Put Your Job Hunter to Good Use
Odette Shearer, consultant and manager of our contracting division featured in an article published in the Herald on Saturday May 5th, which has some excellent advice for job hunters to benefit from partnering with their recruitment consultants.
To read a transcript of the article, see below.
Put your job hunter to good use
Finding work is a two-way process with recruiters, writes Tom O’Neil
The scenario would almost always play itself out the same way. I would be at a dinner party with new and old friends. Around 9pm, after a bottle or two of wine had been consumed, conversation would turn to “what do you do for a job?”
For most people this wouldn’t be an issue, as they could happily say “butcher, baker, or banker”. But I always knew at this stage the night was about to get a bit more exciting. “I’m a recruiter,” I would say pleasantly.
“Why don’t you people ever reply to messages?” one person would respond. “Don’t you know how to use a phone?” another would chime in angrily.
Some unscrupulous rogues in recruitment have given some candidates a bad view of the industry.
So I set out to find how a candidate could most effectively and professionally “partner” with their recruiter during the job hunt. Getting to the top of the pile can often feel like a lotto draw, but Anne-Marie MacIntyre, New Zealand Talent Management Director for Hudson, says it’s not as difficult as it might seem.
“You must clearly and succinctly articulate your value propositions, establish an understanding of the organisation and role you are applying for, and demonstrate compelling subject matter and expertise.”
Amanda Scott, General Manager of Interim Taskforce (part of the Madison Group) adds: “Take the time to customise your covering letter to the role and highlight relevant expertise. As well as this, check you spelling and grammar, and ensure you are addressing the correct person and company.”
My group of recruitment professionals generally agreed the CV needed to be about four pages. Joanne McKay, Director of Building Industry Recruitment, says: “The CV needs to look sharp and finely tuned. They are not the senior candidate level that they think they are if they can’t complete this part of the process properly.” Scott also says: “Recruiters and Hiring Managers read hundreds of CVs. Make it easy – use bullet points or transferable skills, software and competencies.”
Keeping in contact with your recruiter is vital. “Candidates need to re-apply each time they see a new position we are advertising, as we cannot remember everyone in a talent-rich environment,” says McKay. Says MacIntyre: “Candidates have a reasonable expectation to be contacted and responded to in a timely manner and with courtesy. However, candidates and recruiters equally are responsible for agreeing on expectations around communication, including frequency and method.” I remind my clients that if they have seen a recruiter two weeks ago, chances are the recruiter would have since screened more than 300 CVs and interviewed more than 30 people.
Patience and respect during the process is key, according to Scott. “With the volume of communication we handle on a daily basis, including email, phone and face-to-face meetings, we have to manager our time efficiently to get the job done. This means we can’t always respond to requests for updates, or general chat, unless there is something genuinely new to report.”
To stand out in an interview, Odette Shearer, Senior Consultant at Pohlen Kean says: “Listen to each question and give succinct answers. The recruiter will ask for further information if they require it. Also, do your homework. If you are interviewing for a specific role, research the company, relevant news articles, what products or services they sell and really think carefully about how your experience may be relevant. Give specific, relevant examples to back up your skills.”
How can a candidate develop a strong long-term relationship with a recruiter throughout their career?
“It’s similar to building any relationship in that it’s two-way,” says Shearer. “You need to keep in touch, listen to feedback and be proactive, understand expectations and timeframes and have an open dialogue.”
Scott agrees. “Be professional, punctual, reliable, honest and friendly and keep me updated. Remember that your consultant is the gateway to potential hundreds of companies, so treat them with respect.”
A two-way process will make the journey work best for you both.
• Tom O’Neil is MD of cv.co and author of Selling Yourself to Employers – The Essential Job- Hunting Guide. You can email him direct at firstname.lastname@example.org