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This Week: Top 10 Recruiting Myths It's Time to Bust
The vast majority of us go through the recruiting/hiring process at some point, either as a candidate, recruiter, or employer. Despite this, myths and misinformation about how recruiting and hiring work abound. We asked a few experts about the recruiting and hiring myths they'd like to dispel. Check out their answers below:
Myth No. 1: Getting Hired Is a Numbers Game
I think the biggest myth is that candidates believe hiring is a numbers game. In other words, they believe blasting resumes out to 50 companies is better than micro-targeting 3-4 companies that are the best potential fit.
For most positions it's quite the contrary: As hiring managers, we're looking for a connection. We want to see a little passion for the job, even in the early stages. A clearly tailored cover letter – not a cut and paste job – will often stand out, even when there are dozens or even hundreds of other applicants. Personal and professional fit are so important.
— Bob Clary, Director of Marketing, DevelopIntelligence
Myth No. 2: It's Hard to Find Good Information on Employers
For me, the top recruiting myth is professionals and recruiters believe it is hard to find valuable information on private businesses. It's not – the companies just don't disclose in traditional ways like media interviews or SEC filings like public companies.
By going beyond the first page of Google to prepare for an interview, candidates can stand out from the masses and vet the company at the same time. In a big data world, it amazes me that people believe "we are private, so we don't disclose."
One example would be Blink Fitness, a newer division of Equinox. Because the company wants to pursue a franchising strategy, Blink files something called a "franchise disclosure document" that not only includes valuable financial information, but also gives strategy tips. In the case of Blink, the document shares how important local marketing is within a certain radius of each club; this information could be valuable for candidates for the marketing or tech teams.
By the way, the document is available for free online.
– Jennifer Bewley, Founder, Uncuffed
Myth No. 3: When It Comes to Great Workplaces, It's All About Perks
Ping-pong tables, free drinks, and open office environments do not equal a great work culture. A break room might look cool, but that doesn't mean anyone uses it – nor does that mean it's a great place to work.
Management effectiveness, flexibility, and opportunities for advancement are what make a great organizational culture. Be sure to ask about the soft-skills training management receives and employee turnover to better gauge an organization's culture.
— Cara Silletto, President and Chief Retention Officer, Crescendo Strategies
Myth No. 4: To Get Hired, You Have to Game the System
As a professor who teaches both in undergraduate and graduate programs, I've seen that one of the most persistent myths is that the recruitment and hiring process is one that is meant to be gamed. Many candidates do not trust the hiring processes of organizations, and they feel that companies are not acting in good faith during the hiring process.
The reality is that many companies have competing stakeholders in a given hiring process, whether that is a recruiter trying to push for a specific candidate, a line manager trying to find a new employee, and/or an HR professional trying to keep the entire process fair and legal. These competing interests often create a hiring process that is opaque to the majority of applicants. It's not that the companies aren't interested in hiring new employees. In many cases, the process has many stakeholders that simply slow it down.
Myth No. 5: I'll Have a Better Chance of Getting the Job If I Ask for a Lower Salary
Wrong! If you ask for less money, you will be considered a smaller player. You have to research on Glassdoor and similar sites to discover how much you are worth so that you can ask for the right amount of money and not be rejected before you even got a chance to shine!
— Rebeca Gelencser, International Career Coach
Myth No. 6: Your Degree Directs Your Career Path
I find this approach absolutely ridiculous. We as a culture put too much emphasis on our schooling and our areas of study.
When you get out of college, you should take any job that interests you, regardless of what your field of study was. Employers are looking at you as an investment, and most of them (in my experience) don't take much solace in your GPA or the school you attended.
I was a criminal justice major from a no-name state school in NJ with a 2.2 GPA. After college, my first job was a pharmaceutical sales rep at Merck ">John Talamo, Cofounder, Growth Goat Consulting
Myth No. 7: Recruiters Have Their Own Agendas
I've worked in recruitment for more than a decade now, and it seems many candidates believe recruiters have an agenda that is more for their own benefit than about serving the best interests of their clients. If I become aware that a candidate holds this belief, I normally apologize that, somewhere in their job search, a recruiter has left them with this feeling, which is certainly not how it should be!
Put simply, a good recruiter is the perfect middle person between the client recruiting and the candidate searching. These can be two very different conversations, as each party is approaching the process with seemingly different (but actually very similar) goals and objectives. At no point should a candidate be made to feel like a product or commodity, nor should they ever feel like they're being pushed in a certain direction by the recruitment consultant. Ultimately, the true measure of success for a recruiter is whether they're putting the right people in the right roles, and not just in the short term.
— David Bass, Founder, DB Charles
Myth No. 8: Don't Apply Unless You Have All the Experience Listed in the Job Ad
Some hiring managers are focused on experience, but others are more concerned with finding an employee who is a cultural fit. The hiring manager may be willing to train an employee on technical skills, but one cannot be trained to have soft skills.
— Caitlin White, Hiring Expert for the Staffing Division, LandrumHR
Myth No. 9: Recruiting Is Just Like Sales
Recruiting is much more than sales. While there are many similarities, a recruiting organization is more like a company within a company. A well-built recruiting team requires the support and coordination of many specialists and sub departments:
- Client managers (recruiters) support internal hiring teams and/or external candidates. Both internal and external parties need to be managed like accounts, pitched to and negotiated with.
- Sourcing is like inside sales or lead generation for candidate identification and outreach.
- Project coordinators support items from scheduling and managing interviews to helping close feedback loops and providing necessary follow-up.
- Marketing, branding, and social media experts are required to make sure all messaging is aligned and efficiently delivered to the proper media outlets.
- Partner management is required to evaluate and maintain relationships with agencies, third-party technologies, and vendor partners.
- Telling a proper story with data to help drive effective business decisions across the hiring teams and company requires strong analytics and reporting support.
- Staffing organizations have complex systems that need skilled operations and systems support.
- Managing ROI related to hiring efficiency and related hiring team budgets demands someone capable in finance and accounting.
- Internal communications are needed to support employee engagement related to any hiring activities.
- Great strategic leadership is required to bring it all together in a winning vision and formula.
— Jeremy Reid, Senior Principal Product Manager for Recruiting Systems, SumTotal Systems
Myth No. 10: You Have to Answer Every Question a Recruiter/Interviewer Asks You
During an interview, try not to overthink or communicate too slowly. Waiting for someone who can just get out three words per minute is too boring.
If you don't know the answer, then it is better to say so. You can also say something like, "I cannot answer this particular question. However, I worked on a similar topic and have some good points to share. Would you like me to talk about that?"
If you just talk slowly when nervous, then practice your job interview skills with someone using questions you think you will be asked.
– Olga Strijewski, Platform Architect, Zaelab