Top 5 Mistakes Candidates Make – and How to Avoid Them

By Veronica Blatt

image of missed target for mistakes candidates make

Our guest blogger is Jason Elias of Elias Recruitment in Sydney, Australia. Elias Recruitment is a specialist legal recruitment consultancy, finding lawyers for law firms, not-for-profits and corporates, across Australia. Jason is the Secretary/Treasurer of the NPAworldwide Board of Directors and received our Chairman’s Award in 2014. Jason is also a Fellow of the peak recruitment industry body in Australasia, the RCSA (Recruitment & Consulting Services Association).

As recruiters, we hear, see and are sometimes purely surprised by some of the easily avoided but common mistakes candidates make in the recruitment process. Here are some tips to help you along the recruitment process. Read the rest of this entry »


Willing to Wander: Job Seekers On The Move

By Sarah Freiburger

FutureAccording to the 2014 Jobvite Job Seeker Nation Study, over 70% of the US labor force is in the market for a new job. 50% of that includes employed workers who are “willing to wander.” These percentages reflect a transformation in the market due to the social web, where job hopping has now become more and more common. What this means for independent recruiters, is that those purple squirrel candidates or hard to fill positions may be easier to find and fill with the knowledge that most candidates, even those happy in their current positions, are willing to consider a change. US News Careers offers this advice to job seekers:

Research and contact recruiters in your field. Again, it’s most helpful to build these relationships before you need them, but now is better than never. Find out which recruiting firms work in your field and make those contacts. Even if the recruiter doesn’t have an opportunity that’s an exact fit at that moment, just letting them know you’re open to hearing about new opportunities keeps you on their radar. Check in occasionally.

It is also an advantage to seek new opportunities when you already are happy in your current employment. Having a job while searching for new employment gives you leverage when it comes to negotiating terms for the new gig. Teach, author of career novels, says. “You’re in a greater position to make demands and get what you want. Without a job, this leverage goes out the window.”

While having this leverage opportunity, it is also important to consider sensitivity to your current position. Keep your LinkedIn profile updated, but do not indicate that you are seeking new employment. Most importantly, tell your recruiter and prospective employers to keep your job search confidential. Working with an independent recruiter is an excellent way to keep discretion and avoid posting your resume all over the internet.

To view a directory of NPAworldwide’s highly professional and ethical recruiters, click here.

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UK Job Seekers and Employers Say Interview Process Has Lengthened [INFOGRAPHIC]

By Veronica Blatt

According to data released by Randstad, both job seekers and employers in the UK say the job interview process has lengthened since 2008.

Over the past five years, survey respondents indicated:

  • 23% increase in the time it takes job seekers to secure a new role (10 weeks, 5 days vs. 8 weeks, 5 days)
  • Job interview time has increased by 1.5 hours – measured in actual interview time as well as interview prep
  • More than twice as many jobs requiring pre-employment testing or assessment, which contributes to the slower hiring process
  • More employers requiring multiple interviews

Below is an infographic from CareerBright highlighting the rest of the findings:

infographic about interview process getting longer

These findings mirror reports from US job seekers as well, who cite longer job searches, more multiple interview situations, and an overall slowdown in the hiring process.

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5 Reasons eHarmony Won’t Threaten Agency Recruiters

By Veronica Blatt

image of computer mouse cord shaped like a heartSo eHarmony, the popular online dating site, is developing a career site to match job seekers to employers. Puh-leeze. As far as I am concerned, agency recruiters shouldn’t spend even five minutes worrying about this new ‘competition.’ I’ve written before about how job boards compare to online dating services, and my sentiments haven’t changed.

Here are my top 5 reasons why eHarmony’s new endeavor won’t threaten agency recruiters:

1. Hiring is not dating. Sometimes you go on a date and realize there won’t be a second date. Sometimes you date for a few months and realize the relationship isn’t going anywhere. Many times (most?) when you break up, you never want to see or hear from the other person again. How does that make sense for employment? Most employers don’t want to hire someone only to hear, “It’s not you, it’s me” 3 months later. And most employers also don’t approach most hires with a “try it before you buy it” mentality. Applying a dating ‘strategy’ to the employment process really doesn’t make a lot of sense. Agency recruiters, on the other hand, cultivate long-term relationships with candidates BEFORE they have a job that is suitable. And they stay in touch with their “exes,” knowing that people move on and create new placement opportunities.

2. Really long ‘application’ process will turn off job seekers and employers alike. To use eHarmony as a dating site, users must currently complete a 250+ question profile. 250+ questions! Just to see if eHarmony will even accept you as a user! Now complicate it by factoring in the high probability that job seekers will be using a mobile device. 250 questions on a phone? Not gonna happen.

2. High rejection rate, which could be discriminatory in an employment context. According to some reports, approximately 20% of all people who try to use eHarmony’s dating platform are rejected as unsuitable. True, many of them are already married, which doesn’t bode well for a site that wants to help people find lasting relationships that lead to marriage. BUT, a significant number of applicants are rejected because the answers they give on the eHarmony profile are inconsistent or too hard to match. eHarmony believes that people who think a lot like each other are more likely to be compatible. Translation: eHarmony works best for black-and-white “yes/no” people. People who think “it depends” is usually the right answer are harder to match in this system. Lots of jobs require flexibility, creative thinking, and nuance — in other words, “it depends” answers. If it turns out that there are certain types of people who are more likely than others to be rejected because of the way they answer questions, this could potentially lead to discrimination-related lawsuits.

3. Lies and TMI (Too Much Information). People exaggerate or outright lie on both their resumes AND their online dating profiles. Savvy users have figured out the keyword game and know how to stuff their profiles with words they think others will search on. TMI is another issue, with some people “oversharing” and an increasing number of employers reportedly turning down candidates based on what they have posted on social media profiles. Agency recruiters struggle with these same issues, which can’t be solved (yet) with an algorithm.

