2/21/13

10 Things Candidates Hate about Recruiters



The replies I received for my previous article “10 Things Recruiters (Me Included) Hate about Candidates” inspired me to write about the people in the other team – the candidates who have their likes and dislikes also. I must admit I have been a candidate too at some point and I know how all the items below feel.

So, here they are:

      1.       Never confirming that the CV was received – this is really unpleasant. You can’t be sure if the CV arrived anywhere or if it was sent into the abyss.  Should I send it again? Should I try to find other means of communication? And this when you really want a job – driving you crazy, right? Well, dear recruiters, I must admit this is annoying. The solution: set auto responder emails for your mailboxes or use automatic job portals to receive CVs. They will confirm the candidate that even if they don’t get a call, at least they did their best to send the CV on time and to the correct recipient;

      2.       Lacking Experience – this is often translated in lack of confidence during interview, reading your notes all the time, not knowing what to ask the candidate, asking about details that already are in the CV – well, this doesn’t look good al all. The candidate will turn desperate – if this is the person deciding my fate, then I am doomed! You would think the same too should you be in the candidate’s shoes. What to do – do joint interviews at first with a senior recruiter, always read the candidate’s CV before the interview, and underline items that interest you so that you have a clear idea of what to ask, prepare an interview plan to make sure that you don’t miss anything. Calling the candidate later because you have forgotten to ask something is also looking bad.

      3.       Being Narrow-Minded – have you as a candidate felt during the interview that the person in front of you is not listening to what you are saying? Well, that’s a narrow-minded recruiter who hasn’t heard about active listening. Making the candidate feel that you already have an idea about what they are worth and that you really don’t care anymore about what they are telling you is being narrow-minded. Recruiters, stop judging by initial impressions. One thing that might help is my article about communication styles – “Human Resources Mysteries - Understanding Communication Styles”. Listen to the candidate and offer everyone equal chances – you might be surprised. The IT world in particular offers a lot of out of the ordinary candidates who you may judge by the way they look and who might be geniuses. Rejecting one of these can cause your company financial loss. Also, I will tell you about one situation where I was a candidate in front of narrow-minded recruiters: a few years ago I went to an interview for an HR position in a furniture factory. The two recruiters admitted they were not HR people and when they started asking me HR questions they opened a book about HR and expected my replies to be by the book. HOW STUPID! I replied from my real HR experience – a few years already back then – but at the end of the interview they told me I was rejected because they couldn’t find my answers in what the book told them. At least they were honest, but stupid and unprofessional.


      4.       Not offering feedback or offering useless feedback – no calling a candidate back means that the recruitment process you conduct is not concluded – offering feedback is the last mandatory stage – feedback includes negative feedback also, not only a salary offer. Feedback can be offered via phone or email, but telling the candidate when they are going to receive it and by which means is mandatory. If the candidate also receives improvement ideas, they can turn into a great candidate later on. Of course, there are cases when the candidate has attitude issues. Then a standard email is ok, but also mandatory.

      5.       Not being able to offer relevant information about the position when asked – this makes you, dear recruiters, look very bad. This means that you have no idea about your job and then, what on Earth are you doing on that position? When a job ad is posted, it is mandatory for the recruiter to know what they are looking for. If the position is too technical and you are at a job fare for example and technical candidates are expected, ask a technical colleague to come there with you. He will reply technical questions for you and you will not look bad. Also, if there are questions you simply can’t know, offer contact information for the candidate to use and ask. Make sure emails received are always replied after talking to the managers that have the job opening. Never leave candidates’ emails unanswered. You will endanger the company’s image.


      6.       Not keeping track of applications and calling the same candidate several times – not being organized – this is really frustrating for a candidate that has already received some previous feedback or who has just been through part of the selection process. If they have received negative feedback, calling them again and realizing you called them by mistake makes them angry. They will never be interested in your company. Guys, please remember that recruiters represent the company and the way candidates are treated influences the image of the company on the market. A negative image created in such a way takes years to fix.

      7.       Not reading applications carefully – being superficial – asking questions about details that already are in the CV or asking people to come to interview and realizing you have made a mistake looks bad – this is a waste of time for all sides. Recruiters, you must prepare a list of requirements and search each CV carefully. Read all CVs that are scheduled for interview, underline details and ask relevant questions. Remember that some candidates are really good and that they are really worth your time. Being superficial can make them reconsider your offer. You may lose good people.


