WorkWise: Managing the recruitment process when job hunting

10/22/2012 1:51 AM

10/22/2012 1:58 AM

“I was shocked at the behaviors of the in-house HR people and headhunters,” comments New York City’s Molly Robbins, who job-hunted for eight months and compares her experience with that of 13 colleagues when their Chicago office closed. “Few (recruiters) are really skilled at working with candidates and clients to fill the job. My overall experience has been almost like throwing pasta on the wall to see if it sticks.”

She maintains that the minute another candidate prevails, the telephone line and email connection die. In September Robbins relocated for a new position in global licensing.

A survey of more than 2,000 new hires around the world by Development Dimensions International Inc. in Pittsburgh, Pa., finds that 88 percent job hunt after discovering “they did not receive an accurate picture of the job during the hiring process.” Only 12 percent don’t.


If you’re encountering similar problems, start managing the process. Alan Fluhrer encourages candidates to “take some amount of control and be professionally assertive rather than annoying. Get the direct number for the recruiter and be pleasantly proactive.”

Fluhrer, having worked as an internal recruiter, adds that corporate recruiters might not be able to provide a time frame and that no one is privy to all information about a position. He’s CEO of the Pasadena, Calif., executive search firm Fluhrer & Bridges Inc.

At the outset, capitalize on the interest a recruiter of any kind has in your candidacy, he advises. Agree on a follow-up schedule, whether once or twice a week. Then move the recruiter along by asking, “Do you have any issues about responding to my emails or phone calls?” Fluhrer suggests. Next, develop a simple email with room to update and boxes to check next to “Sorry, no update” or “Sorry, not hired.” Finally, direct the person to send the email.

How can you get a clear picture of a job? Ross Weil, partner at Walker Search in New York City, speaks about obtaining “social proof” through very targeted questions about the history of the position, including tenure, the reasons it’s open, who held it, and what experience and responsibilities the previous person had.

Weil also says that some of these questions won’t apply to newly created positions. Go after the “social proof” there, too. “Ask why the position is open,” Weil suggests, “whether the company is in a growth mode, trying to relocate a group or something (else).” For new and existing positions he recommends asking to meet others at your level and in similar roles.

Very bright candidates need to make certain they get a good picture of the potential boss, who might be looking for the perfect candidate, but one less bright than he is, according to Fluhrer. Listen for “rock star,” “god,” “subject-matter expert” or “guru.” Gain clarity through a series of questions.

Fluhrer advocates asking, “What does that term mean to you?” Then he says to listen for information about a certain number of years of experience or a certain kind of experience, such as with start-ups. Nail down the meaning behind responses to get the job description. Then, he suggests, get employers to identify specific accomplishments for the first 30, 60 and 90 days.

Weil indicates that you almost can’t ask too many questions, because each one contributes to the job description. He says to “get peace of mind. Until you have that peace of mind, don’t accept a job offer.”

Motivate recruiters to communicate with you at each step. Gain their commitment to a follow-up schedule. Probe for an accurate picture of the job.

Dr. Mildred L. Culp welcomes your questions at © 2012 Passage Media.

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