Working with a recruiter may seem intimidating but recruiters truly want the best for both the candidates and the company they are recruiting for. Their goal is set up a great pairing that is set for success through the application, interview process, all the way to your first day and beyond. Even though a recruiter is doing their best for you, there are some things that recruiters can’t share.
Salary caps, candidate competition, internal HR tactics — let’s call them trade secrets. They are the confidential information that, unfortunately, recruiters cannot hand out.
Omer Molad, CEO/Founder of Vervoe, gives a few secrets out.
1. “We could have gone higher if you had negotiated.”
Salary negotiations “are like a game of poker — both job seekers and recruiters are trying to maintain control and win the hand.”
Recruiters will not tell you exactly what the company values you for, you have to know your own value. Each role has a salary range a recruiter can work with but their initial offering is rarely at the top of this range, so you must view their first offer as a starting point. - Benefits like vacation, work hours, etc. can usually be negotiated.
2. “Don’t go overboard with buzzwords — we can tell.”
It’s key to include keywords in your resume and to showcase your knowledgeable about your particular industry. However, “don’t try to look smarter than you really are,” says Molad. People forget that recruiters also want your personality to shine through to make sure it meshes well with the positions and the company culture. Tossing out big words and phrases can just get in the way and backfire.
“It’s not about specific questions or answers that stand out, but rather the candidates who display a great deal of passion about what they do that really stand above the rest,” says employer Academy Sports + Outdoors.
3. “You never had a chance after that bad first impression.”
You get one chance at a first impression and this goes especially true in your career. According to Molad, few recruiters can get past a bad first impression. Unreturned calls and emails, bad manners, tardiness to interviews, and interview slip ups will damage your chances of landing that position. Rarely will a recruiter let you know “We just don’t like you.”
“Interviewers often care more about the likability of entry-level candidates than whether or not they’re actually qualified for the job,” says career coach Peter Yang. “This is because the person interviewing you will often also be your future boss and mentor” If you show off your personality along with your skills while making a personal connection with your interviewer/recruiter then you can count that as a strong interview.
4. “Your references weren’t very flattering.”
Most recruiters won’t tell you if you had an unflattering reference that may confirm their doubts or concerns. Molad says. “Your references should talk about your strengths in specific situations — not just basic information.” Your references should be able to pull up examples of real projects where you successfully exceeded expectations and be able to bring up a situation where you showed your strength and skills.
“Bad references can ruin your candidacy as much as good ones can strengthen it,” says Sam Keefe, Digital Marketing Manager at AVID Technical Resources. Her advice - “Give only references who will say positive things about you. Work hard to build good working relationships with coworkers and bosses.”
5. “I back-channeled you, and found out the truth.”
Commonly known as a backdoor reference check (or off-sheet reference check), it refers to obtaining information about a candidate from a source other than those referrals specifically listed in the candidate's application. This is one of the sneaky ways hiring managers and recruiters gain insight on two things – personality traits and past performances..“This phenomenon is even more prevalent in the last five years or so because of LinkedIn’s growing popularity,” says Keefe. “Even if you choose not to give anybody there as a reference, backdoor references can reveal the skeletons in your closet.”
6. “We already gave the job to an in-house employee.”
Depending on the data source, companies report that between 15% to 28% of hires are internal. Some research even shows that internal hires for the most part excel at their task than external ones. However many companies post “phantom jobs“ where a role is posted online as a corporate process while they are already considering internal options. Some times recruiters have to go through the motions of interviewing outside candidates to be able to ensure a “fair“ hiring process. Therefore, Molad says, don’t expect recruiters to come right out and say, “It was a beauty parade to show management we ran a process, but it was a sham and you were never really considered.”
Instead, shake it off and keep on your search for a new job— there are plenty of opportunities out there, and the job that fits your life is just a few clicks away.
7. “Your last few social media posts were deal-breakers.”
70% of employers are snooping candidates’ social media profiles, which is up significantly from 60 percent in 2016. Recruiters are on the hunt for information that supports their qualifications for the job, if the candidate has a professional online persona at all, what other people are posting about the candidates, or for any reason at all not to hire a candidate.
“Hiring managers are reviewing social media pages to become educated about the background and brand the person is articulating and to look for red flags,” says Alan Weatherbee, senior vice president of talent search for Allison+Partners. “They aren’t using it to find ways not to hire someone who is qualified, but to make sure they present themselves in an accurate way.”
You want to make sure your social media pages are void of any political comments, inflammatory messages or anything else that might offend the person who might just hold your future in their hands.
8. “The team is dragging its feet waiting for another candidate’s response.”
You might just be a “Plan B” but your recruiter won’t just go out and say that. If it seems the candidate is dragging their feet and taking their time but keeping you somewhat in the loop — then they might have another candidate in the pipeline.
This should not be taken personally - it can be a very close race for the position and other times the other candidates fall out of the race because of personal circumstances, others jobs offers, or they decide the position isn’t for them. If you feel you may be in this runner-up position then now is your time to take the challenge to let convince your recruiter that you are fit and qualified for this position.
Always remember these "trade secrets” are kept with the business in mind, there is no malicious intent on anyones part. Many times candidates are faced with one or a multiple number of these roadblocks, but the best way around the issue is to be upfront with a recrutier and communicate your goals and concerns.
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