But first, a few thoughts on the nature of recruiters…
Recently someone told me that recruiters shouldn’t evaluate candidates. Even though that is the job of the recruiter. That’s like saying a mechanic shouldn’t evaluate what’s wrong with your car. Yes, the barrier to entry to become a recruiter is a lot lower than in many other fields. However, recruiters who aren’t good at their jobs are easily weeded out within the first 3-5 years. Almost all of them find a different job to do. The good ones are the ones that are able to stay in longer. This is even further true for recruiters who recruit in highly specialized fields. If they have no interest and drive they won’t make placements and our entire job is to make placements. There are definitely scales of recruiters who fall on either end of the spectrum. Some do the bare minimum, some go above and beyond. Would you swear off all doctors just because you had one bad one? No right? So why assume all recruiters are bad just because there are a few bad ones?
Question #1: How to get a fair salary offer
Q: How do you respond to the salary request if you just want to get paid fairly for the position?
This is a question I answer on a regular basis. The old advice tends to be that “the person who speaks first, loses” when it comes to negotiations. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I recommend going to Salary.com or Payscale.com to find out what your salary range should be for that particular role in your area. Be sure to enter the specific title for the job you are applying for and the title for the job you are currently performing. This will give you a range of what you should request. When a recruiter or hiring manager asks you for your salary requirement you want to say something like, “For this role I am targeting XX to XX per year.” You can also mention whether you are willing to negotiate or not.
Question #2: Where to find reliable salary information
Q: What is the best resource or place to search for the right compensation/salary for the role?
The two sites I trust are Salary.com and Payscale.com. You can also try looking up big name staffing agencies as they often release salary guides. Keep in mind that you’ll likely have to register with your information in a staffing agency’s system in order to secure a guide.
Question #3: My job interviews go well but the offers aren’t coming
Q: I’ve been interviewing consistently since August 2020. With 10 years experience in tech, I move forward to the second round almost always, and sometimes third rounds, but nothing has stuck. I’m beginning to feel like a mere statistic, and I’m not sure how to get that offer that I, at this point, desperately need. Any tips for clinching? I usually discuss both the role and the company. I’m always a great “culture fit” and they always “really like” me. What am I missing?
First off, I’m sorry to hear about the hardship you are facing. Job searching is not fun. It’s basically a full-time job. I’m curious, have you had a chance to reflect on the answers you are providing during your interviews? If you are landing interviews but aren’t able to land the jobs it is most likely what you are saying or how you are saying it.
If you are a culture fit and they like you, it probably means that you are lacking certain specific skills or perhaps something you said in an interview didn’t land with them. Personally, I’d reach out to the recruiter again and ask for constructive feedback. I have done so in the past myself. You can say something like, “Hi XX, Thank you for the opportunity to interview with your organization and showcase my skills. I was reflecting on my interview and I was wondering if there was something I could have said or done differently that would have improved my chances of receiving an offer?”
Question #4: The dreaded “Tell me about yourself”
Q: What’s the best way to answer that typical interview question that every candidate is asked, "Tell me about yourself?" I have done a lot of research and talked to a lot of people, everyone seems to say something different. Should this answer be more direct and a rundown of your resume, your job transitions, your skills, or more of a casual/subtle showcase of your strengths/skills picked up from the job description and built-in in a narrative/story?
This is essentially an ice breaker that the recruiter is using to start the conversation. Here is what I have done and recommend candidates do as well.
- Have your elevator pitch. This is who you are as a professional. For example, “I am a senior technical recruiter with 7 years of experience in both agency and corporate settings.”
- Once you are done with your elevator pitch, you’ll then go into your current job and what you have accomplished there.
- After that, you’ll talk about why you are looking to leave and why the position you are applying for is a good fit.
This gives the recruiter a good summary to ask you specific questions based on what you have told them. Yes, we have your resume but your resume doesn’t tell us how you speak, how you answer questions. This question is a great first step for us to understand how you communicate.