Last week, the Rochester NY Employment Network spearheaded by Carol Larson assembled a staffing secrets panel of local recruiters to answer questions for the job seeker. The panel was moderate by Erin VanDamme and consisted of:

The Staffing Secrets Panel

  • Natalie Washington – JWN Recruitment, President
  • Tim Willman – Modis, Sales Director
  • Eileen Messana, CSP – ER Associates, Director of Recruiting
  • Robert Mihalyi – Nesco Resource, Technical Recruitment Specialist
  • Chris Sherron – ETS Staffing, Branch Manager

With 40-50 people in attendance, the session started out with a series of questions posed by job hunters who were not able to make it. In this post, I will run through those questions and others posed from the audience.

What characteristics do staffers look for in potential applicants so that they stand out of from the others?

The consensus from the panel was that the job requirements from the hiring company (client) hit the top of the list. If they were looking for someone in technology – then your technical skills would help you stand out. Tailoring your resume to meet the needs of the requirements will get you noticed. A word of caution though – you don’t have to REDO the entire resume, just make sure the right keywords are included based on the job requirements. Finally, one panelist said doing your research on the company can pay off dividends when knowing what key words to use.

What happens if a company has more than one job and you can only send in one resume? How do you get considered for the other jobs?

Bottom line – make sure you have included a list of all your core skills sets and proficiency on your resume. Demonstrate proven results in the areas that they are looking for. So, if there is more than one job you want to be considered for, make sure you have results that address each job’s specification.

What do you do about online job application systems that ask you to describe yourself in 150 characters or less? (This job seeker admitted to being a little long-winded!)

The key to this question is to describe what make you different from all the rest. When you figure out your PVP or personal value proposition, it will be easier to communicate that to employers in a concise way.

Where do our resumes go and why don’t you call me back?

Representing all recruiter – the panel says they try their best to get back to every qualified candidate. One of the ways to get their attention is to say communicate something that intrigues them – either on your cover letter or in the resume. There are times when you may apply for a job and it gets filled quickly so they move on to the next job and don’t necessarily tie up all the loose ends. This is especially true when they are working on contingency jobs and are in competition with other recruiters for talent.

What happens if a job seeker applies for a position that is already filled and they are a great candidate?

Recruiters love to have qualified job seekers reach out to them especially in areas where they specialize. If you are a computer programmer with proficiency in the latest languages and the recruiter works in the IT arena, you can bet they want you in their go-to pile.

What happens when your resume goes into the big database?

When your resume is in an electronic database, the recruiter can look you up by searching key words. This is another reason your resume should highlight what your skills and capabilities are for the position. Recruiters usually only pull the first 50 or so people and find 10 qualified ones to present to a company. One way to edge your way to the top of the list is to develop a relationship with a recruiter because people who are top of mind will circumvent the database list.

What makes one candidate over another more appealing?

You will be more appealing when you check in with the recruiter about potential jobs. The rule of thumb was about once a month.

Can you offer strategies or tactics for people have been on an extended job search on how to stand out?

Honesty was at the top of the list. Be open about why you have been out of work – is it due to helping an ailing parent, sick child, layoff – no matter what the reason be up front. Rework your resume and cover letter to engage the recruiter. Find a way to stand out – perhaps offering help on something.

How far back should someone go on their resume with listing their jobs?

For IT – five years, and for any job beyond five years do not be verbose. The rule of thumb is 10 years with at least two jobs if you have been at the employer over five years. Break out your job titles even inside one company – it shows progression.

Look for the Staffing Secrets Panel Part 2 next week.