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Secrets for Making your Recruiter your Best Friend

In today’s job search environment, recruiters often play an instrumental role in a candidates job search, whether the job is in the medical, financial or technical industry, or the position sought is contract or permanent. The reason is that recruiters spend each work day doing for a living what candidates do only during periods of time when they’re on a job search – create relationships with hiring managers and their companies, keep abreast of the most current job openings available, and cruise job boards like Monster, Indeed, and Craigslist, as well as professional networking sites like Linkedin and Yammer. A job-seeker applying to jobs online may encounter at least one position of interest that has been posted by a recruiter. In contacting the recruiter, the prospective candidate for the position initiates a relationship with the recruiter to determine if he or she will be a good fit for the role.

Here’s a secret: cultivating a relationship your recruiter correctly can make him or her your best friend. Mainly because that person has the potential to get you a new job. What is the protocol for candidate-recruiter alliances? The golden rule is – Imagine they’re the boss. If you make contact with a recruiter over the phone, your confidence, ability to describe your past roles and the value you added persuasively and succinctly, and clarity when defining the type of role you want to be your next will be as impressive to the recruiter as it would be to a hiring manager. The type of candidate that impresses a hiring manager is the kind of person a recruiter wants to get in front of the manager. It’s a win-win for everybody.

So here’s the bottom line: when you speak to a recruiter about a role, handle it like in interview. If you meet with a recruiter face-to-face, dress to impress. If your recruiter requests that you send references, or stay in contact once a week, make it a priority to do so, just as you would if you were in long-term negotiations with a hiring manager. Recruiters operate in a fast-paced environment – they’re not going to eat up a lot of your time. An investment of a few minutes a week on the phone with a recruiter you’ve established a relationship with could be the difference between getting the salary and benefits you want in a company you want to work for, or having to settle for less.

IT Recruiters at AVID focus on maintaining relationships with IT candidates with technical backgrounds. As an IT staffing agency that is more specialized that an all-industry recruiting firm, AVID offers candidates recruiters who are experts in staffing for the tech industry, and are best equipped to assist IT candidates with their job search.

The Mobile Job Search

The increasing sophistication of cloud computing and smartphone application suggest inevitable changes to come in the job-seeking landscape. With major job board websites like Monster, Careerbuilder, Indeed and Craigslist offering phone application versions of their sites, it’s a matter of time before job hunters adapt their search techniques to the advantages provided by advancing technology.

One of the most powerful ways phone apps can impact a job search is portability.

Technical Recruiting Goes Mobile

With mobile job searching apps, the job-seeking landscape is poised to evolve. Candidates who store their resume on their phones can check out and apply to new jobs in their chosen industries while riding the T to a resume workshop, or an interview.

Gauging the Job Search Pace

The most obvious potential impact of mobile job searching is a shorter job search through a more efficient use of time. Mobile apps allow candidates better flexibility in maintaining relationships with recruiters as well. A candidate seeking an IT position could contact a recruiter by email via an online job posting and receive a reply while grabbing coffee. The candidate could stay in touch through Linkedin, and follow up with the recruiter a week later over the phone using contact information on the recruiter’s Linkedin profile. Mobile networking is about portability and adaptability – a job search that keeps pace with a candidate’s schedule. Mobile job searches could lead to higher placement rates for recruiters and quicker interview requests and offers for candidates. As candidate familiarity with mobile job-searching grows, additional benefits may materialize that recruiters can use to their advantage.

Here at AVID, where technical recruiters place IT candidates, listings on Linkedin and Monster are part of our recruiting approach. Adapting to the mobile job search is an important part of our recruiting strategy.

Are IT Recruiting Companies Using Twitter Properly?

IT staffing firms might be wondering what the purpose of using Twitter when their technical recruiters have Facebook or LinkedIn.  If they are actively using Twitter, are they maximizing its benefits to the full potential?  The IT recruiters of AVID Technical Resources are happy and willing to provide some valuable insight on how to make the best use of Twitter, especially for IT recruiting tactics!

Potential Clients

If IT headhunters are interested in working with a particular client company, get noticed by following them on Twitter.  The social media platform allows for quick response in real time.  News about upcoming layoffs, strategies, or budget expansion can also help to see potential growth and development for IT recruiting firms.  If they are having a difficult time getting in touch with companies, try tweeting at them.  For public relation purposes, companies are more willing to publicly respond to tweets versus emails.

