Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hiring Advice from the Source: HR Forum 2013 Report

Every year I attend the Resume Writer's Council of Arizona's Annual Human Resources Forum. This is a rare opportunity where we get to sit in a room with several HR managers and recruiters and pick their brain about the hiring process. It is always enlightening and I want to share with you what I learned.

Our panel of experts had a combined 66 years of hiring and recruiting experience! They have worked in health care, big box retail, education and state government. They see tens of thousands of resumes every year - in fact, our state government hiring manager said they received 14,000 resumes a month - and hire thousands of employees every year. They were all very passionate about what they do and had some definite opinions as to what works and what does not. Here are some highlights:

  • The importance of networking is greater than ever. Two of the panelists said that they highly valued employee referrals and that those candidates went to "the top of the stack" whether their resume showed they were a match or not.
  • Additionally, they mentioned that if your resume does not show you are a match - in other words you don't have the necessary key words - then networking is more important than ever. If you are not able to show on paper that you are a fit, they suggested being willing to "fight" for your opportunity with networking, follow up, and initiative.
  • However, the recruiters cautioned candidates to carefully navigate the fine line between follow-up and initiative and being an annoyance.
  • The recruiters placed a great deal of emphasis on LinkedIn. They said they welcome candidate connections on LinkedIn and do not mind when a candidate reaches out to them via LinkedIn. They stressed the importance of a quick, concise, and targeted LI profile as well as the importance of a professional photograph.
  • The HR professionals cautioned candidates to be aware that they can see every job you have applied for in their organization. They will discount the candidate who seems to be throwing their resume "against a wall to see what sticks." They are not looking for a desperate candidate willing to take anything. Instead they want someone who is focused and has a clear idea of how they can benefit the organization.

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