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What is a candidate?
In this forum, it is not somebody running for political office. It is someone who has applied for a job and is in the running to get that job. This is MY definition. Many people believe that ANYONE who has applied is a candidate. Does that seem right? Should anyone who fills out an application be considered in contention for the job – even though, they may have none of the right qualifications, experience or education necessary to be considered? I think we need some verification – so as a former recruiter, I will provide some so that you, as a jobseeker may gain a greater understanding of what you should expect from your “candidate experience”.
As someone who has made my living hiring people, I can tell you, that for me, a jobseeker becomes a candidate once I have interviewed them over the phone. Simply filling out an application or submitting a resume does not make a jobseeker a candidate, it makes them an applicant. There must be two-way engagement. A conversation requires two or more people conversing, otherwise it’s a lecture. A hot fudge sundae requires fudge topping or it’s only a scoop of ice cream. A baseball game requires two teams, or it’s only a practice or scrimmage.
I Have been a Jobseeker
I have been the seeker of a job, I have been a cruiser of job boards. I have been desperate and I have been just ready for a change. I have gone through a lengthy process and not been hired and also been hired after only one phone conversation. I have been treated poorly and I have been treated wonderfully. I have been lied to or led on. I have been ignored or dropped without even knowing it. Jobseeking is not the most fun or rewarding experience. But neither is hiring the right person…
I have been a Recruiter
I have needed to hire 50 people in ten eight different departments all at the same time for a tech company. I have needed to make a client happy who was impossible to make happy. I have had to interview ten people in one day. I have made between 60 – 100 cols calls a day (for days on end) to hire an nurse manager in a rural town. I have been lied to and hung up on. I have been hugged and loved. I have listened to sob stories and cried along with them. I have debriefed thousands of resumes. I have double booked interviews and somehow made both. I have done reference checks, background checks, and academic checks. I have extended offers that were disgustingly too low and offers that we outrageously high. I have loved the job and hated it.
There are many reasons why a candidate doesn’t get a call from the hiring manager or recruiter. Below is a list of basic reasons why I would not consider or call an applicant following their resume submission or application process. This doesn’t make the jobseeker bad, but it does make them not a candidate.
5 Reasons Why You Didn’t Become a Candidate
1. You were not qualified. If you don’t have the qualifications specifically outlined in the job description or job posting, you are not qualified. Recruiters and Hiring Managers are consistently looking for jobseekers who are qualified for their open positions. If you don’t have the right background or experience, you will not become a candidate.
2. You lied on your resume or LinkedIn profile. All I had to do was cross examine a resume with an online profile or an academic check to determine if an applicant should get a phone call or email from me, the recruiter. I have also picked up the phone and called a former employer listed on a resume to simply determine the length of stay with an organization. If there are holes or gaps in your work history, tell the truth. Because, in the end the truth always come out.
3. You can’t follow the rules. If you are trying to work the system and go around a clearly-identified application process, what makes me think you would follow the rules as an employee? Do not go around the process. If you know someone who works there, have them put in a good word. Do not send your resume directly to the CEO or COO. This is just plain stupid and shows that you are not a team player. Now, if you know the CEO or COO, that is a different story…
4. You were rude on the phone when I did call you. If you are unsure about who is calling or the reason why, have the caller re-identify themselves and ask good questions. Being lazy, eating or peeing during the call (yes, it’s happened), yelling at your kid or dog, answering your other phone or texting, a blaring TV in the background, or typing loudly your keyboard tells me you don’t care enough to focus on our conversation.
5. I Googled your name and the images attached to your name. Many recruiters will claim they don’t do this. They do. Many recruiters will declare this as an unethical practice. Maybe, but many still do it. If there are less than flattering images of you available online, what is a recruiter or hiring manager supposed to think? I know, it seems outdated or old-fashioned, but if you don’t want to see it as a newspaper headline or listen to your mother’s voice reading it, don’t put it online. If you would be ashamed if your priest, rabbi, bishop, or pastor (or your current boss) seeing a particular picture of you, don’t post it online. Be smart.
There you have it.
A few hard truths. Sad, I know – but you need to know the truth. To become a candidate with a chance of getting the job, you need to know some truths. And I want to give it to you straight. More truths and jobseeking experiences coming tomorrow…
Talent Management Series
Part 1: The Greatest Challenge for Businesses Today? Talent Management
Part 2: Successful Talent Management Requires Creative Retention
Part 3: Culture Breeds Commitment: The Truth about Talent Loyalty
Part 4: 5 Simple Reasons You Didn’t Get The Job
**Some information presented in this series comes from the book, Ups and Downs of Talent Management in Challenging Business Environments. If you’d like a free copy of this quick read, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to send you a copy. Thanks!