How Should I Communicate with a Recruiter?

September 28th, 2018

The relationship between a recruiter and a job candidate can be nuanced and subtle, and since recruiters have often worked in the field for years, they sometimes take the nature of this relationship for granted; they don’t always clearly explain to candidates exactly how the interaction works, and that can leave candidates feeling confused and not sure what to expect from the recruiter or how to behave in turn. Here are a few points that may clear things up.

Recruiters work for their employer clients, not for job seekers.

Your recruiter will smile and demonstrate a genuine interest in your job search goals and your qualifications. But she isn’t working for you, and you aren’t paying her. Instead, she works for employers who have open positions and need to fill them with the right candidate at the right time. She’s been sent to find you, but if you aren’t the right fit, she’ll need to move on, sometimes without explaining why. If this happens, don’t take it personally.

Don’t give your recruiter a hard time.

Again, recruiters must be quick, sharp, and responsive—to their employers. Not to you. If you call your recruiter and she doesn’t call you back right away, don’t worry. At the same time, if she asks you for some information or leaves a message requesting something from you, you’ll need to respond as soon as possible. If she gives you some advice prior to an interview she’s scheduled for you, take the advice. She knows the employers and their needs better than you do, and she wants the two of you to form a connection.

If you need information, speak up.

Sometimes job candidates (especially inexperienced candidates) have trouble standing up or voicing needs and concerns to employers. We’re often counseled not to make salary demands during an interview, or to avoid saying things like “How much vacation does this job offer?” or “Will I be able to work from home?” or “I don’t want to deal with angry customers. Can you assure me this job won’t require that?” But if you have these questions, you need answers, and you deserve them. If you can’t ask your employer, ask the recruiter. She’ll tell you what you need to know and she won’t pass judgement. Again, she wants both you AND the employer to get what you need.

Share everything that might help.

You don’t need to (and you shouldn’t) tell your recruiter anything you wouldn’t share with an employer, for example, your religion, family, or marital status. But you CAN tell her as much detail as possible about what you’re looking for, why you left your last job, exactly how far you’d like to commute, and where you’d like to take your long term career.

For more on how to talk to and work with your recruiter, reach out to the team at PSU.

Warning Signs of a Bad Hire

September 14th, 2018

Your candidate may smile brightly and dress well for the interview, but these superficial signs of engagement can conceal traits that might lead to trouble ahead. Job candidates almost always have two layers: the shiny exterior and the substance beneath. And shining up the surface layer comes more easily to some candidates than others. As a hiring manager, you’ll factor both into your decision; after all, excellent candidates don’t usually come packaged in inappropriate clothing or a slouching, mumbling demeanor during an interview. But you’ll also need to look closely at what lies behind a sparkling smile. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Second-degree anger or resentment

Most candidates won’t behave in a directly angry or resentful way to an interviewer (if they do, end the candidacy immediately). But they may reveal signs of anger in the way they speak about past jobs, coworkers, clients, or former bosses. It’s okay to explain why a previous job didn’t work out (“The company and I had differing visions of success”). But watch out for a candidate who engages in heated or personal venting.

Alternative priorities

Almost all well-adjusted human beings feel torn between their jobs and their families, and it’s actually a promising sign if your candidate places family first and work second in this eternal and universal conflict. But if something else comes first—like a hobby or a dream career that isn’t this one—pay attention. This may be a sign of a complex and well-rounded person, or it may be a sign of a competing goal that will pull the candidate out the door eventually.

False confidence

Competence in some areas can be easy to prove. For example, fluency in a foreign language, artistic competence, or a straightforward technical skill can all be easily proven, sometimes right there in the interview setting. But other competencies (IT, marketing, accounting) can be much harder to demonstrate. You’ll have to take your candidate at his or her word, but recognize that many people are experts at throwing smoke and fluffing their feathers in ways that conceal huge knowledge gaps. Don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions or request proof of ability before you make a commitment.

Artful dodging

Does your candidate try a little too hard to steer the direction of the interview? If he smoothly avoids answering certain questions, glosses over things he doesn’t want to talk about, or keeps grabbing the wheel and bringing the conversation back to topics he’d like to emphasize, make note of this behavior. Note of the subject of these swerves, both the sore spots and the points of personal pride.

For more on how to look past the polished surface and examine the true capability and personality of your candidate, turn to the staffing and hiring pros at PSU.

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