Current Clients

Follow your current customers as a heads up for any unexpected changes or just to see how companies or IT consultants are doing.  If a prospective candidate is vocalizing his disappointment with technical recruiting companies, immediately follow up to see if you can help to satisfy both parties.  When IT contractors praise your company, retweet your well deserved compliment!  You can also use Twitter for referrals to expand your network and build your client base.

Increase SEO

Twitter allows SEO for growing companies.  By keeping your Twitter account public, your corporate account will appear in searches such as Google and Bing.  Posting links or tweeting trends also helps to get your business’ name on the internet.  Tweet relevant information to your company or interesting news to drive discussion, too.

The best part of Twitter is it only allows 140 characters per tweet, eliminating clutter and noise while getting to the point.  In today’s world, too much information is just as bad as too little, so keep it short and simple with your tweets!

Are IT Recruiting Agencies Spamming Clients?

In the IT recruiting business, the golden rule is to stay in touch with clients to create reoccurring customers.  Technical recruiters do not want hiring managers or IT contractors to forget about them or think they do not care, so they reach out frequently to check in.  While this is crucial in the IT staffing industry, when does following up evolve into spamming?  Here are some tips to keep in touch without crossing the line.

Be Consistent

When first reaching out to IT consultants, ask when a good time would be to meet and discuss resumes, IT job interviews, or just life.  IT recruiters should let their clients know they wish to reach out on a weekly basis if that is the case so candidates are aware and will expect their call.  At the close of discussions, schedule follow up meetings.

Surprise visits can make a consultant’s day, but it can also be a disaster if it is poor timing.  Try to avoid surprising clients unless the recruiter is certain the client will not be too busy with work to have a conversation. 

Make Personal

When sending emails, do not act as though this is the first interaction with a recipient.  An IT recruiter can try calling clients the next time they are about to respond to a message.  Hearing a voice on the other end brings a closer connection than emails where tone and expression can be lost in translation.

A technical recruiter can make the relationship friendly, while also staying professional.  Remember details about IT consultants and ask about anything exciting in their life.  The recruiter may find something in common that he would not have known otherwise!

Mass mailings may make IT headhunters lives easier, but are often easily recognized.  Try to take a few minutes each week to recognize clients.  They will appreciate the personal touch.

Send Valuable Information

Allow clients to control how much content they are receiving.  If they are subscribed to the Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn of IT recruiting firms, they may be receiving the same updates repeatedly.  Try to keep material fresh and irredundant so clients have a reason to subscribe.

If IT staffing agencies are using the same content for social media outlets, they may experience attrition in subscribers.  Also, only send important updates or news so technical recruiting companies are not wasting their client’s time as the message will be deleted.

The point of staying in touch is to not lose contact, do not drive customers away by being overly aggressive!

IT Recruiting: Social Media Hindering Chances of Employment?

Most of us do not think twice when using Twitter to update statuses or post new profile pictures on Facebook.  We routinely monitor our activity to keep pages clean and work friendly.  But as a candidate, is your page being used against you?  Technical recruiters, do you ensure not to discriminate when filling positions?  IT recruiters and applicants need to be weary of these potential hardships social media imposes on candidacy.

Unintended Discrimination

Upon reviewing a resume, a technical recruiter notices the applicant is an alumnus of his college.  Immediately, the IT recruiter feels a connection and is favorable of this candidate.  He opens a new tab and looks at the candidate’s Facebook and LinkedIn to view his contacts and friends.  The IT headhunter begins to create judgments and puts the applicant’s resume aside.

Before reaching out to this candidate about his background and experience, this recruiter was biased by a mutual connection.  This relationship moved the candidate forward among his peers, but the recruiter did not like his circle of friends so it also backfired.  While this seems to be an immature approach at weeding out applicants, it happens more often than one would think.  To be safe, IT headhunters should avoid the temptation of judging and favoritism when researching potential new hires.

Too Personal

A hiring manager searches a candidate on Google and discovers the candidate’s Twitter.  He notices the candidate tweets at least twice per hour about controversial and personal matters that some may find offensive.  The hiring manager crosses him off his list.

When a candidate is running his mouth, exposing confidential information, or sharing too personal information, hiring managers may reconsider their choice or snub the applicant all together.  You may be a different person on the internet than in the office, but you could miss the opportunity to prove yourself by this slip up.  As difficult as it may be to make all information private, be mindful of your actions and share your objectionable opinions with only those who choose to subscribe to your tweets.

Overlook Most Qualified

An IT staffing rep decides to utilize social networking sites over LinkedIn and the typical Monster.  He posts his open IT jobs on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.  He has an overwhelming response, but none seem to be the right fit.

