Jean Allen is a veteran recruiter in the financial services industry. She is currently at Exchange Place Partners:
1 What do you know about the job search process as a recruiter that you wish more jobseekers knew?
The fine art of balancing patience and persistence. Candidates who I have talked to about a role, or who have gone in to meet one of my clients about a role, have every right to check in with me if they are looking for a status update. In fact, I appreciate it when someone nudges me for an update which is due or overdue. But calling too much or lashing out when more information is not available is not constructive and won’t get the candidate where they want to go.
2 What is an example of something a strong candidate did very well or that impressed you?
Someone who was in the running for a job they really wanted once told me that her boss would actually be a better fit and that she thought he might be interested if I approached him. I did approach him and he was hired. (Good news: He then hired her.)
3 What is a pet peeve or dealbreaker that candidates may unwittingly or carelessly do?
Candidates who call the client directly, when the client has not offered them that access. I am not referring to the standard follow up note, which candidates certainly should send after a meeting. And I like it when a finalist candidate develops open relationships within the company and begins to engage directly. But I am very annoyed when a candidate crosses the line of good form by going to a client, uninvited, in an attempt to establish a channel around the recruiter. This makes the recruiter look bad for not controlling the process and makes them look like they lack judgment on appropriate organizational behavior.
And also, don’t laugh, but too much perfume or cologne is a pet peeve. It may not be a dealbreaker but it is off-putting and should be avoided.
4 Many jobseekers spend a lot of time fretting about the resume. Is this a good idea? What is another area (interviewing, networking, follow-up, online profile, company research, etc) that you recommend jobseekers spend significant time on?
Everything matters and you have to do it all – even when you are feeling beaten down and discouraged. Because if you knock on enough doors, one will eventually open. Within that, the resume matters a lot because it reflects how you think and how you present yourself. Hence, it should be concise, plain spoken – no typos and no jargon. And it should present a clear chronology of events that show how your career has unfolded. No gimmicks because they drive Recruiter’s nuts and make the candidate appear a bit desperate. It is also worth taking the time to tailor the resume to the specific opportunity, when there is one.
Another bit of advice I give people is to make friends with a recruiter, an HR person or someone else who does a lot of interviewing and hiring — and ask them to help with practice interviews before the real thing. It is a great discipline and a great confidence builder.
5 What is one favorite piece of advice you’d like to share with jobseekers to make them more effective in their searches (and better candidates for yours)?
Be a good listener and ask me thoughtful questions about the role I am seeking to fill. I want to hear your story. But I also want to see that you are genuinely interested in understanding the role, not just eager to sell me on yourself.
Next week’s Recruiter Interview features Brian Harmsen, media recruiter and CEO of Designworks Talent LLC.