      8.       Promising to do something and not doing it – sending stuff via email, replying to questions sent by email, sending the candidate’s CV to someone, offering support – remember that you represent a company. Being unreliable means for the candidate that the company is unreliable. Think about that really carefully. Never leave messages from candidates unanswered. Even thank you messages must be answered – tell the candidate that his message was received, that you were glad to have them for interview, thank them for their time and tell them when feedback will be received. Always keep your promises. Even if it is a rejected candidate, leaving them with a good impression, can make them recommend someone that turns out to be what you need.

      9.       Not caring about the candidate – just about their stupid deadline to fill the position – this is an impression that a lot of candidates have after the initial contact with a recruiter. Make sure you have time for everybody. If you don’t, reschedule or delegate, but make sure that each candidate was handled carefully. If their CV is not good, at least send them an auto responder email telling them that you thank them for their time and CV. Candidates that have also been invited to interview, need even more time and attention. Remember that each of them can be the next perfect candidate – offer them equal opportunities and equal parts of your time, listen to them and offer feedback. These are key elements to show candidates you care.


      10.   Too much power to decide – who gets rejected and who doesn’t – this is really scary for both the recruiter and the candidate. The recruiter is the first filter and holds in their hand the fate of hundreds of candidates. Have I made a mistake? The recruiter may ask. Has this guy even bothered to read my CV? The candidate may ask. Anyway, all you recruiters out there must remember that you have great responsibility in your hands. Use your power wisely.

Guys,
Thanks for reading and for offering feedback to my articles.
I am looking forward to other elements being added to the list by all of you candidates out there.

Take care,
Geo

2/19/13

Recruitment and Selection: 10 Things Recruiters (Me Included) Hate about Candidates

After working for several years in the recruitment field and after talking to fellow recruiters, here are 10 most annoying items that we hate about candidates. This list should be useful for candidates also as it will help them understand our point of view and will prevent any silly situations in their job seeking activities:

So here they are:
1. Inappropriate CVs - CVs too short, CVs too long (I've received one one that had 14!!! pages), CVs that have no connection to the job, CVs without contact details, CVs with stupid email addresses, CVs with silly names (candidates that don't offer their real name like "Poker DJ" - Guys, do you even hope that anyone will contact you for a serious job if you put such a name on your CV?, CVs in other languages than those requested, CVs that mention "gsgdyuue" for current company name, CVs that instead of responsibilities for a certain current position mention only the description of the company (I received a CV once of someone working in a hotel - they didn't mention their responsibilities there but considered suitable to tell me how many rooms the hotel had, what an amazing sauna, WI FI and similar crap - Guys, are you applying for a job or selling me a vacation?), ugly CVs that nobody bothers to format and put in a nice and readable template - I received CVs in .txt format, without any fonts or alignment, CVs that lie (fake studies, wrong level of languages, fake courses), the list can go on but I will stop here...
2. Not replying when contacted - this is a great waste of time for the recruiter, wasting time with useless phone calls or writing emails nobody answers. Imagine that nobody will ever call you again after 3-4 tries. If you are available only during certain hours or on certain days, please mention that in your CV, don't let us call like crazy. Thanks :)

3. Not showing up for interviews and not calling to reschedule or explain- this is driving us crazy because the recruiter's time is completely lost - you can't schedule someone else in just a few minutes, you have to sit there and wait for at least 15 minutes before you give up, you have to start making phone calls; not to mention the time you have already wasted reading the CV and going through previous stages of the selection. Guys, if you don't want a certain job, be brave enough to say so. "I am sorry, I am no longer interested." You can even give us a nice lie that you have already received a better offer. Just letting the recruiter wait will probably send your CV directly to trash. Chances to be called again are almost zero - you have attitude problems, even if you may be good for another position later in the future.
4. Showing up far too late for interviews - please don't unless you have called before to explain that you can't find the location or that something really serious has happened. Being late means most of the times a change in the entire schedule for the entire day and for the rest of the candidates too. Your risk is to go through a superficial interview or to lose the job to someone who was there on time.
5. Showing up uninvited for interview- don't do it, no recruiter will change their schedule to meet with you especially that not being invited can mean having a rejected CV. Your risk is to seem desperate and this is not seen as a good thing. Especially if you are a pushy type and insist on being seen. They may meet with you just to check what's so great about you, but remember that the exam will be extra strict and most probably it will take 10 superficial minutes. Recruiters have hundreds of CVs to read and tons of other activities on their mind - ads, promotion, job fares, reporting, other interviews - messing up their schedule will not be appreciated. You feel you are amazing and someone overlooked your CV, better send an email or call and politely ask for an interview. You have better chances that showing up uninvited.
 