4. Poor job descriptions / employers don’t know what they want. The best matches come when both sides to the party know what they are looking for. Unfortunately, many employers still struggle with poorly-written job descriptions that are based on what a candidate HAS and not what the candidate can DO. It’s the old garbage in, garbage out concept – if the employer doesn’t know what they want, no one will be able to find it, whether it’s an agency recruiter OR a service like eHarmony.

5. The people you want aren’t there. People who aren’t actively looking for a date OR a job probably aren’t using these sites. I don’t care how good the site is, you can only find the people who register.

Hiring is a complex process. It involves a lot more than comparing yes/no tick boxes on an online profile. Agency recruiters understand nuance and culture, which can’t easily be analyzed with software. If job boards haven’t put you out of business, this won’t either. Share if you agree!

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Image courtesy of kanate / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


3 Reasons to Conduct Video Interviews

By Veronica Blatt

video-presentationToday’s guest blogger is Anne Downing with Demetrio & Associates, LLC located in greater Phoenix, Arizona. Demetrio & Associates is a boutique recruitment firm that has clients across the US as well as in international locations. The firm places candidates in sales & marketing, advertising, wireless and software positions. Anne is currently serving on NPA’s Board of Directors.

If you are not using video interviews to interview your candidates, or if your clients are not using video interviews, now is the time to start. Video is EVERYWHERE. YouTube has over 1 billion unique visitors EVERY MONTH. People are using video for more reasons than just watching their favorite band perform.

Employers are attracting potential new employees with corporate branding videos and are often using video as part of their hiring process. Sarah White, an industry analyst, conducted a video interviewing usage survey that indicated 38% of the respondents said they use video at some stage of the hiring process. It is safe to assume that this number will increase rapidly over the next couple of years.

There are several reasons why video should be part of the interviewing process, and I will discuss a few below:

Globalization. As recruiters, many of us work with candidates all over the US and the world for that matter. Using video interviews can give us a much better feel for the candidates’ personality and presentation skills. In the long run, this will allow us to present the best possible candidates to our clients.

Speed. Video interviews speed up the hiring process. It is often hard to set up in-person interviews because hiring managers and other members of the interviewing team have scheduling conflicts due to their travel, meetings etc. With video, people can be located anywhere in the world and take part in the video interview. This allows a lot of flexibility on your client’s part to set up the interview. It also can save your client money because this will eliminate some of the travel costs they pay to have candidates come in for an in-person interview.

Remote workers. Many candidates in today’s market work remotely, travel on a regular basis or work from their home offices. Having access to video on their mobile devices allows them to do a video interview from anywhere. One can slip away from “work” and do an interview on their laptop, iPad or mobile phone.

Employers, recruiters and candidates are all ready to engage with each other via the video platform. If you are not using video, now is the time to start!

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Are resumes still a valid recruiting resource?

By Veronica Blatt

image of woman preparing for a job interviewThere are beginning to be more conversations about whether resumes (or CVs, in other parts of the world), are still a necessary recruiting resource. It’s not a new argument. After all, certain types of professionals (visual arts, graphic designers, etc.) have always relied on a portfolio of works instead of a traditional resume. And the idea of being ‘paperless’ has been a much-hyped goal for at least 20 years.

But it feels different to me this time. And I think we might, actually, be at the beginning of the decline of the traditional paper resume.

What’s different?

Well, for one thing, this time around, the conversation isn’t just limited to new media or high-tech Silicon Valley candidates. Some companies are starting to experiment with more ‘traditional’ kinds of roles. Employers are realizing more and more, that a candidate’s ability to ‘fit’ the corporate culture is often just as important, if not more so, than their ability to do the job. It’s tough to get a sense of ‘fit’ from a sterile, one-dimensional resume.

For another, it’s no secret that employers are making “social media research” part of their screening process. While it may be true that such efforts are often a tool to reduce the candidate pool, there are some amazingly great things about candidates that are online. In addition to a LinkedIn profile, there are blogs, digital portfolios, slide decks, and content curation sites like Scoop.it and even, perhaps, Pinterest, that can show a more complete picture of the candidate as a person. It’s early days, and most candidates probably aren’t doing these things (or doing them well), but those who are probably have a competitive advantage.

As for independent recruiters, for whom the resume has long been the ‘gold standard’ by which candidates are measured, The Ladders reports that the average recruiter spends just six seconds (!!) per resume during the initial screening process. Six seconds? It’s tough for me to believe that anyone can make an accurate assessment about anything other than cursory keywords in six seconds. That’s the best recruiting resource to assess a candidate’s potential?

Finally, I believe that the staggering proliferation of mobile devices may very likely cause the death of the resume as we know it. Not this year, maybe not in five years, but I think it’s coming. Candidates are using smart phones for everything. They aren’t storing a resume on their phone. It’s not something they can access easily in a mobile environment. There are now recruiting firms and other services offering suggestions on how to make mobile-friendly resumes. Independent recruiters and employers are increasingly mobile, too, with their own smart phones and (to a lesser degree) tablets. How does that six seconds thing work for you when you’re trying to read resumes on your iPhone? Hiring managers and HR professionals are reviewing resumes on mobile devices when they are away from the office, and the traditional format simply does not translate well to the small screen.

I don’t think the revolution is upon us yet. Resumes are a deeply entrenched part of the recruiting process. It will take time before many traditional employers will be ready to let go and embrace a different (still undefined) alternative.

Are resumes still a prime recruiting resource in your recruitment agency? What do you hear from clients?

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