Tia, an executive coach at Career Intelligence, has spent over 10 years as a senior recruiter and worked for some of the world’s largest companies such as SAP, Unilever, IBM, Johnson and Johnson, Pzifer and Infosys to name a few. Read her responses to our questions below to gain a unique insight into the life of a recruiter and what determines the selection process for job applications. This should hopefully allow you to get a head start on the competition and give you greater chance for future applications.
How many CVs does a recruiter get through their desk per day? Per month?
On average a recruiter will have at least 20 live jobs at any one time and will receive at least 200 CV’s per day.
Wow. That’s a lot of CV’s! With so many CVs coming through their desk, it must be hard to attract a recruiter’s attention. Is there something particular that draws their attention the most?
A well-written CV that is articulated in a clear and concise format is the biggest factor. Along with a brief synopsis that is relevant on the candidate’s suitability for the particular vacancy. With regard to consultancy work the following criteria is also desirable: Academic ability a combination of business acumen and technical skills • networking and social media savvy • entrepreneurial spirit • a ‘big picture view’ • confidence with numbers • conviction • passion • a genuine interest in consulting and business the ability to work as part of a team. Demonstrating “Proof of competency” and providing examples of “skills in action” and key achievements will make a CV “pop out.” Some examples of appropriate buzzwords may include: Advised • Compiled • Critiqued • Coached • Designed • Directed • Established • Examined • Generated • Guided • Hypothesized • Illustrated • Improved • Influenced • Invented • Motivated • Negotiated • Ordered • Oversaw • Prepared • Recruited • Resolved • Supervised • Trained • Upgraded
One of the most common questions we get asked is “ Why my CV does not get read?” Can you explain why?
There can be a range of reasons why a CV may be overlooked. The most common ones are:
- The role has been filled/withdrawn.
- It gets “lost in the machine” of fully automated ATS (Applicants Tracking Systems).
- An applicant may have visa /work permit restrictions that are not compliant with client specification.
- Lost in the machine/sitting in “junk mail.”
One of the most frustrating parts about the job application process is the lack of feedback people receive on their applications. Why are some of the reasons why they might not receive feedback with their application?
- ATS: “Applicant Tracking Systems” will collect CV’s and store them electronically. Sometimes the sheer volume of CV’s make it impossible to respond to each applicant individually.
- The role has been filled/withdrawn.
- The skillset of the applicant is not relevant.
- An applicant may have visa/work permit restrictions that are not compliant with client specification.
What are the best ways to ensure you are not getting overlooked?
- Try to avoid ATS (Applicant Tracing Systems) where possible. Applying en masse for a vacancy via an automated system is rarely successful. Try to deal with a “real person” ideally a decision maker as it creates a level of accountability.
- Do not be afraid to engage with Recruiters and Clients directly.
How would you advise this? What is the best way to approach recruiters and be memorable?
- Hearing a human voice rather than anonymous email is the most effective strategy. Inject some personality into the job seeking process. People do business with people not emails.
- Try to get a referral from a colleague or friend who may have worked with the recruiter previously.
What are some common failings you see when people approach the job market?
- A “War & Peace” epic CV is the most common mistake! Most recruiters will spend 5 seconds reviewing a CV before they decide it’s on the short list. This is when most CV’s longer than 3 pages long will end up in the re-cycling bin. Most recruiters and hiring managers are time-poor so professional short succinct CV’s that are relevant is essential to make an impact. The detailed CV can always follow once the interest is sparked and you are on the short-list.
- Email applications in volume rarely works as they disappear into the “black hole.” Targeting and selecting specific clients and recruiters is far more effective.
- No contact details on the CV! This is really frustrating especially when you have an urgent role or deadline to submit CV’s by.
- Lack of structure on a CV translates to confusion and lack of methodology.
- Spelling mistakes reflect a lack of attention to detail.
What are some of the desirable traits in executives these days that most recruiters are looking out for?
Analytical skills It’s crucial to possess analytical skills. On a day-to-day basis, you will be facing clients’ challenges and problems. In order to solve those problems, you will need to collect the relevant information and data, analyse them and come up with a creative solution. Make sure you highlight these skills by demonstrating on your CV and in your application the analytical skills you gained when you had to solve a problem, come up with a solution, improve a process or hand in a report.
Initiative A high level of initiative is desirable not only to identify where action is needed, but to respond in a timely manner. Often the challenges are complex and require tenacity to overcome obstacles and maintain energy in order to deliver results. To demonstrate initiative, highlight examples in which you have seized opportunities to make improvements, encourage efficiency or start something new, and be clear on how you have delivered success, despite challenges.
Flexibility and articulate communication A flexible and a good communicator who can adapt their style and working practices on a daily basis is an asset especially in the field of consultancy where you are expected to gather information and present findings, often to varying audiences and through different mediums,. You need to be a good listener, and persuasive in making recommendations to clients.
Influencing skills Clients are interested in candidates who can both communicate well and influence those around them. If you have produced the best analysis ever and communicated this perfectly to the client, but you’re not actually able to convince them of your point it’s not very useful. When asked at an interview about a time when you successfully influenced someone, show awareness in your answer of some of the following; the need to establish a rapport, talk convincingly and with enthusiasm, see things from different points of view and support points with fact to ensure credibility.
Interpersonal skills Interpersonal skills are crucial; you usually work in teams to achieve a common goal. When it comes to working with clients, verbal communication is only the tip of the iceberg. Listening skills, body language and negotiation are essential, especially when under common project pressures. We use interpersonal skills in almost every area of life so it should be relatively easy to find examples to talk about at interview.