6. Acting important - nothing is more annoying for a recruiter that a candidate that keeps bragging about how amazing they are, about how many people they know, sometimes I get candidates that feel the need to tell me that they know important people. So what? You are here to be tested and show us what You are worth. We don't care about your important connections. Remember, a really smart person is only that one that is modest too. They impress by their personality and their knowledge, not by their connections and political skills. Also, lying about your responsibilities drives us crazy too. I've had a candidate once that told me what an amazing manager he was and that he managed a team of 20 technicians in France bla bla bla. He was interested in management only - no team member position - he specified that several times. When we asked for references, he proved he was no such thing as a manager. He was just a simple team member and the 20 technicians were just his colleagues.
7. Inappropriate dress code for interviews - guys, always dress for the position you are being interviewed for - try to imagine what you would be asked to wear on the job on a daily basis and use that. If you simply can't imagine, ask the recruiter - it's not silly to do that. I had once a guy for interview and I even remember him now after a few years - he wanted a sales coordinator position (position that involved working with doctors and medical center managers) , but instead of a suit he came dressed in a T-shirt that wasn't even ironed, his hair was a big mess and at 10 am he looked like he had just woken up. Imagine what happened to him...Sorry, guys, but for certain positions appearance is key as you represent the image of a company.
8. Not being able to evaluate your market value correctly - this is what I personally hate the most - students or fresh graduates that have some general knowledge in a field, have never worked in their life, haven't done any volunteering, no internships, but apply for management positions and ask for a fortune. People, wake up and grow up! You have graduated college, good for you...So did hundreds of others. Now look around and compare your real value with that of others. Do you really offer what the company you are targeting wants? If not, lower your expectations and see where you really position yourself.
 

9. Accepting a salary offer, then rejecting it one day before start date - this is a great waste of time for HR - we waste time with the CV, we waste time with the interviews and tests, with all medical checks, with all the crazy paperwork, we stop the process because we have found the candidate and then, one day before we are told we have to start everything all over again. Guess what, we have deadlines and targets also and not filling a position on time is very bad. For people like you we need to come up with backups and we have to take risks. Dear candidates, please be so kind to tell us bravely when you are not interested. This will give you other opportunities with us in the future. Giving up one day before start date with no real reasons will probably delete you forever from the database, no matter your abilities.
10. Showing up for start date then telling the manager that you are no longer interested - this is a variation of no.9. I've had this recently and I can tell you it is not fun. Besides all the time wasted before, you have now wasted a day of Induction training also and you have tons of paperwork to prepare for the leaver. Not nice, candidates, not nice. I've recently had one guy who came for just one day then told us he had to leave to another country to prepare his master's degree as it was the requirement of the University. Really? And you have found this out Today?

I hope this sheds some light on the difficult life of the recruiter. So, dear candidates, please read this article carefully and try not to make our life a living hell :)

And for the other recruiters out there, I am waiting for you to share your thoughts or to add more items to the list.

Take care,
Geo  

Also read:
10 Things Candidates Hate about Recruiters 
http://www.hr-faq.com/2013/02/10-things-candidates-hate-about.html  

2/12/13

Human Resources Mysteries - Understanding Communication Styles



I have recently participated in a great leadership training session which opened my eyes and made me realize that during my recruitment times and during my HR career as a manager and team member I have made some mistakes in judging people incorrectly. I will tell you how I found that out, one mistake I realized now I made and how you can use the information that was offered to me in order to communicate better as a team leader or as a team member.

In 1975 Dr. Paul P. Mok developed the Communicating Styles Technology. He identified 4 main communication styles that people use. Understanding these styles helps us understand each other better. I was amazed to see how many misunderstandings and misjudgments can appear if we don’t understand and accept these styles in the people around us. No style is correct or incorrect – this is just how we communicate and we need to accept that. Also, some people use sometimes more than one style, under stress conditions the style can change dramatically, and understanding the main elements of each style helps.

Dr. Paul P. Mok also developed a questionnaire that helps us identify our style, but I am not able to provide that since it has copyright. You will have to find it yourselves. I will provide however, the main traits of each style so you can check where you are and where people around you are according to their behavior and according to how well you know them so far.

