Mar 24, 2015

Testimonials of a Recruiter

Dos and don’ts I wish all candidates knew

Author: Adriana Andreescu

I’ve noticed some tricky behavior, which both fascinates and puzzles me, about the recruiting process. I’ve made a list of 3 of my most confusing, recurring day-to-day experiences as a Recruiter.

Talking to candidates who voluntarily and proactively apply to a job they’re not interested in

Sometimes, candidates aren’t willing to go for a job change, although they give out signals to the contrary. For example, I need a Linux Specialist with RHEL, SLES and scripting talents, so I post a job announcement on a dedicated network, and wait for professionals to apply. After resumes pile-up, I start calling candidates who might be a good match. So far, nothing out of the ordinary, it’s all a routine process. But what happens next defies every expectation: when I start making the calls, many candidates say ‘Sorry, but I don’t know if I want the position.’, before they’ve even had a chance to hear any of the details. Imagine my reaction: OK, but you’ve applied for it, don’t you at least want to know more? Then, they’ll say something like ‘I want a Linux position!’. I’m getting happy ‘Well, that sounds like a possible match, we have one available for your level of expertise.’. ‘But I don’t want to come to an interview. Is it possible to discuss everything over the phone?’. And, again, I’m confused: why would you not want to get to know a potential employer? ‘I really would like to meet you and tell you more about our company, in order to better understand your profile and offer you the proper job. I think a face to face interview would be best.’.

I have to ‘deliberate’ with the candidate who applied for our job, in order to convince him to come to an interview. For me, as a Recruiter, this is beyond intriguing: how can I discern between those applicants who want a career change, and those who don’t? I’d have expected that applying for a position implies, by default, that you’re interested in it, but the reality of my experience tells a very different story.

Sorting resumes and coming across dozens of applications from candidates with absolutely zero technical know-how

On the other side of the spectrum, I get candidates with no technical education or hands-on experience, who apply to job after job whenever we submit a new position. They’re sales agents, merchandisers, cooks, collection agents, security agents, they’re everything and anything but IT-software professionals. All right, I understand: you’re hyper-excited about finding a new job, and that’s great, but are you sure that applying to each available position, no matter how unrelated to your actual expertise, will help get you a new job faster? Wouldn’t it be more fruitful to focus on your area of expertise, instead of applying to each available position? Think about this from a recruiter’s perspective: all you gain from applying to jobs completely unrelated to your background is a waste of both your own time and theirs.

Technical professionals who apply to the wrong job announcement, though they shouldn’t have trouble finding positions that make sense for their background

I’ve seen otherwise competent candidates applying to senior positions, without being a good match: I need the Linux Specialist, and you’re a game-tester or Windows expert. You might want to change more than your job, and go for a completely new field and acquire a new skill. I respect and encourage this – but my suggestion is to manage your expectations realistically. This type of transition can’t occur overnight. For instance, as a Java 7 years+ expert looking to go C#, but lacking any hands-on experience with this programming language, start by applying to a junior to medium-level C# position. If you’re a fast learner and really want the change, you’ll work your way up to a senior position fast, but it’s unlikely you’ll be given a chance at the senior-level position from the start.

What’s your take on the subject? I’d like to know as much as possible from a candidate’s perspective, so feel free to leave me a comment, or get in touch through email – and stay connected for more career-related tips from a Recruiter’s perspective.

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