Insider Tips for Getting Past the Recruiter

I’m a recruiter. I’m the roadblock standing between you and your possible dream job. You’ve seen the job posted online or perhaps you heard about it from a friend and it sounds perfect! 

Now, how do you get from that blinking cursor on your computer screen application to the interview seat? Through me. I’m not trying to gloat … I’m here to help! Let me help you help me help my clients. 

kimberly networking eventAllow me to shed some light as to what it is I do so you know how the process works. A client shares an open position with us to assist them with hiring. This could be anything from a Personal Assistant role to a CFO for a global tech company or a mid-size locally owned business.

It is my job to find  the best possible candidates to present to our clients. Now it’s go time! However, it’s important for you to know that I consider myself a part of our client’s team as soon as I start working on their position. I’m not looking for just any Personal Assistant, I’m looking for THE Personal Assistant … for them. Every position I work to fill I screen candidates just as though I worked directly for the company and I take into account skills, experience, culture fit, etcetera. Which leads me to my first tip!

Don’t take it personal: Not every job is right for every person, and that’s ok! What looks great on paper in real life may not be the right long term fit. I’m here to find the right match for both parties, the candidate and the client! If this particular one isn’t the right one, there will be one that is!

The devil is in the details. Now let’s work backwards a little and go back to the blinking cursor on your computer screen, the starting place to most applications. Take the time to complete it correctly … with a focus on the details! I understand that if you are looking for a new opportunity and this is your 29,424,967 online application asking you for your entire life story that you are probably tired of typing. But PLEASE do it anyway! A couple of things I want to point out here before divulging some inside tips. First, it’s a tight candidate market right now (congratulations on having the pendulum swing back to your side!), but that does not mean you can be sloppy or unprofessional. And second, however you fill out your application is exactly how it will appear in my recruiting software.

Here are a few tips that will help you get a phone call:

Remember what your teacher taught you: Hey y’all, capitalization matters! Your online application is not a text message or post amongst your friends. It’s a professional document and should be treated as such. When I see this in our data base, I know it means that it’s exactly how it was entered: karen smith. 1345 apple street. You get the idea. This sends chills down mine and my English teacher Aunt’s spine! It also makes me question your level of professionalism and attention to detail. Don’t get eliminated over capitalization!

Focus on the job: Please don’t blanket apply to any and every position out there, that never works. Ever. If I am working on a QuickBooks Bookkeeper role and you have never touched QuickBooks a day in your life, this position is not the right fit. Most of the time a recruiting firm has been tasked to find a candidate that has X number of years experience doing the same type of position we are recruiting for. Additionally, if the job is listed as part-time and you indicate in the comment section or your cover letter that you are focused on obtaining full-time work I probably won’t be giving you a call. What you can do is explain your qualifications in the comments or cover letter … I have called candidates based on the pertinent information to my job specifically that they listed in their cover letter.

Your resume: You’ve heard it before but it’s still true. Typos and poor grammar kill resumes and so does using one resume for every job you are applying to. There is no one-size fits all resume. It’s ok, and beneficial to you, to have several resumes saved to highlight different professional skills. You have only a few seconds to make an impression with your resume. Make sure everything that relates to the job you are applying to is in the top 1/3 of your resume so it’s the first thing a recruiter sees. There are so many helpful tools out there to help you create a solid professional resume, and if you just plain don’t want to write it, hire a resume writer to do it for you (plus that can be tax deductible …bonus!). 

Your pay: As a recruiter, I talk money all day long. I’m no longer phased by it. I was taught growing up that you just don’t discuss your salary with other people, it’s tacky …unless that person is a recruiter – then you must! It’s important to be honest here. I will use this information to get you your target salary ,not to short change you or our client. I’m looking for a win-win here!

Ok, so you’ve applied online … now what?!

Calling to follow up. What’s funny is it’s the same voicemail I would have left (and did) with a potential employer. You know the one, “Hi Kimberly, this is Sarah Smith and I’m calling to follow up on my application to XYZ job that I recently applied for. I would love to speak to you live about this job and can be reached at …,” or some version of the same message. After hearing the same message over and over again, I swore that I would never utter those words again.

The new and improved voicemail will go something like this, “Hi Kimberly, this is Sarah Smith. I’m calling about the Bookkeeper role you have posted and think my eight years of bookkeeping experience working with QuickBooks would make this an easy role for me to jump right into. I would love to discuss this further and can be reached at …”  See the difference there?! No more blanket voicemails. Stand out by being on-point to the job! Who would of thunk it? 

I could go on and on, but don’t worry I won’t! I hope this was helpful, and if I didn’t touch on anything new that hopefully there were a few good reminders listed. Happy job hunting out there!

Kimberly Anderson is a Talent Acquisition Manager at Mom Corps Dallas.