The main 4 communication styles are:

Thinker:
-          Always based on logic, organizing and problem solving;
-          Personal values: quality, ethics, justice;
-          Focuses on all stages of a project : past, present, future;
-          Is motivated by logic, scientific questionnaires, anything that is well organized and included in a clear system;
-          Prefers analytical tasks, likes to collect and use data – as detailed as possible;
-          Thinks about consequences before making a decision, likes to analyze all angles before any action is done;
-          Feels uncomfortable to use direct  personal communication and to do fast decision making;
-          Prefers: cold colors, classic and conservative dress code, an organized work environment;
-          Communication type: always structured and organized;
-          Suitable for jobs like: law, engineering, accounting, computers, science, problem solving.

Feeler:
-          Based on direct human interaction, projecting feelings;
-          Personal values: family, friends, loyalty;
-          Needs and likes to receive constant feedback and cares about what other people think;
-          Focuses on past stages of a project;
-          Is motivated by love, gratitude, the feeling of being useful;
-          Prefers tasks concerning of human interaction, likes to “shine”, likes to analyze people;
-          Feels uncomfortable with: structured areas, receiving orders, science, impersonal situations, strict accuracy;
-          Likes fun, people interaction, volunteering, team sports, informal dress code, a comfortable home environment for work;
-          Communication type: spontaneous, unplanned, informal;
-          Suitable for jobs like: psychology, social services, sales, ministers, trade;


Intuitive:
-          Based on imagination, vision, speculation; they say this is the communication style least common and that most real leaders are intuitive;
-          Personal values: concepts, ideology, discovery;
-          Focuses on future stages of a project;
-          Is motivated by creative and unstructured tasks, discovery, using imagination;
-          Feels uncomfortable with: structured areas, bureaucracy, strict accuracy;
-          Likes reading, walks, climbing, chess, other games intellect-related, color mixtures, unpredictable dress code, high tech and thinking-lab work environment;
-          Communication type: abstract, ideas and vision oriented, professional done by association;
-          Suitable for jobs like: research, science, design for new products, economics, teaching;


Sensor:
-          Based on work, competition, results;
-          Personal values: action, winning, health;
-          Focuses on present stages of a project;
-          Is motivated by clear tasks, practical situations, simplicity oriented towards a clear goal; sensors are those people always busy, always ready for action, very fast and sharp thinkers and decision makers, people that feel that the world moves too slow around them, people who don’t have patience to wait and listen; they feel that their time is always wasted by those who move too slow around them;
-          Feels uncomfortable with: vagueness, difficult theories, situations with no clear purpose;
-          Likes competitive sports, gambling, action sports, financial publications, hot colors like red, functional and practical dress code, competitive work environment which needs fast moves from their side;
-          Communication type: short sentences, they give the impression that they are always in a hurry, they tend to be perceived as aggressive, they tend to give the impression that they don’t listen, they like to be in control;
-          Suitable for jobs like: business, financial investment, construction, sports, sales, anything risky and involving fast decision making;

Pretty interesting, right?
Now, what’s even more interesting is how each communication style perceives the others. This is sometimes hilarious:

Your primary style
A Thinker sees you as:
An Intuitive sees you as:
A Feeler sees you as:
A Sensor sees you as:
Thinker
Compatible
Narrow
With no imagination
Conservative
Meticulous
Blunt/Stiff
Impersonal
Strict
Boring
Old fashioned
Too slow
Too cautious
Defensive
Feeler
Impulsive
Immature
Childish
Disorganized
Full of mistakes
Exaggerated reactions
Manipulative
Based more on intuition than on ideas
Compatible
“Prima donna”
Sensitive
Talkative
Wasting time
Sensor
Simplistic
Politician
Negligent
Someone who likes to give orders
Dangerous
Dictatorial
Ready to do anything to achieve a goal
No mercy
Selfish
More interested in money rather than people

Compatible
Intuitive
Disorganized
Free form
Philosopher
Not disciplined
Compatible
Fascinating
Fanatic
Too persistent
Crazy
Dreamer
Talking way too much

Now, back to me. In case you are wondering about me – I am a thinker under normal conditions and sensor under stress conditions. And about my mistake – I rejected during an assessment for a position of team leader an internal candidate that I saw as disorganized and not disciplined. He became a team leader two years later and he’s doing a great job. He has been with me during the training I was mentioning at the beginning and guess what, his communication style was intuitive. I realized my mistake and started being afraid if this is the only one I have made throughout my career. Probably not because we have the tendency when recruiting to recruit people that are like us. This is not ok, but it’s sometimes difficult to control.

So, all of you recruiters and managers out there, be open minded and give everyone an equal chance. They may have a different communication style than yours. Don’t judge before listening and investigating.

Take care,
Geo