I spent a few years recruiting and I’ve blogged about it before here. This time I am blogging from a different prospective.
Many people are looking for jobs today. Some are always looking for jobs even when they are content where they are. They are cruising for opportunity.
What makes me crazy is the goofy “advice” you get from hiring seminars, articles on the internet or even books on how to get a job. Most of the tips are not based in reality.
Tip – Don’t send your resume to the Human Resources department. Send it directly to the hiring manager.
Reality — Most companies do not allow hiring managers to interview until the candidate has been vetted through HR. That means that your resume will be forwarded to the HR department and you may lose a day or two until it gets there.
Tip – Always send a follow-up thank you card after an interview.
Reality – What? Who do you think is cheesy enough to be swayed by a card? I always threw it out. It neither helped nor did I let it hinder a candidate’s prospects but it’s a waste of time and money.
Tip – Call three days after the interview and follow-up once a week.
Reality – You will make the HR department and the hiring manager crazy with your pesky phone calls. Depending on whether you are the first or last interview, there may not be any decision. Even if you are eliminated early, they are not likely to tell you until a candidate has accepted the position. Some managers take weeks to make a decision and some are prompt. It’s not wrong to follow-up but I would suggest an email which is easier to answer and as for the interval – ask in the interview when they expect to make a decision. Most recruiters will tell you where they are in the process.
Tip – Find out why you didn’t get the job.
Reality – Except for internal applicants, it’s useless to ask. When you are interviewing, it’s not all about you but how you stack up next to the other candidates. The other candidates may be as qualified for the job as you are. The decision comes down to soft skills – who will fit in best, did someone have other skills that would be useful or maybe they just liked someone else better.
Here are some REAL tips:
- Don’t get stuck on one job. Send out resumes to all jobs for which you are qualified. Don’t send one out and wait to see if you get it.
- Don’t hesitate. If you see or hear of a vacancy, check the company’s website. Most companies have a “jobs tab” that lists the vacancies with a link to apply on-line. That is the quickest way to apply. Do it right away. One of my recruiting friends from another company received over 5,000 resumes for one position. Needless to say, they only looked at the first ones that came in. Someone who waited a few days didn’t even get considered.
- Research the company prior to the interview.
- In the interview, ask questions like: “Where am I in the interview lineup” “When are you going to make a decision?” “When do you expect the person to start?” This will give you good timing information.
- About the money – always a sticky question. They will ask you what you are looking for salary-wise. You hesitate because you are afraid that what you say will limit what they offer. For example if you quote something too low, they will start you low and if you quote something too high, they will eliminate you. Truth is the recruiter is trying to gauge whether you are both in the same ball park. A reputable firm will offer you a fair salary based on your experience and what they traditionally pay for that job. If they lowball it or highball it, you salary will be out of line with other employees. You can ask what the range for the position is. Be honest about what you are hoping to get. If you are willing to consider (not accept) any offer, say so. Remember you can always say no when the offer comes.
I wish I could say that all recruiters follow-up but they don’t. I had a good friend who was interviewed several times for a high-level position. The last interview required that she travel to the firm’s 5th Avenue office in New York to meet the top brass. She never heard anything after that despite the fact that it had to be down to two or three candidates. That is bad recruiting!
Most recruiters do follow up. They have been on both sides of the interviewing process. They work to give you the best information so you can make a good decision.
Is there discrimination in hiring? You betcha! It’s not based on race, gender or religion or any of those touchy things. People have biases on personalities, appearance (for heaven’s sake look presentable for the interview! It’s one thing you can control) and quirks. That’s not illegal. They are looking for someone to fit in an existing work group. If you come across annoying in any way, they won’t want to take the chance no matter how qualified you are.
From an employer’s perspective you can train someone to do a job but you can’t train someone to be nice.
NOTE: There are good websites with solid tips to offer candidates including questions that you will want to ask. Monster.com offers one but there are others.