Saturday, June 11, 2011

Five things recruiters look for
Chris Greaves, managing director of Hays-Recruitment Experts Worldwide, Gulf region and India, gives tips on how to give your resume an edge and on what candidates, in turn, should look out for in a recruiter.

Recruitment agencies find honest appraisals of successes attractive and are put off by frequent job changes. Avoid jargon on your CV and get your grammar right.
Job searches—like Internet searches—tend to throw up results that may be completely irrelevant to what you are looking for. Recruitment agencies could well be the one-stop shop to help you get the right job. Chris Greaves, managing director of Hays-Recruitment Experts Worldwide, Gulf region and India, gives tips on how to give your curriculum vitae (CV) an edge and on what candidates, in turn, should look out for in a recruiter. Edited excerpts from an interview:

Should candidates meet with their recruiters?
I think if geography permits, then recruiters should interview candidates before they put forward their resumes. We as an organization would endeavour to interview people face-to-face before we submit them to the client.

What is the lead time you should give a recruiter after you send them your CV?
 If there is a live or current vacancy available to the candidate, it should be instantaneous. I would also expect the recruiter to be sufficiently knowledgeable about their marketplace and clients; and be able to spot organizations that may be of interest to their candidate. I think an insightful recruiter will be able to look at the skill set of a candidate and be able to make some judgements, such as which organizations they deal with might be interested in that CV.

What are a few points people must keep in mind while writing their resumes?
The general advice is to keep away from jargon. It seems to be superficial and repeated in everyone’s resumes. For example, listing a quality like “hard working”. Everyone is “hard working”, so how do you differentiate yourself from everyone else? I think resumes need to be a more honest appraisal about your genuine interests and successes rather than what comes across as a lot of bland jargon.

What are the five things recruiters look for while short-listing resumes?
I'd say—and this is a personal view for the staff I hire—that I don’t think people like to see candidates who have job-hopped excessively. That is something that will put employers off. A stable and secure work history with some evidence of career development is highly attractive. If people are moving jobs every three or four years, then I think that’s an acceptable period of time. It shows that they hold value to the organization. But three-four jobs in less than five years are looked at dubiously.

Second would be a commitment to one’s education. I think that’s always an admirable feature in a resume.

Third, recognition or promotion within an organization, different experiences or opportunities.

We can also look into things like reference checks, see previous targets, if they have been achieved, etc., if there are jobs that are not quantifiable into targets, then we look at different parameters on your achievements.

How important is it to tailor your resume to the job you are applying for? Should, or will, the recruiter do that for you?
If an individual is applying directly to an organization then it does make sense to tailor a resume to the organization. When applying to a recruitment business, it has to be an all-encompassing resume and the responsible agency should be able to tailor the resume according to the client’s requirement.

Why would you turn away a candidate?

For candidates, first it would be advisable for people to make sure their CV is grammatically correct because if it’s not, they must remember they are up against 99% people who have got it correct. And it may be representative of a wider shoddiness that may get exposed, such as inability to keep time, etc.

In the world of LinkedIn, Facebook, does networking prove equally—if not more—beneficial than a recruiter? Does a recruiter ask a candidate to lie low or join such platforms?

If we’ve got a lot of suitable opportunities, we would ask the candidate to lie low, it comes down to a matter of trust between the recruitment company and the individual. What a recruiter doesn’t really want to have is a lot going on with the individual, like direct applications, etc., if they are working towards finding that person a job. Clearly what is not in the candidate’s interest is if they are asked to lie low by the recruiter and the recruiter is not able to find them a suitable job. So this comes back to the trust issue.

Should a candidate deal with more than one recruiter? What are the advantages of this?

Sometimes it is advantageous, and sometimes, counterproductive. The agencies will all submit your CV to all companies at the same time. I think if you find that it’s got a good market present in the skill that you have and the job that you do, you build up a good level of trust with your agent; they know their market and they’ve met the client they are working on behalf of, then I would say it’s perfectly comfortable to leave that job search in their hands. If your recruiter cannot answer those questions successfully then I would say that you leave them in the hands of a limited number of players.

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