Job Seekers: Recruiters Give Feedback … Will you listen?

Dec 21 2010 in Featured, reCareered Blog, Recruiters by Phil Rosenberg

job search information, job search advice, job search help, job search tips, career advice

In reader comments, I see job seekers complain about how they never get feedback from recruiters. Here’s your lucky day, because this article from recruiter info site is exactly that unvarnished feedback that you’ve been asking for.

Maureen Sharib, owner of gave some interesting insight into common perception problems that candidates create for themselves. Maureen’s company finds candidates with certain titles, who have very specific experiences, from certain companies in the tech space. Employers hire Maureen and her company to find C# developers from Google, Mobile app project managers from Citibank or Facebook game QA testers from Zynga.

Maureen gives her unedited feedback to job seekers in her ERE article. So job seekers – here’s your feedback … are you listening?

  • Maureen listed the top challenge she sees in job seekers as – Being Old: Maureen said “Face it. Get over it. Do something …” While it’s true that many recruiters (especially in technology) don’t want to talk to candidates over 45 or 50, that’s at least partially because of the perception that 45+ year old candidates give to employers – being inflexible and unwilling to learn. Yes, ageism stinks but it’s just self destructive when traditionally-rooted candidates won’t change their job search methods when the environment has drastically changed.

    Many 45+ year old candidates amplify these concerns when they use traditional techniques that aren’t relevant in the job search market and when they aren’t clearly involved in cutting edge. Why not just take a big hand stamp, slam it on a red ink pad, and stamp “OUT OF TOUCH” over your name at the top of your resume? Or … there are a number of things you can change to reduce the perception of being out of the loop.

    Some examples: Want to be seen as old? List a fax and home number. Want to be seen as cutting edge? List Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, and Skype (or Google Voice) contact info instead.

  • Being Unemployed: Sure, the stigma of being unemployed isn’t as great as it used to be – since there are so many unemployed these days. But it’s still a stigma, as Maureen states, it “translates to ‘…desperately needs a job.’ ” Even if your job is stable, you should be in the job market – with all the layoffs that have happened over the past 3 years, how do you know your company isn’t next? Many wait until they actually get a pink slip until they start looking for a job, which puts you months behind the job search game. See “Why Job Search When You’ve Already Got A Job?” at to learn 6 basic ways to be a candidate while you’re still an employee.
  • Holy Resumes: Resume gaps are especially problematic to mothers trying to re-enter the workplace now that all the kids are in school. Maureen describes taking a work break to raise children as one of the major reasons women only earn 76% of mens’ wages on average.

    Hopefully, candidates stay involved with volunteer activities while they’ve been on major work breaks (whether for raising children, caring for family members or extended unemployment). If you’re currently in this situation and you aren’t into volunteering, there are a number of ways to fill these gaps to lessen the gap effect. Take classes, even online classes, freelance, blog, start an online industry group or look for telecommuting internship opportunities. These are all ways to fill a glaring gap, keep skills up to date and reduce the perception that going back to work will be a huge culture shock.

  • Resume That Looks Like A PhD Thesis: I see resumes everyday that claim outstanding written communication skills … on a 7 page resume. It should make your audience laugh, since you obviously don’t have a clue that your communications skills are awful if your resume is 7 pages long. While an experienced professional is rarely benefited by a single page resume, if it reads like War & Peace, you show that you’re lousy at prioritizing and unskilled in communication.

    (Hint – bullets are your resume’s best friend).

  • Not Being Geographically Flexible: This is happening more often as more candidates may also have negative equity. It may hurt to take the financial hit of selling your home in a down market – being open to relocation makes you more attractive to recruiters, especially if you have skills that are in short supply. If you’re skills are in that short supply, your income upside might offset the equity loss.

    In a down market, selling your house won’t happen overnight … it may take years. Maureen recommends you buck up, “… get on with your life”, start the process now and put your house on the market so you can “… prepare to move if you have any inkling at all that you may need a job in the near future (five years or less).”

  • Not Being “Warm”: Your job search doesn’t depend how many interviews you get, but how many you win. You get job offers in person – job seekers who can relate to people, who have great interpersonal skills, are likeable and “warm” get far more offers than candidates who (according to Maureen) aren’t “ … able to engage with them on a human level. If you don’t know — learn how to do the facey-face stuff.”
  • Not Being Findable: Recruiters aren’t telepathic. In order for them to find you, you have to make yourself findable. Today that means filling out profiles, connecting with a large enough social network and putting your email address on your profile (even Linkedin, who state they don’t want users listing emails on their profile – see my profile for hints on how to get away with it). It means storing your resume online (beyond the job boards) in a personal website, online portfolio, or resublog … so that your resume is searchable on Google.

    Maureen points out the importance of including the basic contact information to make it easy for recruiters to contact you … or they’ll contact the next name on their list instead. She stakes that women may be less likely to list full contact information, but “… Your names many times don’t show up on searches because your phone number is listed under your husband’s name. If you live alone many of you like to use unlisted numbers. This is career suicide these days.”

    While privacy is an issue for many, if you make it difficult for recruiters to find or contact you … then they’ll just contact someone else.

    If you’re concerned about listing your phone number, get a phone number specifically for your job search which you can screen by caller and forward to your cell. Google Voice is a great choice for an additional phone number, reserved for your job search – plus, it’s free. See “Google Voice Can Be An Effective Tool For Job Seekers“ at to learn more about using Google Voice in your job search.

  • Unwillingness To Change Direction: It’s critical that you create a targeted resume that shows specifically what you’re best qualified to do. Maureen points out that it’s also foolish to give an indication that you’re “… unwilling to do just about anything at just about any pay to get out of the situation you find yourself in as an unemployed job seeker — forget it. Employers are looking to retool their workforces with workers who are multidimensional and cheap.

    These are hard and fast facts of life these days. Get used to it. I don’t care that you have a PhD in fiddle-fooling-around. You’re at risk.”

  • If you’d like to see all of Maureen Sharib’s no-holds-barred feedback, see her full article at

    Readers – Now that you’ve gotten some feedback, will you listen?


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    Author: Phil Rosenberg

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