The business of doing business has become far more complicated. Managers need the resource of people, but are faced with so many areas of concern: help and hindrance of technology, minimization of turnover, a candidate fit, forming for the future, and the legality of dealing with "protected classes."
With so many barriers, finding the right candidate can feel like navigating a maze. Smart candidates present themselves in a way that shows a better understanding of the manager’s real needs. This four part weekly series will help to raise awareness of often-common mistakes that accidentally tip the scales against good candidates.
"If it were only that simple" — Where did the time go?
There are several fundamental steps to hiring: soliciting, filtering resumes/applications, interviewing, selecting, offering, and starting. It is easy to think that these are the major steps and that the rest is a quick process. Candidates often envision themselves in one of these steps and presume they should hear from their lead at any moment. The reality is not so simple. There are often hundreds of micro-steps in the process of hiring, even when the hiring manager identifies a serious prospect. Couple this with the fact that the majority of those hiring have many other responsibilities and often many more hires to accomplish, and a candidate's projected timeline can be very different from that of the hiring manager. Candidates should look for clues in the messages received from submissions systems, and during the interview process, as to the hiring manager's timeline expectations. And understand that these estimations are only accurate under fully optimal circumstances, which rarely occur. If you have not heard, do not presume the worst. Candidates should offer a positive email or note to the effect
of: "In the event that your search is still in process due to outside factors, please note I am looking forward to your continued consideration." This note represents both understanding and prompting.
"Don’t you remember where my resume went?" — It was just here.
Not every manager is as optimally organized as they would like to be. If managers had no other responsibilities, they might have a perfectly neat desk with a stack of prospective resumes, edged flawlessly. Unfortunately, this is not true of most. Candidates must verify that their contact information is available on EVERY page of a
resume. NO matter how highly-qualified a resume page is, if it lacks a name and then becomes separated, it will not achieve its purpose.
"No one ever calls!" — Actually, we did.
There are times when candidates lose interview chances purely by virtue of the unprofessional nature of their voicemail greetings. For some hiring managers, these can make for very entertaining calls. Candidates with loud backgrounds, Lady Gaga music, or even an automated voicemail greeting will get less than they bargained for, and hiring managers will simply a get a laugh. Candidates should ensure that before any job inquires are sent, they update their voicemail greeting to be professional, well-spoken, friendly, and suggest an ideal method of connection.
"I shared every detail. How could they not call?" — Exactly.
Respect for the time of the person reading resumes is key. Candidates often make the mistake of giving too much information. No one wants irrelevant information that wastes their time, so it is better NOT to go back too far or spend time on hobbies and
interests. Dating services care about this, but hiring managers do not. When sending emails to a prospect, be respectful of their time. Include only basic contact information, and the reason for the email. If a hiring manager cannot quickly read an email on a
mobile device, they many not find an interest in a candidate. Save the details for later, and leave something to be desired for the interview discussion. This illustrates that a candidate is a good time manager for others.
"I have good attention to detail." — Then why didn’t it get used on your resume?
Candidates with good attention to detail do not need to state it, because it shows. Their resumes have well-aligned margins, evenly distributed spacing, consistency in punctuation, and their resumes look eye-catching. Just as in the world of marketing, white space is as important as content. Ensure that a balance of spacing and content allows the reader to feel drawn into the document. A candidate can increase the ease of reading with well-placed line returns and consistent indents. Bold headings and stylize subheadings make time spent by the hiring manager better utilized. Do not over utilize bullets, because they draw the eye rapidly from top to bottom and encourage the hiring manager move on too quickly. If candidates choose to use a format that includes an objective, it should be written with a prospective fit that aligns with the needs of the hiring manager, not as a goal for the candidate. Ideally, objectives are framed as follows:
"To obtain a role in a stable organization that is well established in the field of…" as opposed to, "I want to obtain a role with growth potential…" Never use first person pronouns I, Me or My on a resume.
It's all about Demonstrating Promise
Candidates who have a respect for the hiring manager's time and space resources are candidates who show the most promise for maintaining it after the hiring process is successful. Taking the time to understand those resource needs makes everyone’s job
For over 12 years, J. Michelle Sybesma has ensured workplace success by enhancing both the management and staff skills needed for more content & productive environments for her clients. Contact her at Professional Skills Consulting, Inc. by visiting www.SkillsConsulting.com or call 317-596-9855, or follow her @MichelleSyb.
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