The role of a recruiter gives us a bird’s eye view of the client-candidate, client-recruiter, and recruiter-candidate relationship which exposes us to a myriad of different, complex personalities the tech industry can provide. Managing such matrix relationships puts us in situations where not all brute honesty will work but sinstead, great finesse. There are so many things most recruiters do not tell candidates simply because it is tricky to let them know what goes on behind the scenes.
We decided to list them in this article and hopefully you get a better understanding of what we do in our best intentions to help everyone involved.
Here are the top four things other recruiters may never tell you, but we will. Here we go!
1. Hiring managers and recruiters sometimes “ask around” about you
It’s human nature to ask for opinions, whether it’s for a restaurant referral or a potential hire. In such a niche tech market, hiring managers and recruiters are usually familiar with key players within the distributor, system integrator or vendor space. It is almost a reflex to ask for opinions of your candidate once they know there is a mutual network. Of course, this is not done maliciously or often and no, we do not agree with this approach for obvious reasons but it is sometimes being done. And yes, it can get tricky when some hiring managers choose to pick unqualified unvetted 3rd party opinions over their own interview assessment. Not every source is credible and we always handle such situations delicately.
So the next time your recruiter give you any intel she heard, be cooperative, give your side of the story and leave it to us to present it to the hiring managers in the best way, with a balanced perspective. We had some success in turning the perception around or at the very least, make sure the perception is corrected. Afterall if we decided to represent you, we will do our best to stand by you.
2. We can tell when you are smoking through your achievements
That cocky behaviour? Those achievements you are telling us that do not add up? We know it. Progression practices a SOP of asking Most Significant Achievements (MSA) questions to our candidates. That allows us to put our emotions aside and assess a candidate solely on their achievements and performance, which is far more reliable information if they can do the job. Most recruiters don't care because they just want you to look good on paper and “check” the box of “CV sendout” that week.
Our team at Progression have been trained by Lou Adler, the recruitment leader in performance-based hiring. One of Adler’s method of hiring top talent is for recruiters to use our objectivity lens when assessing if a candidate should be shortlisted. That does not mean we have the same checklist for all candidates - we know that some candidates may not be as expressive as another, or some may find it hard to spontaneously answer certain questions off the cuff.
A big part of a recruiter’s role is get past a candidate’s struggle to share information with us so we can ascertain strengths, weaknesses, what gets you going or what you are most proud of in your work history. It makes it much easier to guide and add value to a candidate before an interview so they know how to highlight specific experiences or relevant achievements during an interview and for us to rationalize it with interviewers as well.
3. Chemistry and energy can be game changers
It is not easy telling candidates “You did not make the cut because you left the hiring managers wondering if you really want the job” or “You didn't exude the level of energy they are looking for.”. No matter how stellar your CV is or how great your achievements are, if you are overconfident or have low energy, you can lose to the candidate that has high energy and looks promising but with a weaker CV.
That is exactly why with us, we look beyond your CV - we also suss your personality out and relate it to the hiring manager. Knowing where is the bar, we tell candidates if they need to cut the fluff, be more specific, more energetic, or cut down on the meandering thoughts that goes from your brain to your mouth, because we would rather you hear it from us and perform during an interview than think you are a rockstar and fail. Trust us - it’s not an easy conversation to have, telling you things you prob loathe hearing but for your benefit.
4. When we missed a call with you
2 reasons: Recruiters are overworked, handling between 10-45 roles on average - which also means our days are filled with speaking to dozens of candidates. We are constantly juggling our time and might have missed a call or two. Amidst all of that, we acquire and manage clients as well. So if we are supposed to talk and you do not hear from us, send us a text, ping us, email us or just call us. Nicely. We are humans too.
Second reason when you hear from us and we don't have a next step for you for some time, 99% the delay is with the clients but as a partner, we are obligated to keep the information confidential. Often, client-side struggles that need to be resolved are fairly common: more interviews are on-going, headcount still going through approval, salary bracket needs adjustment, this interviewer rated a No Hire but hiring manager wants to push candidate through etc etc.
If this happens, we push for what we can disclose to the candidate, we like transparency too. If you have other opportunities, let the recruiter know and make a call together if you should let his opportunity go. The deal breaker is only when you have an opp waiting for you so whether or not there is a next step is crucial. Be transparent with your recruiter about it. We can’t say for other firms but at Progression, we don’t want to hold you back unnecessarily. We don’t want to make placements that way.
5. We do want the best for you
Let us put it this way, if you think your friends and/or family have your best interests at heart and want you to move on to a better job, take that and multiple it to the energy of Beyonce on stage with 10 backup dancers whose enthusiasm is hard to beat. That is us right there.
We take the time and energy to thoroughly evaluate and walk the journey with you through pre-screens, prep calls, debrief, and pre-closes. It is important for candidates to be honest with recruiters from the get-go so we know what you are looking to get - from the scope of work, to the culture of company and remuneration.
There is more than what going on behind the scenes for the recruiter in presenting you for a dream job. An honest and transparent relationship works best when you are approached with a job opportunity. We have loyal candidates who followed us from day 1 and each time a role opens, they asked if that’s our client because they rather apply via us.
So remember, the next a recruiter connects with you, just be sincere and open, it can turn out to be a win-win for both sides!
Written by: Michelle Tan and Yasmeen Banu