Monday, July 30, 2012

Are you a "Nodder" or a "Note Taker"?

Imagine you are starting a new job (or engagement) and your new boss is showing you the ropes and training you on your new responsibilities.  Do you follow them around nod alot and say "uh huh", "uh huh" to everything they show you or do you take notes, ask questions and make sure you have a clear understanding of what is expected?  If you're a "nodder" and not a "note taker" chances are that you will regularly have to go back to your boss or one of your co-workers and ask questions about how to do things because you did not absorb all the necessary information during training.  It's also likely that you will not be retained at your new position because your boss and co-workers don't have tons of extra time to re-train you on things you should already know.  If you're a note taker it's likely that you will rarely have to request assistance since not only can you refer back to your notes, but it is a proven fact that note takers retain more information.
Now... let's apply the above scenario to the interview process.  You are seeking a new engagement or new employment and you are preparing for your initial interview with the recruiter.  Do you assume you can absorb all the information that will transpire during the conversation or will you take notes?  Do you ready a list of questions that you have such as:  Responsibilities?  Client location?  Contract Length?  Hourly rate or salary?  etc?
Do you make sure your important questions are answered during the interview?  If a recruiter cannot answer all your questions are you prepared to ask them when you interview with the client?
Lately I have had more than one instance where a candidate has come back to me post-interview... not just after my interview but after their client interview and ask me the following questions:

Where was the client location again?  How much was the pay rate?  What were the responsibilities of the job again?  Are benefits offered?

These type of questions clearly show that the candidate was paying little or no attention during the recruiter interview or the client interview.  This also shows an incredible lack of professionalism and can show a lack of interest as well.  Unfortunately if this line of questioning is posed to the client it can make the recruiter appear as if they didn't provide the necessary information to the candidate during the initial interview which reflects poorly on the recruiter and their company.  I can guarantee you that a good recruiter is taking notes as they interview the candidate to make sure they understand the candidate's qualifications, monetary desires and other necessary information so they can clearly provide those facts to their client. 

Obviously the candidates that are on the ball, prepared for an interview and have a firm understanding of the opportunity are the most likely to get hired.  By taking notes and making sure all your initial questions are answered during your recruiter interview you will be setting yourself up for success.

If the recruiter is unable to answer basic questions, do not agree to allow them to submit your resume until your questions have been answered to your satisfaction.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How to Successfully Communicate with a Recruiter

One of the chief complaints I hear from industry Consultants is that Recruiters do not follow up, particularly after the consultant's resume has been submitted to a client for review.  Unfortunately this is one of many areas of miscommunication between consultants and recruiters.  Fortunately however, there are so many recruiters and so many consulting and staffing firms in the Healthcare IT industry that no consultant has to be married to any one recruiter. 
As stated in a previous post, find 3 recruiters you trust, that have strong industry knowledge and connections and work with them exclusively.  If one isn't keeping you informed on new opportunities or providing you with enough employment options, drop them from the list and find another. 
When it comes to communication, keep in mind that recruiters are extremely busy as well.  At any given time a recruiter could be working on as many as 10 or more job openings and be receiving and reviewing 100's of resumes a week as well as interviewing multiple new candidates a day.   To put this into a "typical day" perspective it might look something like this:  8am - 9am Review all new emails and respond to possible candidates.  10am - 11am conference calls.  11am - Noon Interviews.  Noon - 1pm lunch if you're lucky.  1pm - 3pm Interviews and drafting submittals.  4pm - 5pm Recheck mail and respond to any needs of sales personnel, clients, candidates etc.  5pm - 7pm Dinner and family time.  8pm to 10pm resume sourcing, email responding, etc.   Also factor into that schedule: un-expected phone calls, new job openings, scheduling requested client - candidate interviews, occasionally having the horrible task of firing someone, un-expected meetings, assisting new hires with on-boarding processes and travel arrangements etc and you can now see why sometimes recruiters forget to follow up with consultants that have been submitted to a job that the client has not yet provided feedback for.  At any given time a recruiter could have as many as 20 (or more) consultants submitted to various job openings at a variety of client locations.  Sadly, once a resume is submitted to a client, most clients do not respond unless they are interested in scheduling an interview and it may take the client days or weeks to request the interview.  Behind the scenes recruiters and sales personnel keep in regular contact with the client to the best of their ability, but the decision maker on the client-side is also extremely busy.  Many clients learn the hard way that exceptional candidates will not wait around for a few weeks to hear back and will be swept up by other facilities.  This added to the lack of highly qualified candidates has started to create a sense of urgency.  The general rule is: if the client has not responded to a resume within 2 full weeks of submittal, they are not going to move forward into interview, but there are always exceptions.  The one thing the consultant CAN rely on; is when the recruiter has received an interview request from the client they WILL call you immediately.  They  want you to be hired as badly as you do, so if you haven't heard from your recruiter that probably means that they haven't heard from their client, not that they are ignoring you.  The best way to get the type of communication you desire is to have an up front agreement (UFA) with your recruiter.  When you initially interview with a new recruiter let them know that you expect to hear from them on a regular basis (whatever time frame works for you).  Also assume some of the responsibility yourself by sending a weekly email to your recruiter(s) requesting status updates.  If the recruiter doesn't respond to your emails then it is definitely time to close that relationship.  Communication is always a two -way street.

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