Candidates are often befuddled by the corporate recruiting process. Especially when they make a conscious effort to play by the rules, only to discover they weren’t even considered for an opening because their resume fell into a black hole.
What to do? “Candidates have to be bold and take some risks,” says Lou Adler, founder of The Adler Group, an Irvine, Calif., company that trains and advises corporate recruiters. “Otherwise, your resume will get lost in the abyss that is corporate recruiting.”
So, to understand some of the realities of corporate recruiting, here are some of its secrets.
Secret No. 1: The Most Qualified Candidate Rarely Gets the Job
Companies hire candidates for their personality and cultural fit — not for their skills, advises Abby Kohut, a New York-based recruiter, speaker and author of 101 Job Search Secrets. In fact, Kohut says successful IT candidates usually satisfy only about 75 percent of the technical requirements.
“Companies hire the least risky candidate with a great attitude and passion for technology,” says Kohut. “So focus on the requirements in the top third of the job description and spend the rest of your time explaining why you’re a good fit for the culture.”
Secret No. 2: Go Around Human Resources
Although recruiters often discourage candidates from contacting line managers, the successful candidates usually network their way into the company. “No matter what recruiters tell you, it’s okay to go around human resources and contact the line manager,” Kohut says.
Secret No. 3: Recruiters Ignore Confidential Resumes
When recruiters are inundated with resumes, they don’t need to spend valuable time tracking down and scrutinizing mysterious candidates.
Secret No. 4: Don’t be Afraid to Submit Your Resume via Fax or Certified Mail
Although IT professionals might scoff at the idea of using vintage communication, recruiters say sending your resume via snail mail or fax can often reach your target audience.
Secret No. 5: They Read Resumes from the Bottom Up
Some recruiters read resumes from the bottom up to evaluate a candidate’s career progression, so make sure your resume conveys a compelling story from either direction.
Secret No. 6: Only 50 Percent of Openings are Posted
Recruiters frequently source and fill unadvertised job openings, so it pays to build relationships proactively.
Secret No. 7: Recruiters Look for Reasons to Exclude Candidates
“Recruiters look for reasons to exclude candidates from the hiring process, not include them,” says Freeman. “So be careful what you say during interviews, because you don’t want to cast a shadow on the wall.”
Secret No. 8: They Prefer Fresh Applicants
Theoretically, recruiters search the database before posting a position, but kulling stale resumes can be unproductive. To make sure you don’t fall off the radar, refresh your posted resume every week and reapply to suitable positions.
Secret No. 9: Recruiters Vet Candidates on the Internet
It’s not a rumor. Recruiters check-out candidates on the Internet and float their names by the current IT staff to avoid an avalanche of adverse references down the road.
Secret No. 10: They Can Say No, But They Can’t Say Yes
Recruiters can’t say yes, but they can screen out unsuitable applicants. So treat them with respect and don’t under-estimate their ability to get you in front of a hiring manager.