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Are You Pressing Your Recruiter’s Hot Button?

Many of you have had unique experiences working with recruiters during a job hunt. Some good and some not so good. Like every profession, there are “good people” and then there are others. You need to do your own homework to ensure you are working with a reputable recruiter. At the same time, you need to do what is expected of you to avoid harming your chances to land a job they are working on. After all, they hold the keys to the opportunity. It is essential for you to have a great working relationship.

With this in mind, I recently polled my recruiter community to find out their top “pet peeves” about working with candidates. I know you have you own list for them, but theirs is a good one to read to ensure you are a stand-out candidate. I have included their Twitter name so you can ask them follow-up questions if you like. This is a smart and reputable bunch. Heed their advice and you’ll be glad you did!


Recruiters Top Four Pet Peeves

1. Poor Communication

Prompt communication throughout the process is critical. Return calls in a timely manner and be forthright concerning your interest level


Here’s a great example of poor communication: A candidate did not show up for her final interview at the client when the President flew in from out of town to meet her. She did not call during this process at all, would not respond to voice mail and then called back three weeks later asking what jobs I have open that she might be a fit for.


Candidates should heed the instructions on postings/ads when it says “no phone calls or emails, please.” I understand the urge to “check on the status” of your application. But leaving me three voicemails is not going to move things along for you. Job seekers need to be patient. With hundreds of candidates for each job, it can take weeks (even months) for recruiters to respond.


Even when instructions to not call are omitted, patience is required. Recruiters will contact you when anything goes further. Calling a lot will not help your chances. I even had one recruiter tell me he has had candidates go in full stalker mode to get in touch with him-calling him at his home phone number.


Sometimes candidates are rude. I had one candidate recently tell me that “I am so talented. You and your client need me. I don’t need you” .


2. Applying for the Wrong Positions

Even though one might have an interest in working at a particular company, it’s not wise to apply for 20-30 different jobs within the same company (which is easily apparent through a company’s application tracking system). If I note that a candidate has applied to many unrelated positions, I can’t help but think the candidate is desperate to get a job and probably not the ideal one I need in the role.


Many candidates want to shoehorn themselves into a position for which they are not a fit. I truly understand that many skills are transferable – or that people are quick learners – but there are also many times that specific experiences or qualifications are necessary to be successful in a given job. Suggestion to candidates: You will most likely be hired for the skill with which you have the most experience and/or the most recent experience.

3. Not Being Upfront and Honest

My biggest peeve is dishonesty and withholding information. Candidates need to recognize that by hiding information, or outright lying, they’re hurting their chances more than improving them.

This applies to not only conversations, but also to resumes and applications.


My peeve is candidates who are double-submitted to my clients. Upon learning the client’s identity, some candidates then apply directly on-line. Others who have already applied or interviewed with a client, don’t disclose this to me.


Keep in mind, your chances to get a position do not improve when you are submitted twice. Talk openly about salary. It’s the only way I can make sure the fit will work for both my company and for you.


Although, keep in mind, when responding to a job posting, don’t make the first thing you do is ask, “What does this position pay?” Listen or read the opportunity and ask a few questions about the role and organization and then probe about the financial opportunity .


4. Poor Interviewing Skills

Most people don’t prepare well. Instead of answering questions concisely, they just keep talking until they think they’ve covered every aspect of the question. Although they think it might be good to be thorough, they shoot themselves in the foot. Better to give a brief answer, then ask “Is that what you were looking for, or would you like more detail?” It gives the interviewer a chance to cut it off or give permission to go on.


It’s in the best interest of the candidate to answer a recruiter’s screening question as if the question was being asked by the hiring manager. As recruiters, we are part of the hiring team. If the candidate does not listen or goes around the question, then the candidate is not ready for the next step in the recruiting process.


The use of foul language during a prescreen interview. We are discussing a potential career opportunity in a professional manner. I find it hard to believe that the use of foul language is how you communicate with complete strangers.


My #1 pet peeve would have to be someone that shows up completely empty handed. Candidates should have something to take notes with as well as some questions prepared to ask of us. Just as we are interviewing you, you should interview my company so that we can both find a good long-term fit .


Some other interview pet peeves include: answering their cell phone, showing up very late and not apologizing; not bringing in copies of their resumes; strong odors like cologne or smoke; and at the end, asking “How did I do?”


Bottom Line

Recruiters have quite a list of pet peeves-don’t you be one of them!

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