What You Don’t Dare Tell Job Candidates (But Wish You Could)

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I’m always hearing recruiters say they want to be more helpful to candidates.

I wonder. I wrote the following with the idea that it might help some express some of their challenges through a third-party voice.

I’m a phone sourcer. That means I am paid to find people who hold specific titles or who are doing specific job functions inside (usually) specific companies. I’ve been doing this a long time.

There are a few things that spell disaster for you as a job seeker. These are:

  • Being old. It’s a nasty dirty secret inside recruiting but the fact of the matter is if you’re over 50 – maybe even over 45 – many recruiters aren’t interested. They say they’ll look at you and accept your name in the lists I generate but they’re really not. No kidding. I know this will bring down a firestorm of disapproval from some of my readers, but the fact remains that ageism is a very real and huge problem in our society. Face it. Get over it. Do something — talk openly about it here.
  • Being unemployed. This one translates to “…desperately needs a job.” Whatever you do, try not to be unemployed when you look for another job. This is one of the paramount reasons you should always have your eye and ear open to new opportunities. Women should take special heed to this advice. As a jobholder do you know how to also be a job seeker?
  • Having holes in your resume. Again, girls, listen up. Those five years you took off getting five kids up out of the dirt are going to penalize you when you want to (have to) go back to work. I’m not quite sure what to say to you: this issue is endemic also in our society and contributes to the fact that you only make 76 cents for every dollar a man makes. Maybe others can help out here with advice.
  • A resume that looks like a treatise. Keep it direct. Keep it simple. Use a bullet plan. Most recruiters like that best. And whatever you do, do not speak about yourself in the third person.
  • Not being relocatable. Being able to relocate is a huge advantage in today’s job market. So many people are “underwater” in their housing and haven’t had their “come to Jesus” moments of awakening, yet they’re in denial about what’s going on in the housing market and think they’d be better off waiting this thing out. If you’re one of these, get on with your life. Sell your house and move if you have an opportunity to do so. Don’t wait ‘til you need to move. Put your house on the market NOW and prepare to move if you have any inkling at all that you may need a job in the near future (five years or less).
  • Not being “warm.” I just heard that the single most important thing to career success is being “warm.” This means knowing how to talk to people in real time, face to face, and being able to engage with them on a human level. If you don’t know — learn how to do the facey-face stuff.
  • Not being findable. They pay me to find you guys. And some of you just can’t be found because the last time you updated your LinkedIn profile was when you joined three years ago and in the meantime you have lost the job you had and you haven’t gone back to let anyone know where you are today. They’re not mind readers — recruiters, you know. They like things simple, easy, and fast.

Nowadays, social media sites are beginning to monetize — fast! They’re eliminating last names to get viewers to pay to see you. Yes, there’s a way to find your last name, but most don’t know how to do it or don’t want to take the time to do it. Many — the great majority — won’t pay (at least yet … it depends how this thing evolves) to see you. Get smart. Think how to get your contact info into your profiles. Place your e-mail in (use the word “at” instead of the @ symbol for your email) and get your phone number in there for goodness sakes.

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Read their Terms of Service. Most don’t want you doing this, so take my advice at your own risk on some sites. But some other sites don’t seem to mind.

Women: listen up again. Your names many times don’t show up on 411.com searches because your phone number is listed under your husband’s name. If you live alone many of you like to use unlisted numbers. This is career suicide these days.

If you’re only using a cell, get it out there linked to your name. Most people don’t know how to find cell numbers. Beware, though — I can see cell phone crawlers accumulating cell phone numbers for distribution lists. Is there a way to block crap calls? If you have a common name, think to use a middle name or initial. Maiden names might also be considered.

  • Unwillingness to change direction. If your resume (or profile) reflects that you’re unwilling to do just about anything at just about any pay to get out of the situation you find yourself in as an unemployed job seeker — forget it. Employers are looking to retool their workforces with workers who are multi-dimensional and cheap.

These are hard and fast facts of life these days. Get used to it. I don’t care that you have a PhD in fiddle-fooling-around. You’re at risk.

Maureen Sharib has been a “Socratic sourcer” her entire sourcing career; from the moment she first picked up the faxed list of Silicon Valley high-tech companies that was her target list to “phone source” in 1996 to today she has instinctively followed this method of investigative sourcing using (mostly) the telephone.  She is a proponent of sourcing as a synonym for success and envisions the craft moving away from a dangerously drudgery-paced life-form existence to an exciting investigative/competitive place within organizations where practitioners co-exist within a framework of market research, human resources, and C-level future planning. She owns the phone sourcing and competitive intelligence firm TechTrak.com, Inc. You can contact her at Maureen at techtrak.com or call her at (513) 646-7306.  If she’s not on the phone she’ll pick up!

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