(This post originally appeared in the Washington Business Journal)
Recruiters always make you a million promises, tell you a thousand good things about the company, and try to convince you it's the best place in the world. Of course they do - they want you to work for them! But can you really trust everything they say? How do you know what is really true versus what is exaggerated? Business consultant Jesse Lyn Stoner wrote a great post on how to tell if an organization is really values-driven.
If you are complaining that you have the perfect experience for a job and yet you’re not being picked, maybe you should reevaluate your attitude. Technology Recruiter Harry Urschel says that people complain about everything, from their previous boss to the economy to the weather to another company that didn’t call them back. What a turn off for recruiters! Try a positive attitude instead. A recruiter is far more likely to choose someone with a positive, friendly attitude than someone with a negative, depressing attitude.
If you think that nobody checks references in this economy, you are incorrect. Alison Green gets lots of questions about who actually checks references when hiring candidates for jobs, and has decided to share her knowledge with us so we know which ideas are myths and which are facts. One myth is that "employers will only call the references on the list you gave them". Incorrect. Recruiters can call anyone - a former manager, a previous coworker, etc. And those past employers can say both positive and negative things about you. So if you’re worried a past manager will ruin your chances of getting the next job, Green suggests calling them and trying to reach a compromise so they will have positive feedback on you if they ever get a call.
I talk to job seekers almost every day and find that most people are still using a badly dated strategy to find jobs. And for some reason, HR professionals (who should know better) are no better off than any other profession. (Hint: just surfing the job boards won't cut it). Face to face networking and connecting with people you know is always a good strategy, but not enough to guarantee success this time around. Ignore social media at your peril if you are a job seeker, and the tools and rules of the game are still being invented.
Linkedin is an incredible useful tool for anyone that is job hunting, but sometimes it can seem impersonal. If you want to contact an individual recruiter or hiring manager instead of sending generic emails into cyberspace, listen to what Chad Levitt has to say. Levitt suggests you use the Advanced Link at the top of the Linkedin homepage to search for a particular company you’re interested in.