MQ: Each search is different, especially if it’s a direct hire. There is no one right way to be a good candidate. There is no playbook because we are people, we work for people and hire people. The universal qualities are responsiveness and follow through.
Right now it’s a candidates market, so we appreciate transparency. If you want us to do our best job for you, that’s really important. It’s frustrating when the offer finally gets on the table and the candidate says I just accepted another offer. I always honor what I say I will do and expect the same from my candidates.
Q: How important is a person’s resume in the hiring process? How about a cover letter?
LH: For a recruiter like me in the marketing and communications industry, a resume is a critically important. LinkedIn is your public persona. Your resume is your personal document that is quantified and tells your story of where you made a difference. The cover letter shows me how well the candidate can package themselves and how they fit. A candidate who can’t communicate clearly in a resume or cover letter should not be hired. Typos are inexcusable. I want to make sure the candidate can catch all the details.
I also look at how the candidate organizes the resume. Most candidates send me resumes that are more like job descriptions. In other words, what they did versus the results. In an industry like marketing, any time you can add measurement it will make your resume that much stronger.
MQ: Targeted resumes are key. They must be targeted to the role they are going after. Cover letters can be helpful for some, but often they are so generic they are irrelevant. If it’s a repetition of the resume, that doesn’t add value. It’s actually a turnoff. The cover letter needs to sell, not restate what is on the resume.
Q: How do you use LinkedIn for recruiting?
LH: LinkedIn has become an invaluable tool for me. There are pluses and minuses, though. For one-to-one outreach, it’s great. I encourage professionals to connect with me so I can reach out and add them to my candidate pool. When there were fewer users on the platform, it was easier to find talent. Today, I create content on SlideShare (owned by LinkedIn), which acts as a marketing tool because people follow my content. I couldn’t be a recruiter today without LinkedIn.
MQ: I actually go to LinkedIn after I look at a candidate’s resume. I want to see if the profile aligns. I also look at recommendations because it gives me a flavor of the candidate’s background. Since we’re a national company, LinkedIn is useful to post some jobs for a better catch as well as exposure. Of course, it’s a good networking tool. I actually use the “people have also viewed” sidebar on profiles to find similar candidates.
Q: What is your favorite recruiting story?
LH: Last year I got a call out of the blue from a CFO. They were expanding their business into South America and were looking for a marketer who could use all the tools and speak Spanish. The perfect candidate popped into my head at breakfast the next day. I reached out to her, and this was the only resume I sent them. They hired her on the spot, and my candidate says it’s the best job she’s ever had. It’s all about having the right candidate with the right skill set.
MQ: I have one funny one. I had a candidate looking for a VP-level position. He actually fell asleep while I was interviewing him. Then he acted like nothing happened and he still thought I would consider him for the role!
Q: What tips do you have for a job seeker looking to work with a recruiter?
LH: We’re in a partnership and we work together. The more the candidate understands I am working on behalf of the client, the better. It’s in both of our interests to work together as a team. So if I need the candidate to revamp their resume or improve their interview skills, they need to be coachable to succeed.
It’s also important to be honest. I need to know if there are any stumbling blocks that could affect employment. Lastly, if they don’t get an interview, know that it’s not personal, it’s just not a good fit.
MQ: It’s important to be transparent and specific on what you want. The more the recruiter knows, the better they can help. Job seekers should also ask for advice on the process. Recruiters have a lot of knowledge about the company and market and can improve their chance of getting the job.