Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable." --Franz Kafka
An open letter to recruiters. Mainly recruiters for software developers, but I suspect much of these are reasonable requests for all sectors.
- Please stop saying "Leading provider of". Sure- you want to give the idea that your client is A Major Player. Fine. All good. But using rehashed buzzwords doesn't convey that idea. The phrase is like the paintings in a hotel room. If you even notice them, they have no real meaning. Instead, tell me why your client leads their industry. What have they accomplished? How do they lead? Is it through use of new technology? New innovations? Say something meaningful. Something that will have an impact.
- Please stop telling me how many years your client has been in business. This may be useful information for clients, but potential employees aren't looking to retain their services. They're looking for a culture that fits. Generally, the amount of time a company has been in existence is irrelevant. Instead, talk about the culture. Not everyone wants to wear a suit and tie and interact with a rigid corporate structure. But not everyone wants to work in shorts and sandals, sitting on a bean bag, and walking into a Director's office for casual conversation. Laying this out will help find candidates that are a good fit for the company.
- Proofread your communications. Twice. When I see "I think you'd be a good fit for [Job Description]", I delete the email. Same with blatant misspellings. Anymore, any text entry application comes with an automatic spell checker.
- Read the resume. The most recent position is where your candidate has moved in his career and it's reasonable to think that that the position on purpose. If your contact is in a leadership, planning, or strategy position, it's probably a waste of time to offer direct development work. Your contact has moved on to something else and it's fair to assume that, barring unemployment, moving back isn't likely to happen.
- Be specific. "Maintaining large applications" or "Excellent communication skills" doesn't tell me anything. Again, these are hotel room paintings. What I want is a good snapshot of my day-to-day activities. Does "Sr. Application Developer" mean "Application Developer with a lot of experience"? Does it mean "Responsible for the work of a development team"? If I don't know, I'm less likely to take a chance. And that's exactly what you're looking for. Someone who will take a chance on your job offering being better than the current one.
- This is likely somewhat out of your control, but stop with the "X years of experience". While I realize that your client is telling you that, under the misapprehension that years of experience is an accurate measure of anything, you shouldn't have to tell that to candidates. If you can't tell from the resume how many years of experience the candidate has in the necessary technologies, then the resume has been badly written.
- Same with this "Degree needed" or "Degree or relevant experience needed" silliness. Aside from this not being any measure of anything important, it's pointless to include in a communication to a specific candidate. If your candidate doesn't have the necessary degree, don't bother. Likewise with "Degree or relevant experience". If your candidate doesn't have either, they clearly aren't a good fit.
So, what's the bottom line here? Much like the fact that a good candidate needs to stand out in order to be seen as a good candidate, recruiters need to stand out in order to be seen as a good recruiter. You can't afford to be a carbon copy of everyone else. You can't just be hotel room art, and you can't hand over a vague description with ubiquitous buzzwords and expect to spark any interest. Instead, you need to capture the candidate's attention. You do this through clear and concise communication of what your client is looking for. You do this by standing out.
A thought to keep in mind. All the advice recruiters give to job seekers about how they present themselves through resumes and interviews? That should apply to your communications with candidates. Especially your first contact.