be someone had an MBA vs just a BS.  The other candidate may have gone to a "better" school, or worked for a bigger company... Feedback on things you cannot change may not be helpful.

10. Don't Shoot The Messenger. Remember we are often the conduit between you and the real authority, the Hiring Manager. That doesn't mean we don't have influence, and can't persuade the manager to take a chance (or not) on you. The interview and certainly hiring decisions tend to rest solely with the manager or team who will have to work with you. If the answer is "no", we're disappointed too.

Hopefully these tips help.  We look forward to writing regularly together and would love to hear your input, so please SHARE on LinkedIn, SHARE on Twitter, SHARE on Google+!!  Comment, Agree, Disagree- we want to hear you! 

Will & Amy 

@AlaRecruiter @WThomsonJr  www.wthomsonjr.com


Views: 6868

Comment by Seth Lidren on April 10, 2013 at 12:03pm

See...this is worthy job hunting advice.  I applaud both of you for this.  Good work...

Comment by Will Thomson & Amy Ala on April 10, 2013 at 12:21pm

Thanks Seth! We thought it would be fun to write a joint post.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on April 10, 2013 at 1:57pm

Thanks Seth!!

Comment by Dane Anar on April 10, 2013 at 2:40pm

I think a really big one is, "Don't lie about how good you are at something." - Too often do I get candidates that say, "OH i'm GREAT at Excel!  ...vlookup?  What's that?"


Comment by Amy Ala Miller on April 10, 2013 at 4:24pm

Ha! Good point Dane... in addition, if the job description says "must have C++" then expect to use it... We won't be teaching that - you have to know it coming in to the job.

Comment by Sarah Calverley on April 10, 2013 at 7:39pm

I'm a huge fan of all this advice, especially #10! I always make an effort to provide candidates with honest and constructive feedback but sometimes it's not appreciated or well received. Distrust of recruiters is unfortunately rife (and for good reason in some cases) 

Comment by Jai Turner on April 10, 2013 at 9:02pm

So, #1,2, & 5 are just awesome and is definitely something I scream in my head within my cubicle every time a candidate does those things.  

Comment by Derdiver on April 11, 2013 at 8:37am

Excellent and sadly the title is correct.  Speaking with some colleagues last night topics of this nature came up and we were lamenting at how many people do NOT follow these simple guidelines and move on in frustration to something else.  Frankly, this is something I want to print and give to new recruiters starting out and tell them THIS is a guideline to follow.  Excellent read!

Comment by Sunil Kumar on April 11, 2013 at 8:51am

Great post Amy & Will. 

Comment by Will Thomson on April 11, 2013 at 9:36am

@ Sarah- Thank you for your comments!  As recruiters, do want candidates to succeed and sometimes things just  don't work out.

@Derdiver- Thanks!  "Sadly" is a good word.  Hopefully it will help others.  They are pretty simple when you look at them.

@ Sunil- Appreciate the comments!


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