If you are a job seeker or have ever been a job seeker, then I’m sure you have read countless articles about how to make your resume better, how to dress, and how to present yourself at interviews. Perhaps you have gone to a few job seminars, and job fairs. You are really on the grind looking for work!
At some point in the job search you have no control. Once you complete the hour long online personality assessment, and you’ve tweaked your resume for the 57th time this week, the ball is in the hands of the decision makers. Hopefully your resume will be one of the top thousands that receive that 35 second glance. If you’re lucky you get a phone interview on the way to the PTA meeting.
In this new age of employment, many people in my demographic miss the old school pounding of the pavement that put you in a work ethic category of your own. The people that used to get up at 6am, have breakfast, read the paper on the train and get to the employment agency by 8am. There was a sense of pride of being one of if not the first person to arrive. Madison Avenue in NYC wasn’t just for Ad Agencies. It was a hub for secretaries, delivery boys and messengers. It was easy to grab a day or perhaps a weeks work of work. If you were lucky and diligent you could turn that week into a permanent gig. Ahhh, the eighties!
Today we are at the mercy of keywords, and not knowing what’s going on once we hit send on the keyboard. We are personally distanced from recruiters and decision makers in a way like never before. This has caused a bit of tension between the recruiter and the job seeker. The recruiter has made it clear what they need from the candidate in order to be efficient with meeting clients needs. The candidate however feels as though they are jumping through hoops to please recruiters only to be abandoned along the way of what they thought was a potential job.Based on conversations I’ve had with jobseekers in NYC, Charlotte N.C. and L.A. the frustration is real and it can be reduced with a few customer service tips for recruiters.
1. CALL BACKS: When recruiters think a candidate has a particular skill set that the client may need, they call, upbeat and hopeful. When the client does not respond to the resume presented recruiters often abandon the candidate, no call no feedback, nothing. A simple email, stating the client went with another candidate is good customer service. Many recruiting systems have built in tools to help aid and initiate cordial communication. I once had a recruiter send me an email saying the client went with another candidate but sent a link to a funny informative article she found that day on LinkedIn. It was personable, not dismissive, and I looked forward to speaking with her when the opportunity arose.
2. SELL: The best recruiters can sell. Clients drive recruiters crazy because they are not clear on what the job description calls for. Oftentimes you have a better understanding of what they need than they do. If a recruiter has a favorite candidate, they can be a sales person and get the client to see that they are missing out on a prime candidate.
3. BUILD YOUR NETWORK: When I was a recruiter I collected resumes. I had the resumes of my friends, their husbands, children, lovers, cousins friends. This collection gave me an insight to many different jobs and a starting point of who to call when I needed to fill an order. People know people who need jobs.
The job seekers I recently spoke with particularly in LA and NYC who attended networking mixers observed recruiters talking among themselves a majority of the time, instead of sourcing the room for potential candidates. When approached for networking these recruiters were not personable nor did they ask for or collect resumes. Dear recruiters, Please do not attend networking events if you are not going to source candidates. Networking events are the only opportunity job seekers have to really meet anyone after weeks of sterile online job searching. They deserve the best of you when you show up.
4. READ THE RESUME: Once you narrow down your search and you have your top candidates, please actually read the resume. The 35 second skim recruiters do is ok (I guess) while looking for candidates but once you find them, please read the entire resume before you call the candidate. A major concern of the job seeker is that recruiters will call and ask the candidate, “so have you worked with WordPress?” When it’s the first thing listed in the skills section of the resume. Instead ask, “I see you have worked with WordPress, do you have samples?” this demonstrates to the candidate that you read the resume and if they have spent time preparing they will be eager to send samples of their work or explain where and when they utilized the skill that is needed. Once a candidate realizes you have not read their resume they lose trust in your ability to be a liaison between them and the client.
5. DON’T BE SMUG:“They are unemployed so what are they doing all day?” I’ve heard this many times while recruiting and it is a silly way of viewing the unemployed among us. Despite the image of a person on the couch all day watching TV being depressed, a large amount of unemployed people become an important part of society until a job comes along. Taking care of elderly parents, or taking care of young children for other family members, volunteering for the PTA, charity work, and attending school are a small part of the unemployed experience. Whenever you find yourself being a bit frustrated with your candidates take a deep breath and remember you were once in their shoes and if you weren’t, in this new economy there is a good chance you can be.
Of course this is not all recruiters, there are some great recruiters who are awesome with following up with candidates, and overall customer service.
DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER SUGGESTIONS FOR RECRUITERS THAT CAN ENHANCE THE CANDIDATES EXPERIENCE? ARE YOU CURRENTLY LOOKING FOR WORK? IF SO WHAT ARE YOUR FRUSTRATIONS WITH YOUR JOB SEARCH?
*Unemployment Drops to 5.8 Percent in October 2014 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The last time unemployment was this low was in July 2008.*