By limiting himself to just social networking sites, the recruiter could be missing the most qualified candidates.  Rather than just using these sites, he could expand his candidate pool by including them within his resources.

New social media sites are popping up daily and seem to be a trend that will not be dying down any time soon.  Using them as a means to expand your network is a way to help speed along the hiring process, but do not forget that sometimes the traditional method can be just as effective, if not better!

IT Recruiting Tips: When You are Caught in a Lie

Technical recruiters search the web for candidates from sites such as Monster, CareerBuilder, and LinkedIn.  When the resume of a prospective candidate catches their eye, they add it to their database and try to contact him for IT jobs.  If an IT recruiter found out a contractor’s resume was falsified and skills were exaggerated, would he give the IT professional a second chance?  The answer is typically no, but some IT recruiters may be more understanding.  If you are lucky enough to find these rare recruiters, here is how to make penance…

Admit Your Fault

Covering a lie with another lie is a slippery slope that should be avoided at all costs.  Come clean to your technical recruiter by admitting your faults and taking responsibilities for your actions and its outcome.  Explain why you lied and the truth.  It might be difficult to admit you were wrong, but IT recruiting companies will respect you for owning up to your mistake.

Take the Next Step

Apologize to the IT staffing agency and all parties involved.  If your recruiter is still willing to work with you, send over a corrected resume with the accurate dates of employment and your skills.  When you apply for other positions in the future, explain your gaps of employment or your level of skill so technical recruiting companies and hiring managers are not mislead.

Don’ts of Lying

Never justify deceit with dishonesty because you will lose track of your deception and truths.  Also, never blame others for your lies.  Only you can control your actions and by blaming another party you are showing IT staffing companies that you have no responsibility.

Remember that you can always prevent the effects of a lie by starting with the truth!

IT Recruiting Cues: Choosing Your References

Do Not Sell Yourself Short

Chances are you have a number of skills, but when you choose only supervisors who witnessed your multitasking ability or worked with you on desktop maintenance you miss the chance to have others boast about your performance.  Prove to technical recruiters that you are qualified by spicing up your reference sheet with contacts who have witnessed all your strengths.

Consider the Questions

The point of the recommendation is to confirm you have the experience, knowledge, and skill to perform IT jobs. Research questions employers and IT recruiting firms tend to ask and consider who would provide the best response.  Never list contacts from positions that ended on bad terms and if you feel hesitant about certain references, do not include them as it might hurt your chances with IT staffing companies.

Ask for Permission

After you have narrowed your selection, contact your references and ask for permission to use them for a recommendation.  Not only are you asking for authorization to use their contact information, but you are also providing a heads up that you are actively seeking employment and that hiring managers or IT recruiting agencies will be contacting them in the future.

Keep References Informed

Keep in touch with your references so when you do reach out to them, it does not seem random.  If possible, provide them with a copy of your latest resume.  Connect with previous employers, co-workers, and IT recruiters on LinkedIn to keep them abreast of new positions or industries of interest.  See if you share a connection to the hiring company that may be able to provide a recommendation for you.  When you increase your network you open yourself up to more opportunities!

Stay Confidential

Keep references confidential and only provide them when interviewers or IT staffing firms request them.  You have been granted permission to use this contact information, but do not abuse it by including it with every resume you send to technical recruiting companies.  Finally, thank your references for their time.  Their kind words could land you the job!

Too Personal in the IT Staffing Industry

Technical recruiters spend a majority of their day on the phone or meeting with potential candidates.  They are around people constantly and typically spend more hours in the office than they do at home.  When you work side by side with peers for at least forty hours a week your personal life is bound to come up, but what is too personal and how much should you share?

Burden with Information

Potential candidates may have a life story of why they are not working or wish to change IT jobs.  As a technical recruiter, lend an ear to their needs, but do not get caught up in their personal lives.  The same goes for an IT headhunter working with a client.  The relationship should remain objective and professional with a degree of comfort.

Talking too Much

IT recruiting companies are always buzzing with chatter, but when an IT recruiter is focusing more on their social life than work load it may affect others.  People who talk too much or too loud about irrelevant matters are an office distraction.  Rather than providing the constant attention and approval they seek, focus on your role and goals.  If the incessant gossip and talk begins to affect your performance, speak up before it becomes an issue.

