Over the past 4+ years, I have exhibited at more than 100 career events across new england. As a representative of an organization's whose purpose is to connect local job seekers with local jobs, I make great effort to provide insight, tips, or value to any job seeker I speak with. I have found that taking some time to speak with a job seeker outside of the context of the recruiter/job seeker dynamic, really gives me a unique opportunity to listen to the fears and concerns that they have. It also gives me a chance to hear and dispel myths or false preconceptions that they may have about finding a job.
For example, I often hear job seekers tell me that they needed to do whatever was necessary to get their resume to one page, because recruiters and HR personnel are too busy to read more than that, and won't bother with their resume. I hope this doesn't offend any career counselors out there, but in my experience as a hiring manager and working with HR professionals, NO ONE IS GOING TO THROW AWAY A QUALIFIED CANDIDATE'S RESUME BECAUSE ITS TWO PAGES. In fact, quite the opposite is true. This is a very generalized example of how the process often works:
A recruiter, hiring manager, staffing rep, HR generalist, etc, posts a job opening on the web. They then receive 30 resumes via email. As a ballpark number, out of those 30, only about 10 will actually get a call back. Then, out of the 10, maybe 4-6 will get an interview. Now, when I begin screening resumes to decide who to call, I start by looking for the people that I am SURE have the experience and/or relevant skill set that will transfer to my job opening. To that end, if a candidate has chopped their resume to fit a four, eight, or fifteen year work history into one page, it is very likely that they have not included ALL of the skills and experiences that they have accumulated over time. Thus, if the skill that I need is on the cutting room floor, then I may not choose to call this person. I would much rather get ALL the information at the beginning of the process, so that I can be sure that I'm using my time effectively to call the most likely qualified people. Maybe I'm lazy, but I do not want to spend time calling people to find out that they don't have the qualifications that I need. It is a fact that I would rather skim through twenty 4-page resumes to find 10 good people to call, then skim through forty 1-page resumes, and not knowing if any of them are truly qualified for the job that I have open.
Okay, okay.... so the title of this post is "When I meet a passive job seeker..." At many job fairs, I will meet the passive job seeker, whether that person is an early retiree looking for a part time job for ice-cream money, or someone fully employed looking for a career change or greener pastures. Often times, when they come up to me, I'll ask what kind of work they are looking for, and the answer is usually that they don't know, and that they're not seriously looking, just seeing what kind of options they have. Well, with that attitude, I will guess that they find that their options are extremely limited. As a hiring manager, I wouldn't get too engaged with a candidate who didn't really know what they wanted to do, as it may turn out that I hire them only to have them find out that my work is not what they want to do.
I have begun to suggest to the passive job seekers to change their approach. Instead of stating that they don't know what they want, they should open with a different position. I suggest starting by sharing a 2 sentence summary of your experience, and then stating that they are looking for new opportunities. This gives the recruiter an idea of your experience, and changes the dynamic so that THEY will tell YOU what opportunities they have that may work for you. This changes the conversation, and puts the recruiter in the position of "selling" their jobs to you, rather than the other way around.
If you're a passive job seeker, try this, and let me know how it works. If you're a recruiter, please let me know what you think about these pieces of advice.
See you all soon at the recruiting front lines!
We have moved to Wordpress! Posted by Jason Links to this post The Recruiting Front Lines has evolved. At the beginning of the year, I changed jobs within my company, moving away from Outreach and Education, and into my new role as Director of Business Development. While I remain closely involved with our field activity, I am now more focused on strategic partnerships, social media, and the world of internet recruitment resources. As I have made this change, the focus of my blog content has also changed. Recently, I began to feel that many of the ideas I had for blog posts would not fit within the framework of The Recruiting Front Lines. This was a cause of some frustration, as I felt that I was either misrepresenting my content with the title of my blog, or that I was stifling my writing because I felt it didn't fit. To rectify this situation, I have created a new blog home, now on WordPress. I am still ironing out the wrinkles, but feel that it is far enough along that I can move all my past content, and begin posting all new content, at the new address. I would like to formally welcome everyone to come check out my new home at jasonblais.com. I can't wait to hear what you think! Best Regards, and Thank you for your time and attention over the past 18 months. Jason