Saturday, January 3, 2015

Advice from a Recruiter. And some cute cat pics.

Don't forget pants. 

I don't write much about my job on this blog. In fact I don't believe I have revealed who my current employer is, and for all kinds of reasons I am guessing it's probably not appropriate to share in this forum. I can tell you that I love my new company and even though I am a recruiter and only have been onboard for the past two months, I can honestly say I am excited about bringing people into the organization.

But generically, I am a recruiter for a software company and I hire sales people.Previously I have recruited for all kinds of companies, from Kelly Services, to Coors Brewing Company and major PR agencies. I have been doing this work for around sixteen years now. It's hard to believe.

Nobody goes to school to become a recruiter, right? When you ask kids what they want to do when they grow up you may hear firefighter, veterinarian, doctor, teacher or (in my case) even therapist, but you don't hear recruiter. Yet it is the perfect occupation for me. It's all about networking, listening, communicating, and talking to people from all walks of life. Yes. I have stories. Lots and lots of stories.

As a recruiter I have the privilege of sitting across the table from people who are sharing their life story with me. They are telling me about their education, there life decisions, what they have learned from various experiences, their passions, kids, mistakes, even divorces and tragedies. And often times as the gate keeper it is up to me to decide if they will be considered for an opportunity with my employer. It's a lot of responsibility really, in some ways you are holding people's "lives" in your hands.  Employment is a big deal. Without it, one can't pay their bills. Sometimes this is an individual's dream job, and I know they are laying awake at night tossing and turning and waiting for my call. I know that there are plenty of days that my call either makes or breaks someone's entire week. Making the congratulations calls are the best part of my day... and making the decline calls are the worst, unless on the rare occasion I am dealing with someone who has been a complete ass during the interview process, then it's not so hard.

So anyways, I thought perhaps I would share some of my recruiting knowledge and crazy stories, on the off chance it may actually help a few people land their dream job.

Applicants, your "To-Do" list:

  1. You have found a great job and you want to apply: While you should go ahead and apply online as directed, it can't hurt to reach out to your network for an extra "in." Check out your LinkedIn, remember that? It isn't just a waste land of bad profile photos and worthless endorsements, it's also a wealth of information and a great asset to your job search.  There you can find out who the hiring manager is and reach out to them directly. Unlike recruiters, they are not inundated with tons of applicant emails and he/she may pay more attention to your note and application. In addition you can search for other connections who may have a relationship with the company and ask for an introduction/recommendation.
  2. Speaking of LinkedIn profiles- your picture should not include anyone but you. Not your blushing bride, your new baby or even your dog. Just you. This should not be a picture of you at a club, holding a pina-colada in the air and revealing your midriff. It should be professional.
  3. Phone interview? Be prepared. It makes a terrible impression if the recruiter is trying talk to you while you sit on a park bench in front of a noisy construction site,  soothing your crying toddler. Find a quite place with no distractions. 
  4. When the topic of compensation comes up, don't avoid it. It is important to know upfront if this job is the right fit for you. If the company is paying $20K less than what you need, do you really want to dry clean your suit, blow dry your hair and do your nails, lie to your current boss and cross town for an interview?  Recruiters inquire about salary for a reason. It's to make the process more efficient and effective for all parties.  
  5. Do your research. Learn about the company and your interviewer. Come with well thought out questions. While I'm thinking of it, if you write a cover letter with your application, be sure to get the company name right. Nothing is worse for a recruiter than reading about how much their applicant wants to work at a different company, in a different state. 
  6. Send a thank you note. Handwritten or email. But something. Demonstrate that you are interested and that yeah, you are grateful for everyone's time. Please note: spell check all of your written communication with the potential employer. I can't count how many times applicants have done more harm than good by writing a sloppy note of appreciation and you would be surprised by how many people misspell detail when describing how detail oriented they are. *sigh*
Because I am hoping cute cat pictures will drive more traffic to my blog
Applicant No-Nos: 

  1. Don't be too pushy it's annoying.  You know the fifth time in a day where you leave a voicemail inquiring about the status of your application? Yeah, now you are a stalker. Lay-off. 
  2. Do not take a cell phone call in the middle of an interview. Yes. It happens.
  3.  Do not spend your whole interview asking about compensation, advancement and work-life balance. Yes, these are all important concerns, and should be addressed throughout the conversation, but too much focus on these issues upfront can lead your potential employer to feel you are only in it for you.
  4. Do not bad mouth all of your former employers. Sure it's okay to address reasons why you left an organization, but too much negativity will leave your interviewer feeling like they are talking to Debbie Downer or Wendy Whiner.  
  5. Do not send professional communication on stationary that has kittens, hearts or unicorns on it. Seriously. No Seriously.  

Thus concludes my first ever blog post about recruiting. If it gets good response, perhaps there will be more.  Until then, for those in the market: Happy job hunting! Be nice to your recruiter! :)
I would hire Neil Patrick Harris. Just saying. 

1 comment:

  1. That's a good list. :0) For sure. I will keep it in mind if I ever leave the company I've been at....since college. 10 years this summer. Which software company? Oracle?