Prying for Privacy

Technical recruiting agencies need basic information when working with clients such as their expectations, experiences, and desired roles.  If a recruiter begins to cross a comfort zone and push for more information than a client is willing to provide, it is best for the recruiter to explain why they need it.  If the client is still hesitant, the recruiter should abide by his wishes.  Privacy and trust are what makes for successful IT staffing firms and by respecting limits, you may win over more candidates.

Bad Impression

Prying for too much detail or divulging in details of your personal life puts a recruiter on a pedestal for judgment.  Technical recruiting companies want to come across as personal, but they should be weary of crossing the line from personal to unprofessional.  Rather than adding a candidate on Facebook, search their credentials on LinkedIn.  No matter how comfortable a recruiter feels with his candidates, he should respect privacy in order to maintain a good impression.

First Impressions in the IT Staffing Industry

IT recruiters use first impressions to determine their potential candidates for open IT jobs.  Most IT staffing firms first engage in a phone screen to find applicants who can best communicate their skills and experience.  If the phone interview goes well, the next steps are a submittal and possibly an in person interview.  This interview is the candidate’s opportunity to show his potential, so use these tips to make an outstanding first impression among hiring managers and IT recruiting companies.

Prior to Meeting

Research both technical recruiting companies as well as managers conducting the interview through company sites and LinkedIn.  Take notes and think of questions to impress managers.  Set aside two neatly pressed outfits for your interview.  Always go for more dressy, preferably a suit, when you are uncertain of how casual the meeting may be.  Determine the commute length to the destination of the meeting.  Aim to arrive at least fifteen minutes early to prepare yourself and gather your thoughts.  If running late, always give a heads up and estimated time of arrival.

The Meeting

When you arrive to the meeting, review your notes and jot down any last minute questions.  Try relaxation tips such as taking a walk or listening to calming music prior to the meeting to ease nerves.  Do not think too much or you may begin to worry.  If necessary, call your IT recruiter for last minute tips.

Body language is just as important as the things you say.  Extend a handshake, but be mindful of cultures and traditions if you are in an unfamiliar setting or area.   Remain calm, focus, and think through your responses.  Maintain eye contact and a genuine smile while avoiding nervous habits. Keep the flow of the conversation relevant and positive with an upbeat tone.

After the Meeting

After the meeting, follow up with cordial thank you messages totechnical recruiters and the interviewers within twenty four hours.  Reiterate key points of the meeting and address any outstanding issues.  If you have any questions, do not hesitate to mention them.

First impressions are crucial in business.  Having the required skills is half the battle, convincing the hiring manager you are the right fit for the IT job seals the deal.

Mirroring the Hiring Manager in the IT Staffing Industry

An IT headhunter enters an interview and prepares to do the skill he has learned in a number of classes, articles, and books…mirroring the hiring manager.  The manager enters the room running behind schedule and forgets to extend a handshake.  He immediately begins complaining about traffic, weather, and whatever is on his mind.  The manager stretches back in his chair and exerts a boisterous yawn before he gets down to business (and checks his phone).  The technical recruiter panics, he was not prepared for this.

Staying Professional and Positive

While this example may be over the top, candidates and IT recruiters should focus on making the best first impression.  Rather than fall into the trap of negativity, you can state your own opinion if you do or do not agree, but always follow up with a positive response.  If the hiring manager forgets to extend a handshake, take initiative and impress him by offering your hand first.  No matter how laid back a manager may seem, maintain professionalism, as this may be a test of your censors and limits.

Be Honest

You do not need to agree with everything the hiring manager says.  You should also never exaggerate your skills for the IT job.  Conflict and lies are the last things IT staffing firms want during an interview or business meeting.  But expressing your honest opinion can open the floor for discussion and conversation.  You will display your true personality and management may admire your confidence.

Look for Connections

Here is where it’s completely acceptable to mirror from the manager.  When you research the interviewer or employer, you have the opportunity to view their interests.  Look for any connections on sites such as LinkedIn.  Use these connections to your advantage.  Do not be afraid to mention them in your meeting, because it will show you did your homework.

Be Responsive

Post meetings, managers look for those who are most responsive.  Follow up with thank you note in a timely manner.  If you have any further questions, address them in the message.  Reiterate your interest in the position if you feel it is a true match for your skills and interests.  Thank the hiring managers or technical recruiters for their time.

You can tell if an interview is going well through non verbal communication.  Look for physical cues, such as smiles and eye contact.  If the interviewer has a bad tone or attitude, do not follow suit.  Even if an interview does not go as smooth as planned, you can save your reputation and first impression by staying positive and ending on a happy note.