Are recruiters helping or hurting their candidates?

Image by Niklas Bildhauer. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.0 Generic License.
Image by Niklas Bildhauer.
Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.0 Generic License.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on recruiting.  But I do have the perspective of a hiring manager.  And like on many things, I have opinions.

I have a somewhat unique management experience in which I go through a process annually of recruiting and hiring highly-skilled talent for short-term projects. You’d probably call them temps, but we like to say “contractors”.  The people I need on my team must hold skills and experience beyond the standard customer service or office administration tasks.

So I find myself yearly in the unique place of trying to find several people with skills equal to my full-time employees, but are willing and able to work for only a short time. It’s as challenging as it sounds.

I wouldn’t be able to accomplish this without the help of my company’s temp resources and the recruiting agencies we work with.  However, I often wonder if recruiters are really giving their candidates the care they deserve, and I have a couple of requests.

LET YOUR CANDIDATE’S RESUME SHINE

I am a marketing and communications professional, so I am biased, but I really want to see a candidate’s resume as they wrote it.  When I am looking for team members with good communications skills, their resume is my first peek into that they have to offer.  A well-worded and well-formatted resume almost always gets shuffled to the top of the pile. You can guess what happens to the bad ones.

Most recruiters do not provide the candidate’s actual resume.  They send me a poorly formatted, text-heavy document often filled with typos and grammatical errors. Not a good impression when your candidate is applying for a communications position.

I have learned to adjust my perceptions over the years, and I always try to give candidates the benefit of the doubt that the errors are not theirs. Managers less experienced working with recruiters might not know enough to do this. I understand a lot of people need help with their resume, but you’re not doing them any favors when you don’t help them make it look professional.

FOR PETE’S SAKE, KEEP IT SUCCINCT

In my most recent hiring effort, I received no less than 3 resumes that were 4 or more pages long, stuffed from margin to margin with text.  Run-on sentences filled with every detail about every task the person ever completed. 

Another reason to just use your candidate’s resume, but let’s assume we still are going to reformat… It’s common knowledge that resumes should be 1-2 pages and contain concise, high-level details about your accomplishments. How could a recruiter not know that?  You have one job, guys!

I’m sorry, but I can’t even wrap my head around 5 pages of information. When I’m reviewing 30 resumes  in a couple of days, I don’t get to spend much time with each one. It’s hard to get a good sense of someone’s actual skills when I’m wading through 100 bullet points of jargon and statistics.

REMEMBER IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU

At least half of the applications I get come with several points at the top providing the recruiter’s opinion of why this person is perfect for the role. Thanks, but like, I can read.

You need to trust your hiring managers to understand the skillset they need, and that they can decipher a resume enough to determine if the person might have it.  (Maybe if the document you sent me wasn’t 5 pages, I wouldn’t need a summary at the top. Hashtag just saying.)

You’re not the one trying to land a job here.  Your role is to connect the right candidates with the right organization at the right time. Leave the rest up to them.  If your candidate is right for the job, they’ll get it.  If they’re not, I’m not going to be fooled by your extra bullet points anyway.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.