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.