Recently, I received an email from Execunet describing the results when recruiters were asked what they wish executives understood about their hiring process. I confess I agreed with nearly all of their findings, so I thought it may be helpful to add my own thoughts to their answers on the subject. (Please note I have used some of the content from that email and modified it slightly to match my own perspective.)
Our job is filling positions, not serving as a talent agent out to get you a job. As recruiters we are hired by companies to find a very specific skill and culture fit for our client. Often they come to us because they are being very targeted in their search. If you are a match for what we are seeking, then we will absolutely work hard representing you for the role. But if you don’t get a call from a recruiter, it doesn’t mean you’re a bad candidate – just that you are not a fit for the roles that are currently on their desk.
You see job boards as opportunities beckoning. Recruiters may cringe at the results posting bring. For any given job posting, we receive literally dozens (and sometimes hundreds) of resumes from candidates who do not have the skills, experience or education that is specified in the job posting. You know your skills are totally transferable, but the recruiters’ job is to find exactly what the client is seeking.
Cultivate your personal referrals rather than blasting your resume. Sure, you need to pay attention to job postings – and even send your resume to those that are truly a match for you – but don’t stop with that as your only tactic. Only 30% of jobs are filled as a result of a posting. The rest of jobs are filled because of referrals (employee or professional network). That includes referrals to recruiters and nurturing your recruiter network. Spend your time building relationships with actual people – not just online connections.
Don’t ask for a job lead. When having those conversations with your network, don’t ask, “who do you know that is hiring?” Instead ask for leads to people in organizations you are targeting. Ask to learn about the department, the challenges that business is facing, even how to navigate their hiring process. Anything but “do you have a job?” Because if they say no, the conversation just ended.
End the jargon in resumes and conversation. Resumes are so often filled with “blah blah blah” jargon, it’s no wonder people spend only six seconds reading them. Ask yourself “so what?” after each bullet point. Be sure you are actually saying something that matters. And that goes for conversations too. In the end, executives are looking for candidates who can come in and solve their problems and have a positive impact on the bottom line.