Insider Tips on Working with Recruiters

Posted by Rob Riggins

working with a recruiterThe following questions and answers were shared at a BSides San Antonio discussion moderated by Kathleen Smith with ClearedJobs.Net. The participating recruiting professionals included Irma Symons HR manager for IPSecure, Bill Bransletter Recruiting Manager with ASG, and KJ Howell Recruiter for Abacus Technology.

What’s a typical day like for you?

Irma: When it comes to recruiting, the process is very fluid and dynamic. Opportunities become available and I’m being asked to build a pipeline of candidates. Much of my time is spent talking with people. There is also a lot of administrative clerical work that I do from an HR standpoint.

Bill: I spend my time split from interviewing candidates for positions and checking in on candidates that I have sent to a hiring manager. I call it moving the ball forward. If we’re processing a clearance, it’s making sure all elements are underway. Administrative like answering emails, making calls, updating reports for tracking metrics all make up a big part of my day.

KJ: I spend a lot of time on my laptop working our career site platform and reviewing new resumes. I vet applicants and am in communication with my team leads and the hiring manager.

There are many steps in the interviewing process, the recruiting process, the hiring process. There are a lot of areas when candidates can drop the ball. What are some of the ways that job seekers mess up the process, without even realizing it?

Bill: I have to say with me communication is a big thing. I ask candidates to do something by a certain date, and if they don’t do it or they don’t communicate to me where they stand, it really slows down the process. I’ve got positions to fill quickly and hiring managers are asking “Where are the candidates?” When I don’t hear from a job seeker that really hurts them. I typically have multiple candidates going through the process and whomever follows through is in line to get the job. If candidates can’t communicate, I look to go with someone else.

Irma: It’s very close to the communication mentioned by Bill. We have a two-part application process. If we’ve reviewed your initial application and the hiring manager has expressed interest, then the next step is the candidate completing the second part of the application. Sometimes this doesn’t happen before the candidate comes in for an interview. I understand that job seekers may be in another position and have time commitments, but not completing part 2 is very telling.

KJ: My biggest pet peeve comes in trying to set up the interview process. I ask candidates to give me two times they are available so I have flexibility in matching up with the hiring manager. Many times candidates only give one time. As a job seeker you need to follow the instructions given to you.

Sometimes a candidate isn’t a fit for a position, but what about future openings? Do you want a candidate to stay in touch with you?

Bill: It depends on how well qualified they are and whether they are a good fit for us. If they are just not someone I would want to hire, I don’t encourage them to be in touch. But if the candidate is solid I might ask them to keep an eye on our career site so that we can get them on the team down the road. Or I may call them back if I see them fitting well with another team.

Irma: I agree. It depends on the candidate. If there is a good rapport I will think of them when another good fit comes open. I often help candidates we have passed on to network with other companies or recommend a place where they should check out opportunities. Our philosophy at IPSecure is to try and help job seekers either finding a place within our ranks or referring them to someone else who could use their skill set.

KJ: We have a similar philosophy as Irma. With all candidates that I meet I invite them to connect with me on LinkedIn. There are a lot of transitioning military in San Antonio that I work with so I am seeing them as they are starting their job search.

Because we are growing if I have a good candidate but not a current good fit for them, I put them in a hold file. I encourage them to stay in touch.

What can job seekers do to make their resume stand out?

KJ: What stands out for me initially is a well-organized resume with the clearance status at the top. Because we hire a lot of engineers, I would like to see your certifications.

Irma: I’m looking for a clean resume that hits the high points. I like to see at the top a profile indicating the number of years’ experience, clearance status and level of certifications. Many job seekers cut/paste the job description from their past jobs which is a waste of space. What they should be doing is hitting the high points of their experience as it applies to the position they are applying for.

Bill: I’m a six second glance kind of guy. We just can’t hire you unless you have the clearance, certifications and sometimes the education we need. I always want to see those things upfront. I don’t read those subjective profiles often placed at the top of resumes. For me, it’s a waste of space. If your resume burned up and all I saw was the summary that included clearance and certs, that’s enough to know if I want to pick up the phone and call you. I would say it’s also important to qualify your experience in terms of accomplishments. That always stands out above and beyond a job description.

Keep in mind most recruiters are looking at your resume initially through a preview pane, so we’re only seeing the top couple of inches. If you take up that space with fancy fluff you can be missing an opportunity to stand out. You need to understand that the purpose of your resume is to get a phone call.

Job seekers also need to know that one resume does not fit all. You need to make sure that when you are applying for a posting that you’re featuring the skills that best apply to the position you’re seeking.

What are some of the things that job seekers should know about the first few months on a new job?

Irma: I think for the first six months new hires are still learning the job. Even if they are a seasoned employee they are still learning the contract and our way of handling things. I would say after six months on the job employees should be talking about additional development opportunities, exploring additional certifications that might prepare them for the next level.

Bill: I agree with Irma but would also suggest they find a mentor who will guide you and share experiences. Someone who can help you navigate the culture.

KJ: When we hire we team new employees up with a current employee who seems like a compatible partner. I would suggest that new hires sit down with their manager and discuss expectations. That should be a two-way conversation – their expectations and yours.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 1:47 pm

3 thoughts on “Insider Tips on Working with Recruiters”

  1. I’d like some guidance on how long a resume can be. One job demanded 15 years of experience in cyber security. Can’t provide that in two pages given the number of jobs I’ve had.

  2. Hi Glenn, Bill Branstetter here. There’s not a one-size-fits-all answer to your question. But I’ll tell you that I’ve seen people with 30+ years of experience using a one-page resume. There’s no hard rule against going over two pages, but you can likely keep it there by limiting your bullets (especially for jobs more than 10 years ago) or by grouping consulting/temporary positions as a single section. Remember that the resume is only a tool to get the interview. You should be able to convince the reader to interview you in two pages. Contact me directly if you want me to take a look at what you have.

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