What You Wish You Could Tell Candidates

I’m always hearing recruiters say they want to be more helpful to candidates.

I wonder. I wrote the following with the idea that it might help some express some of their challenges through a third-party voice.

I’m a phone sourcer. That means I am paid to find people who hold specific titles or who are doing specific job functions inside (usually) specific companies.

I’ve been doing this a long time.

There are a few things that spell disaster for you as a job seeker.

These are:

Being old

It’s a nasty dirty secret inside recruiting but the fact of the matter is if you’re over 50 – maybe even over 45 – many recruiters aren’t interested. They say they’ll look at you and accept your name in the lists I generate but they’re really not. No kidding.

I know this will bring down a firestorm of disapproval from some of my readers, but the fact remains that ageism is a very real and huge problem in our society.

Face it. Get over it. Do something — talk openly about it here.

Being unemployed

This one translates to “…desperately needs a job.” Whatever you do, try not to be unemployed when you look for another job. This is one of the paramount reasons you should always have your eye and ear open to new opportunities. Women should take special heed to this advice.

As a jobholder do you know how to also be a jobseeker?

Having holes in your resume

Again, girls, listen up. Those five years you took off getting five kids up out of the dirt are going to penalize you when you want to (have to) go back to work. I’m not quite sure what to say to you: this issue is endemic also in our society and contributes to the fact that you only make seventy six cents for every dollar a man makes.

Maybe others can help out here with advice.

A resume that looks like a treatise

Keep it direct. Keep it simple. Use a bullet plan. Most recruiters like that best.

And whatever you do, do not speak about yourself in the third person.

Not being relocatable

Being able to relocate is a huge advantage in today’s job market. So many people are “underwater” in their housing and haven’t had their “come to Jesus” moments of awakening, yet they’re in denial about what’s going on in the housing market and think they’d be better off waiting this thing out.

If you’re one of these, get on with your life. Sell your house and move if you have an opportunity to do so. Don’t wait ‘til you need to move. Put your house on the market NOW and prepare to move if you have any inkling at all that you may need a job in the near future (five years or less).

Not being “warm”

I just heard that the single most important thing to career success is being “warm.” This means knowing how to talk to people in real time, face to face, and being able to engage with them on a human level. If you don’t know — learn how to do the facey-face stuff.

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Not being findable

They pay me to find you guys. And some of you just can’t be found because the last time you updated your LinkedIn profile was when you joined three years ago and in the meantime you’ve lost the job you had and you haven’t gone back to let anyone know where you are today.

They’re not mind readers — recruiters, you know.

They like things simple, easy, and fast.

Nowadays, social media sites are beginning to monetize — fast! They’re eliminating last names to get viewers to pay to see you. Yes, there’s a way to find your last name, but most don’t know how to do it or don’t want to take the time to do it.

Many — the great majority — won’t pay (at least yet … it depends how this thing evolves) to see you.

Get smart. Think how to get your contact info into your profiles. Place your e-mail in (use the word “at” instead of the @ symbol for your email) and get your phone number in there for goodness sakes.

Read their Terms of Service. Most don’t want you doing this, so take my advice at your own risk on some sites. But some other sites don’t seem to mind.

Women: listen up again. Your names many times don’t show up on 411.com searches because your phone number is listed under your husband’s name. If you live alone many of you like to use unlisted numbers. This is career suicide these days.

If you’re only using a cell, get it out there linked to your name. Most people don’t know how to find cell numbers. Beware, though — I can see cell phone crawlers accumulating cell phone numbers for distribution lists. Is there a way to block crap calls?

If you have a common name, think to use a middle name or initial. Maiden names might also be considered.

Unwillingness to change direction

If your resume (or profile) reflects that you’re unwilling to do just about anything at just about any pay to get out of the situation you find yourself in as an unemployed jobseeker — forget it. Employers are looking to retool their workforces with workers who are multidimensional and cheap.

These are hard and fast facts of life these days. Get used to it. I don’t care that you have a PhD in fiddle-fooling-around. You’re at risk.

re-posted with permission from ERE.net

Maureen Sharib has been a “Socratic sourcer” her entire sourcing career; from the moment she first picked up the faxed list of Silicon Valley high-tech companies that was her target list to “phone source” in 1996 to today she has instinctively followed this method of investigative sourcing using (mostly) the telephone.  She is a proponent of sourcing as a synonym for success and envisions the craft moving away from a dangerously drudgery-paced life-form existence to an exciting investigative/competitive place within organizations where practitioners co-exist within a framework of market research, human resources, and C-level future planning. She owns the phone sourcing and competitive intelligence firm TechTrak.com, Inc. You can contact her at Maureen at techtrak.com or call her at (513) 646-7306.  If she’s not on the phone she’ll pick up!

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5 Comments on “What You Wish You Could Tell Candidates

  1. “Telling it like IT IS” can be “risky”/but the truth shall set you free. I am surprised there aren’t more comments yet. There will be and I am curious to hear what people have to say. So many people spend so little time honing their job seeking skills. Schools are pitiful in this regard as well. And that is sad as it is among the most critical skills one MUST have no matter what level or what age. When to people begin to focus on this area/more often than not when it is too late/they have lost their job…et.al.

  2. The Being Old paragraph is simply uncalled for. There is no “secret” anywhere. When I was 29 I placed a 62 year-old guy. Now I am 53 and I just don’t see it. I also don’t do it. It is no secret that some people do the right thing and some do not. I am often curious about the age of the person I am speaking with only so that I can speak in context but not because I give a rat’s ass about how old they are. I also do not think I have ever lost a deal with a client due to age.

    So, I guess I also have a bit of a problem with any article that has the phrase ‘most recruiters’. It’s kinda’ like being told what ‘most Americans’ want by either major type of politician.

    Bottom line…if we are doing what we are paid to do…which is to find the competition’s best people…being unemployed, crabby, immobile do work against candidates but age doesn’t. And sometimes, an unemployed,crabby,immobile old person is just what the client needs.

    Let’s leave talking about what ‘most recruiters’ do or don’t want to recruiters…

  3. If “most recruiters” aren’t giving candidates the above advice – when it’s applicable and within the parameters of the law – then that’s because “most recruiters” aren’t very good at what they do. As an Executive Recruiter with over 10 years international experience (both search and in-house) I have never shied away from having these tough conversations – however awkward it might be for me to address these issues – because that’s what I’m there to do. Yes, it takes experience and confidence to candidly explain to someone why they should consider a change of direction, for example, or that because they’ve been out of work for 12+ months it’s going to be even tougher for them to find a job compared to some of their competition – but if it’s not our responsibility, as professionals in this field, to tell candidates what might hinder their chances of securing a new job and what they can do to improve their chances of obtaining a new opportunity, then who’s is it? And what are we being paid to do? Knowledge = power and I speak from first hand experience when I say candidates don’t forget you when you empower them by giving them constructive feedback…

  4. Nice way to start a conversation Maureen – way off base. It’s a good way to bring in people who know what they’re talking about….

    I think it’s easy to see the difference between sourcers and recruiters here. While I know you may bump into the “real work” from time to time – a few of your points are just plain wrong.

    Old people don’t get placed? That’s news to me – and all the old people I’ve placed over my career. I’d venture to say a high percentage of my placements involve “old people”…..

    Unemployed? Thank goodness I can take a look at the larger picture. Along with the old people – I’ve placed quite a few unemployed as well. I can see why you might think them to be less than desirable though. They’re often rather easy to locate.

    Perhaps I’ll start a new company all together: Unemployed Old People Staffing Co. Think it’ll fly?

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