Recruiters can be finicky because their reputations are on the line with every candidate search. Here’s how to avoid five common missteps that disqualify job seekers.
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If you want to find a good job these days, you might have to work with a recruiter. Deal with it. That’s because today, many companies have dispensed with traditional human resources departments in favor of outside recruiters. It saves the companies beaucoup bucks—but it also means that you have a new set of barriers to deal with.
Recruiters can be finicky (kind of like cats that turn up their noses at Fancy Feast) because their reputations are on the line with each candidate search.
Recruiters scour social media and place advertisements looking for potential hires, and they also do much of the screening processes that HR employees used to do. Depending on the company, recruiters might also reach out to job seekers they’re interested in. They also check online profiles like LinkedIn—which means you could be rejected before you even knew you were being considered.
Recruiters all look for different qualities in candidates, but while each recruiter has his own preferences, there are often similarities in what they don’t like. By avoiding these missteps, you can easily make yourself a much more attractive candidate.
Here are five reasons a recruiter might pass you over for a different candidate:
1. Not following instructions
Ever play the smartphone app “The Moron Test,” where you have to pay close attention to what the directions say to stay in the game? Well, keep that in mind for your job search, or you will end up looking like the moron.
This means that if the job listing asks for a cover letter and you don’t include one, or if you don’t bother following other the instructions in the advertisement, you will look like an employee who can’t follow directions. Pay attention to detail, and recruiters will pay attention to you.
2. Doing a subpar job at a company where the recruiter previously placed you
Many recruiters do multiple placements for candidates, especially given the increasing number of temporary and temp-to-perm positions these days. This means you could conceivably hold more than one position that the same recruiter helped you land.
So if you make a bad impression at a company where the recruiter previously placed you—by, say, calling in sick on Mondays and ditching early on Fridays—you can forget about ever getting another assignment from that recruiter.
3. Lack of enthusiasm
If you’re contacted about a position and you sound about as thrilled as you would be if you learned about an upcoming marathon of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, you’ll hurt your chances of getting the job. Being too laid-back can be confused for being uninterested.
That means if you are interested in the job, act like it. Show some enthusiasm. You don’t have to react like a contestant on The Price is Right, but at least show a pulse. Recruiters want to hire people who are excited about their work so that their client company will be excited about the candidate.
4. Not being straightforward
On the other hand, if you’re not acting excited about the job because you’re not interested, tell the recruiter what you’re thinking (after hearing what he has to say). Don’t feign enthusiasm only to turn down the position when you’re offered it—keep the recruiter in the loop. If you waste the recruiter’s time, he might decide not to waste his time on you when the next opportunity comes up.
5. Not treating the recruiter with respect
Some job seekers don’t treat recruiters with the same respect they would give a potential employer. They show up for interviews looking like a cast member from Jersey Shore and don’t take things seriously. Obviously, that’s a big mistake—after all, who wants to work with Snooki or The Situation? If you don’t treat the recruiter with the same consideration and respect you would a hiring manager, you might get passed over for the position.
Remember: if you work with a good recruiter who likes you and is on your side, you have a better chance of getting the job you seek.
Lisa Swan writes on a variety of topics for the career, life and executive coaching site MeredithHaberfeld.com.