Leveraging the services of a recruitment consultant to further your career goals and aspirations is a wise move, particularly in today’s highly competitive market. Having said that, when it comes to the hiring process – and, more specifically, being noticed or taken seriously by recruiters and hiring managers – there is a right way and a wrong way of making yourself stand out from the crowd.
If you’ve had any exposure to the job market you’ve likely heard your fair share of advice on how to make sure your application gets noticed. But, what are the things that are most likely to move your resume from the top of the pile straight to the bottom of the trash heap?
We’ve spoken with some of People Store’s leading senior recruitment strategists and here are a few of the things that they see candidates doing that sabotage their chances of securing the biggest and best career opportunities.
Using a job opening as leverage for a raise.
“In 13+ years in the recruitment industry, one of the most common recruitment faux-pas I’ve come across is a candidate who is applying for a job hoping to get an offer simply so they can use that to persuade their current employer to give them a raise.”
– Lindsay White, Senior Recruitment Consultant, Mississauga
There are some pretty tremendous risks associated with trying to use a job offer as bait for a pay raise with your current employer. Not to mention the fact that your employer may not give you the salary increase you want – and then you might end up being forced to leave.
Occasionally, people will turn this type of behaviour into game where they are constantly jumping from job to job for minor increases in pay, instead of meaningful changes in responsibility or personal / professional growth.
Job-hopping is seen as a huge red flag amongst our clients. They are looking for long-term employees and aren’t often impressed by candidates with a track record of short-term tenures with multiple companies over a short time span.
Knowingly having multiple recruiters submit their resume to the same company.
“Sometimes candidates don’t freely share that they’ve already applied to a particular company – or that their resume was submitted by another recruiter for the same role. On occasion this happens simply because they forgot, or weren’t aware, but other times candidates decide not to share this information because they think it will better their chances. It won’t. In fact, it takes away from valuable time that could have been spent focusing on opportunities that may have been a better fit.”
– Lydia Meyer, Team Lead, London
Contrary to what you might think, having your resume submitted twice (or more) to the same position will not increase your chances of being noticed or hired. In fact, it does the opposite and creates confusion for the potential employer and can even ruin the relationship that the recruiter has with that particular client.
If you’ve applied to a role on your own previously and never heard back (or even if you did and nothing else happened) share this information with the recruiter. The two of you might decide that enough time has passed that it’s worthy of trying again. Things change, people change, you may have learned new skills or something may have happened that have increased your odds this time around.
Just remember to be up front about it, keep the lines of communication open and the right decisions will be made.
Keeping their geographic preferences a secret until the very last minute.
“In larger metropolitan areas, like in the GTA or surrounding communities, sometimes job seekers are reluctant to be upfront about their specific location hoping that this will increase their likelihood of being considered for all jobs regardless of where they physically live. What happens next is they get to the offer stage and then turn it down because the commute is too far, or they need to relocate and the employer isn’t willing to wait because this is brand new information that could have been dealt with earlier on.”
– Kiran Morarji, Team Lead, Mississauga
Most employers want to hire locally. Even if a candidate is willing to finance their own relocation expenses, moving takes time and it might be difficult to get settled in a reasonable time frame.
If you are willing to consider job opportunities that are outside of your geographic location, say so. But, also be upfront about how easy it is for you to relocate and how soon you would be able to start. If the there is a good fit, oftentimes, a recruiter can help manage these expectations with their client.
When you fail to disclose your location, essentially, the recruiter might feel that you are misrepresenting yourself, and they might even consider moving on to the next candidate who might be seen as being more trustworthy and easier to work with because they are willing to communicate. Keep in mind that employers are looking for employees they can trust and count on.
Lack of consistency when it comes to desired salary range.
“I can’t tell you how frustrating it is when I ask a candidate about their salary expectations and they give me one number at the beginning of the process and then ask for more after we’ve reached the offer stage. Be up front about what it is that you need so that I can properly negotiate on your behalf. We’re a team!”
– Katelynn Eddy, Team Lead, Barrie
On occasion, a candidate might feel that once they’ve reached the interview stage, they should be able to convince the potential employer that they are worth more than they originally stated. There are several situations where you will not receive more money than you originally asked for. Most of these are determined by things like company budgets, pre-determined salary guidelines, and even the starting salary of other new hires.
The hiring manager will almost always go back to the recruiter to ask why there was a disconnect on salary. The recruiter will be blind-sided and say that you had indicated a lower number. Sometimes, the client might decide to offer a higher starting salary but, more often than not, they will simply pull the plug on your application and move on to a candidate who is likely going to be easier to manage.
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. For example if, in the interview, you learn that there are significantly more responsibilities than originally described, it might warrant a higher salary. However, you should have an in-depth discussion with the recruiter about this new information and have them approach the client with your newly established salary requirements.
There are a number of tactics that people use when trying to make themselves look better in the eyes of recruiters and hiring managers. The reality is, these things don’t often work out as planned and can even leave key decision-makers with a sour taste in their mouth. Misrepresentation of any kind will destroy your job search.
Don’t play risky job search games. Open and honest communication is at the root of every successful job seeker – recruiter relationship.