While every company approaches recruiting somewhat uniquely, there are certain challenges all recruiters face. There are also processes that nearly all follow to some extent. As a job seeker, understanding these is key. The more you know about what recruiters are looking for at any point in the recruitment process, the better you can meet their expectations.
The best place you can start is by understanding each step of the recruitment process, even those that don’t involve contact with candidates.
Working With the Client or Hiring Authority to Define Requirements
Whether they work independently helping clients to find new employees, or as part of corporate recruiting divisions, the first step for recruiters is often the same. They work with clients, department heads, and other hiring managers to define the requirements for the newly opening position. This step is key because it lays the foundation for all efforts made towards finding the ideal candidate.
Recruiters begin by working with the client to produce a list of educational requirements, minimum years of experience, and hard skills. In order to ensure that recruits will be most able to meet the demands of the job, most recruiters also ask for any required ‘soft skills’. These could be customer service skills, the ability to work in a team, and negotiation skills. Finally, other requirements are gathered. For example, a recruiter may as if potential hires should be sourced from a specific geographical area.
Identifying Sources For Potential Job Candidates
Recruiters frequently rely on LinkedIn or word of mouth referrals to seek out passive job candidates. These are people who may be very well suited for positions, but are not actively looking. In order to improve their chances of being spotted by recruiters, job seekers should create and maintain social media profiles on professional platforms such as LinkedIn. They should also update their profiles frequently. Successful candidates will also use networking and rely on relationship building to make it more likely they will earn word of mouth referrals.
Recruiters often maintain a stash of resumes and CVs that have been submitted to them for other positions. They’ll use these as an initial source when they are trying to fill a new position. One thing that job seekers can do is keep a list of employers that interest them, then submit their resumes every six months or so. This will help ensure that they remain in that stack as many recruiters purge every six to twelve months.
Of course, active recruiting remains a primary part of filling open positions. This means creating job listings and then posting them on job boards and other relevant locations. A good recruiter will clearly outline the requirements that successful candidates will meet. This is the point where job seekers can really put themselves at an advantage. Job listings are full of relevant keywords. They can be mined for these keywords that can then be added to resumes and cover letters.
Paste your resume and a job description below to receive an instant keyword analysis.
Recruiters Begin Screening Potential Hires
As recruiters receive resumes they begin screening potential hires. This helps them to identify those who are more likely to be qualified. Keep in mind that this isn’t always a manual process. Recruiters often use resume screening software. Those keywords you added to your resume and cover letter may mean that your resume makes it to the next step in the recruitment process.
On the other hand, even if that is the case your work isn’t done yet. Hiring managers review dozens upon dozens of resumes. To keep up, they may only scan your resume for a few seconds. This means your resume should be well-formatted and easy to read. The most important information belongs at the top.
Don’t forget that following instructions is key. If you do not submit your resume as instructed, count on it being quickly discarded. Read application instructions carefully. Deviating in order to be creative or attention getting is nearly always a bad idea.
On the other hand, recruiters and hiring managers do like to be impressed. There are a few things you can do that will grab attention without being irritating. If you have a portfolio or professional social media accounts link to them on your resume. The contact information section is perfect for that. This can help to further highlight your qualifications. If you have a video or infographic resume add a link to that as well.
Creating The Short List of Potential Hires
After reviewing resumes, it’s time for the recruiter to start reaching out to those who have made the short list. This means making initial contact and conducting phone screenings. This is the time to be alert and responsive. Ignoring emails for a day could mean losing out on an opportunity while the recruiter moves onto the next candidate.
During these initial screenings, recruiters want to verify a few things. Primarily they will ask if the candidate is still interested. If filling the position is urgent, they may also ask about availability. As expected, there will also be questions about work experience and skills. The best approach is to be prepared and enthusiastic. This is the stage where additional candidates will be weeded out.
If you’ve made the cut, you will be contacted to schedule an interview. Here common sense applies, but the advice is worth repeating. Arrive on time. Be prepared to ask and answer relevant questions. It is always a good idea to research the position and the company. Read up on Glassdoor and other websites to learn more about company culture.
Hiring And Negotiation
The recruiter will contact you when they are ready to make an offer. This is the time to know which of your requirements are deal breakers, and which are simply nice to have. Research salaries for your field in your geographical area. Knowing this information is empowering, and puts you in the best position to negotiate.
The better you understand the recruitment process the more likely you are to get the jobs you pursue. You can benefit from this information by acting in ways that put you in the best light possible along every step of the way. Use this strategic approach to maximize the impact of your job search.
Sylvia Giltner is a freelance HR manager. In addition to this, she offers her consulting services to Resumes Centre. There she assists job seekers by crafting amazing resumes while providing practical advice on reaching career goals.