Hiring & Recruiting, Screening, Assessment, Interviewing

4 Ways Recruiters Can Help Jobseekers Avoid Job-Hunting Mistakes

If you’ve seen an influx of résumés over the last month, it should come as no surprise because CNBC is reporting that January is the most popular month for jobseekers to start the hunt for new employment. While February is well under way, this doesn’t mean people will stop applying for jobs. In fact, now is the perfect time for recruiters to help jobseekers avoid some common mistakes throughout the hiring process.mistakes

Sara Ferraioli, Partner and Managing Director at staffing firm WinterWyman who has nearly 2 decades of experience in the recruiting industry, shares four ways recruiters can help jobseekers in their pursuit of new employment.

1. Tell Candidates to Do Their Homework

Sometimes the jobseeker has a very basic understanding of the company he or she is interviewing for. “Candidates who do their homework always fare better in an interview,” says Ferraioli in an e-mail to Recruiting Daily Advisor. “This doesn’t just mean browsing through the company’s website—it also involves researching the company’s products, services and competitors, and doing a Google search about the company, its leaders and the manager who will be conducting the interview.”

Inform candidates that another great place to research the company is through Glassdoor and other online job boards, which offer more information on the company’s salary, benefits, and culture. On these sites, current and former employees of the company can leave reviews about what it was like to work there, how the hiring process went, and so on. Furthermore, recent research finds that 31% of younger jobseekers are more inclined to trust the reviews left on Glassdoor and other review sites vs. just 14% of older workers.

Encourage the candidate to look into these reviews so he or she knows what he or she is getting into. And if the candidate has any questions, he or she can bring these up during the interview, which will also show the hiring manager that the candidate did his or her homework first.

Another place to learn more about a potential employer is through the company’s social media websites. According to that same research mentioned above, 34% of respondents claim to stalk the company through social media channels. For example, LinkedIn is a great social media avenue to travel down when looking for more information about a future employer. Employers can share content related to their companies, such as articles, company announcements and updates, and more.

2. Help Candidates Shorten Résumés

In a recent CareerBuilder survey, 39% of hiring managers said they spend less than a minute looking at a résumé, and 23% spend less than 30 seconds, which means if a candidate’s résumé is too long, he or she will mostly likely be overlooked, regardless of his or her qualifications.

“For reference, your résumé generally gets about 30 seconds of attention the first time it’s reviewed,” says Ferraioli. “Keep in mind someone in HR is likely facing a mountain of résumés during the screening process, and they are looking for reasons to whittle down the pile.”

“Don’t make it easy to get discarded by submitting an imposing, multipage document,” warns Ferraioli. She adds that at WinterWyman, they recommend keeping the résumé to 1 page for every 7 to 10 years of employment and never exceeding 2 pages. “Focus on the work experience that’s relevant to the role for which you are applying,” says Ferraioli.

3. Make Sure a Candidate Stays Consistent

If there are inconsistencies among the jobseeker’s résumé, social media profiles, cover letter, etc., he or she runs the risk of being passed over by hiring managers and HR professionals. Therefore, you must convey the importance of being consistent to jobseekers. When it comes to social media, the tables can turn on a candidate quickly.

“Double check all of your information and dates and correct any inconsistencies,” says Ferraioli. “You should also regularly review your résumé against your other profiles to ensure you’re remaining consistent.” Employers are savvy when it comes to spotting résumé lies, as well, so recruiters should warn jobseekers against embellishing on the truth—which brings us to the fourth and final way recruiters can help jobseekers in the year ahead.

4. Explain the Importance of Being Truthful

“The last—and most fatal—pitfall is stating something untrue,” says Ferraioli. “The ease of reference and background checking through social media and other online resources makes getting away with exaggerated or false information nearly impossible.”

Ferraioli warns that “giving yourself a more impressive title than you’ve earned, exaggerating your responsibilities, claiming a degree you don’t have or falsely stating employment with a company will all likely be uncovered by a potential employer. And, once you’re caught in a lie, you’ve ruined any chance of being hired.”

When it comes to which lies cause recruiters to instantly drop a candidate from the talent pool, a recent survey ranked the seriousness of 14 categories of lies from most to least serious. The top responses were:

  • Academic Degree (89%)
  • Criminal Record (88%)
  • Certifications and Licenses (85%)
  • Work Experience (84%)
  • Technical Skills and Proficiencies (75%)

It can be tempting for seekers to lie or exaggerate on a résumé, but the costs often far outweigh any potential benefit. Even an applicant who successfully gets through the process with some falsehoods will have the specter of discovery hanging over his or her shoulder for the duration of his or her career with the unwitting employer.

When working with jobseekers to find new employment, what tips and tricks work best for you? Tell us in our comments section below.