Job Seekers: When You Go To Nationals, Bring It

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Recruiting is a tough business. As a Human Resources professional, I like to think that I bring it.

In the best of times, the HR department is understaffed and underappreciated. We can’t fill requisitions fast enough… and when we do fill a requisition with a really great person, our leaders don’t write us letters of appreciation. They send us an email and ask, “Where are the other 49 candidates just like this one?”

In the worst of times, recruiters and HR professionals have to work a million times harder to fill a job and filling that job may or may not be a priority for a hiring manager. Never mind that there’s a skill gap in America. Never mind that it’s harder and harder to find good candidates who are a fit for the knowledge economy in America — and frankly, it’s tough to just find workers who know how to build and fix things. Math. Engineering. Science. IT. Plumbing. Good candidates are hard to find. And never mind that our corporate leaders expect us to scour the planet (and the internet) for talented people, bring them in for an interview, notify rejected applicants that the company isn’t interested, and negotiate for the lowest compensation level with the successful candidate… all while feeling grateful that we have jobs, too.

It’s hard out there for a Human Resources chick, and I’m of the opinion that an educated job seeker makes my life as a recruiter a little easier. So whether you’re applying for a job as a plumber or a programmer, I have one piece of advice for candidates that will help the hiring process go a little smoother.

“When you go to Nationals… bring it. Don’t slack off because you feel sorry for us. That way, when we beat you, we’ll know it’s because we’re better.”

I want candidates to own their job search. You want a job at my company? Don’t tell me. Show me. Bring me your best. When you contact me, make sure your pitch is rehearsed and smooth. When you send me your resume or fill out an application, make sure I know someone who knows you. Yes, I want your reference upfront and in big, bold letters. And when you come into my office to interview, don’t waste my time with your insecurities and your politically correct answers.

You want a piece of my time? You better bring it. The total package. Don’t call me and pretend like we’re best friends because you found my name on the internet. Don’t assume that your personal network, or your uncle who works as a union steward, will carry you through the interview process. Don’t show up to my office looking like a scrub.

Recruiters are busy professionals with a ton of resumes on their desks and a voicemail box chocked full o’ bad news. So when I see you for an interview, which I’m doing instead of taking my daughter to ballet class or my son to t-ball, you better bring it.

• Professionalism.
• Savvy.
• Self-confidence.

That’s the least you can do, and that is exactly what it takes to get a job in this economy.

If you don’t bring it, you are wasting my time.

Listen, I know the recruiting process takes forever. Sourcing, screening, multiple interviews, assessments, reference checks, secondary reference checks, research, offer preparation, negotiation, and the final decision. So when you come to my office, I’ll make a commitment to work hard to speed up the process if you work just as hard to give me a reason to hire you.

Remember — when you go to Nationals, my dear job seekers, you better bring it.

And if you’re hired, it’s because you beat out the competition and I was your champion and advocate in the process.

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