Candidate Tip Number Eleven

Ever feel somewhat embarrassed by the fact that a candidate brought a cloud over the interview by revealing that all they did is answer your ad on Monster?

This article should help you, the recruiting industry readers, leaders, and TFL subscribers who use job boards as part of your overall recruiting menu, save tons of lost fee revenue. It will help protect, preserve, and maintain client relationships as well.

In fact, it is required reading for IRES candidates and ought to be “required reading” for any candidate you have sourced from an Internet job site.

Feel free to obtain reprint permission from TFL or for the portion that follows below. The following is that which you may want to copy and share with candidates sourced through websites prior to their first face-to-face or telephone interview with a hiring client.

Attention, Candidates (you may personalize this section with their specific name):

Here’s why you must never reveal using an Internet website to the hiring manager during a search being handled by a contracted executive recruiter or staffing consultant.

Might you be a job seeker who posted your résumé on Monster, HotJobs, or any of the hundreds of specialty or local sites on the Internet?

Are you one of the fortunate ones who got a call from a recruiter and experienced a positive first telephone interview?

Congratulations! You got noticed.

Here’s a tip that will enhance your salary/offer negotiations.

This is guaranteed to work.

It’s important that you know you should never reveal having posted your résumé on the job board or reading ads on that job board during the interview process.


Because most hiring managers will possibly interpret your résumé posting or reading HotJobs or similar ads by labeling you as an “aggressive job seeker.” This is bad for several reasons, which follow:

1. Hiring manager can think: “Gee, if we have a tough week in my department, what’s to keep this employee from hopping on the Internet during lunch and searching for yet another job when the going gets tough?”

2. “If he’s using that website, he probably is getting anxious, so I can take my time and use that as leverage in my negotiating.”

3. “Is this what I’m paying a search firm for? Finding ads posted on Monster? I’m going to sit this out and find a real candidate instead and let that search firm earn its fee.”

These are just a few of the thoughts a manager’s mind may begin to ponder. All of them are negative. All of them are not good for you the candidate and potentially detrimental to your goal of securing the job.

It is to your advantage to come out of an interview leaving the impression that you are a “Semi-passive” job seeker.

In other words, you want to create the illusion or perception that you are someone who will interview if and only if the job is just right and the package presented is right as well (which is most likely the truth anyway).

It’s similar to the college dating process. Play “hard to get” just a little bit, and chances are whoever is courting you may have their interest piqued more so. Come across as “too easy,” and the message sent could imply that you would definitely accept an offer so early in the process that it curtails the fun of the chase, to the point that you might not get to see the offer at all.

You are in the best possible negotiating position when you come across as picky, selective, and only responsive to certain, specific offer conditions.

So how do you respond when a manager asks:

“How did Joe, the recruiter we’re using, find you, Shirley?”

Your response should be:

“He somehow tracked me down and contacted me. He’s a persistent guy, you know.”

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“He found me on Monster.”

This exposes your poker hand too early in the process and cheapens the perception of your value in addition to the other problems listed above.

The latter also can imply that your recruiter took the “easy route,” when in fact he/she may be undertaking hundreds of avenues or approaches well beyond an Internet ad/or résumé search to locate you.

Not to mention – There is some level of skill required for writing ads that recruiters rarely get credit for, and they are viewed by some as having “cut corners” for using such Internet sites with success.

At the end of every interview process, the candidate has to be sourced from somewhere.

It becomes too easy using Monday morning quarterbacking for a hiring manager to think, “Gee, I could have posted on Monster.” Or “Gee, why didn’t I think of posting the job with that alumni association?” Or “Why didn’t I think of posting with that financial network group?”

The truth is that most search firms are employing all these techniques combined with direct recruiting simultaneously, never knowing the final source until the hire is made.

In the end of every search is the simple truth – one source resulted in the successful hire. Trouble is, no one knows which source will work at the outset.

I have found that many hiring managers will begin believing “how easy” the search could have been once the source, technique, etc., is revealed. Much as you might feel that you were duped when a clever magician finally reveals how he made the playing card appear to float in midair. The point is, the magician did what he was supposed to do – and it required great skill.

Even if the technique that the magician reveals initially looks easy, it may in fact require six months of intense practice and perfection for you to be able to execute it with the same level of flawlessness.

Leave the specific source out of the entire dialogue and you completely avoid all the issues, troubles, prejudices, and mis-conceptions likely to occur as a direct result of being too specific.

In the end you have a goal: getting an acceptable offer.

Leave the specific source out and you can more quickly return the interview dialogue back to its focus: why you should be hired.

Written by Frank G. Risalvato, CPC, author of “Top Ten Candidate Interview Blunders and How to Avoid Them.” Frank G. Risalvato is a staffing and recruiting consultant who has been in the search profession since 1987. He has contributed hundreds of articles to publications, has appeared on TV and radio, and has been called upon by state and federal agencies for expert testimony. His recruiter training services, books, and kits are found on Call (973) 300-1010 for an exclusive one-on-one experience with his training style. His new Charlotte, N.C., direct telephone is (704) 243-2110.

Frank Risalvato made the plunge into the search industry in 1987. Within two years he was earning fees on a monthly basis that were comparable to his entire previous annual salary. Today he specializes in the low to mid-six figure hires and manages multiple openings each month. Although he didn't invent recruiter training, he views himself as someone that improves, perfects, and enhances pre-existing techniques. His new book is "A Manager's Guide To Maximizing Search Firm Success."


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