Sarah Grayson, a 10-year recruiting veteran, is a Founding Partner of On-Ramps, an executive search firm that specializes in leadership positions in the social sector.
1 What do you know about the job search process as a recruiter that you wish more jobseekers knew?
Every interaction with a search firm and a potential employer is DATA! Being responsive, courteous, thougtful, and smart in every email, phone call, and interaction really matters.
2 What is an example of something a strong candidate did very well or that impressed you?
It’s always impressive to me when candidates refer us other strong candidates and go out of their way to stay in touch, especially if they are targeting fundraising or recruitment roles themselves. It shows me that they know how to network and value relationships.
3 What is a pet peeve or dealbreaker that candidates may unwittingly or carelessly do?
Refuse to discuss compensation or how much money they are making. As a search firm, we can’t target jobs appropriately without this information and an absolute unwillingess to share this information always makes us suspect!
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?
A resume is an important document and candidates should take the time to make sure it is well-written, specific, results-oriented, and ABSOLUTELY free of typos or grammatical errors, but at a certain point, it is time to take that resume to market. During an active job search, we encourage candidates to dedicate about 70% of their “job search time” to networking and about 30% to responding to online job opportunities. It’s also important for candidates to have an updated LinkedIn profile and to ensure that they have practiced their elevator pitch before they go into networking discussions. It seems like a lot of work, but once a candidates lays the foundation and has a strong resume and a polished and practiced pitch, they can dedicate time to networking and meeting people, which typically turns out to be quite energizing.
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)?
Develop and practice a resume walk-thru that is 10-15 minutes long and that highlights your key accomplishments, reasons for transitions, and motivations for a next move. It is surprising how many people don’t do this well and it is almost always the first step in getting a job.
Next week’s Recruiter Interview features Holly White, HR Manager for UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund)