Posts Tagged ‘ CV ’

Having Multiple Versions of your CV – the discussion continues

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Last weekend I asked a simple question on Twitter, it got an immediate reaction from many which inspired me to post the same question on the blog. “Do CVs Contain the Truth?”

Of course we all hope they do, we know that not all of them do.

There have been some great comments and discussions on- and offline. When I created the post I was thinking as both a candidate, which is what I am and as a hiring recruitment manager, which is also what I am.

From the candidates perspective I only have one linear history of experience and in my CV I always highlight what I have done and what I have achieved, all of it, over the last 10 years. I am only going to apply for jobs that are relevant to that experience, to do anything else I would be deceiving myself that I could be something that I am not.

This is a change for me. In previous years when I was selling hardware and software, based on advice from a so called recruiting and career expert, I had a number of CVs; one highlighting my direct sales experience, a second highlighting my channel sales experience, and other highlighting my management experience, all created in order to justify the application to a particular job, a job that I was probably not suitable for. None of them actually suitable for me either. I learned my lesson. As a candidate I had to know what I am good at, what I want to do and what I bring to the next job. One of the key things I look for when considering a new role is what that job or company can do for me; how will it help me develop.

I am looking for a new job now and can see how two CVs might help find a job, especially if I haven’t find THE job; one to highlight my ability to fill Reqs and the other more strategic and management focused. But for now I only have one CV. The CV. The history.

From a Recruitment Managers perspective I don’t actually care. I only see a CV, I don’t know if it is one of one or one of many. I don’t care. It is what it is and I have to make a judgement and decision on it. What I do care about is being able to read a CV and believe it is a true representation of a candidate’s experience. If I start to have doubts then I won’t be inclined to proceed with the candidate.

I was interested in the comments from my fellow in-house recruiters and recruitment managers who said that they would rather read a CV that has points specific and relevant to the position applied for highlighted, to them I ask “how would you know that what you are reading has been created for you?” “How do you know they have read and understood the job description?” There is no way of knowing at all.

If we encourage candidates to alter CVs to highlight skills and experience simply touched upon, are we not asking for all CVs to be documents of aspiration? In doing so, are we then not diminishing the value of a CV as well as our ability to rely on them as a testament to skills, experience and knowledge genuinely earned and learned?

There is no right or wrong to this practice. It is simply a personal preference.

But it is worth thinking about it’s worth, rather than just accepting it as a good idea.


Do CVs contain the truth?

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Is tailoring a CV to fit a job or a company dishonest? Is it deception?

Do we as Recruiting Professionals or hiring managers not want to know that what we are reading is the absolute truth and not just a version of it?

As a job hunter I only have one stream of experience that might be relevent to the roles I am applying for so don’t see the benefit, but ……………………….


What does the Recruitment Industry Compete on?

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In a departure from #myjobhunt blog series

Recently I was asked “What do you think are the key factors that the recruitment industry competes on?”

My Answer:

You have to think about what you are competing for. Are agencies and search firms competing for the potential candidates or are they competing for the actual deal with the customer? They should have both in mind always.

Of course if competing for the candidates you have to be able to present yourself as credible and effective. An agency has to present itself as knowing the market as well as the ins and outs of the customer they are representing to the candidate, without the hard sell. They have to know all there is to know to ensure that the candidate has sufficient information to determine if the job and company is suitable. Also armed with the customer knowledge the agency recruiter will be able to determine accurately if a candidate can be turned into a credible applicant in front of the customer.

Competing at the customer level we look for agencies or suppliers that will be able to represent our brand, our company and the position we are recruiting for as if they work for us; much like a sales channel does for products. If a search firm or agency can show they have the ability to understand our business, our processes and our culture then they will be equipped to sell our proposition to each candidate and be of greater service and thus value to all parties.

To compete we all have to be in the position to represent ourselves to each other and meet the expectations of all involved. If as a customer I respect the agency or search firm – and more importantly the person I am dealing with – I will invest the time to educate them and equip them to better represent me. In doing so the agency or search firm will be armed to earn the trust of the candidate. The candidate will have confidence that they will be represented to the customer and the customer will have the confidence that their brand is in safe hands. The customer will appreciate that candidates from that particular source will be thoroughly vetted and closest to the mark.

So answer to the question; the industry competes on knowledge and credibility……………oh yeah, for the poorly managed in-house PSL structures its all about price and not quality of service and the poorly equipped agencies all compete on speed of service rather than quality.

I welcome thoughts and comments on this one please

Hunted to Hunter – tales of a hirer who needs hiring

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Today I find myself in a place that I had hoped never to return to, at least not just yet. I now have to apply myself to the recruiting merry-go-round as an applicant. It will be interesting to note if I will see in myself some of the behaviours seen from the other side of the fence. More importantly it will be very interesting to see how others react to and treat me, especially in consideration of the job am hoping I might secure.

My intention is to provide a daily update on what I find out there, who I speak to, the reactions I get and the reaction or responses that I dont get.

So this is Day 1

The target is to be in a position, earning money by mid September

Activities today, that will I hope secure me my next big adventure started with a very thorough review of my CV. I am one of these people that keeps a CV up to date as I progress throughout a year to be sure I note down the important responsibilities and achievements as they happen. Then when I need to use it, I edit it to conform to the rest of the CV. The review is to be sure that all is kept clean, the small things are attended to, i.e. typos, grammar and spelling and it is still not too long. It is hard to believe that people spend such little time on such things when the stakes are so high!

Being objective is almost impossible when reviewing your own CV and I have been coincidently fortunate to get to know a professional career coach and CV writer who has offered some fantastic help.

So with the CV primed, I am all set and ready to go.

People have stated that I am one of the most widely networked and connected recruiters in the business, however I have spoken and written that it is not how many people I am connected to that counts, but the relationships I have created and mutual trust I have established with some of them that is important. So to let people know. If they don’t know my plight they can’t help. I have no allusions that I will be a magic switch. It is all about timing and to quote two of the greatest poets of this and the last century “you can’t always get what you want” (sic)

I also wanted to update my old files on the Personnel Today site and ensure that my profile was up to date and my searches were defined for what I am looking for now. It was like pulling teeth. It was not intuitive and didn’t navigate well at all. It also kept failing causing me to start again; very frustrating when I wanted to get as much done as I could in the shortest amount of time! Deep breath! 1,2,3,4….. Then having done a search and found what looked like a fantastic result the job/page wouldn’t load. So Personnel Today not the greatest experience. Onwards – Changebord next – an easier affair, albeit it still not complete as so much to do on my part to ensure thoroughness. Tomorrow!

Then I looked on The FIRMs job listing and was pleased to see some new jobs posted, some of interest as well and needing further investigation.

Emails and Twitter DM messages sent to a number of contacts which resulted in some very good results.

Two interviews for two different roles in the diary by close

Most of the people I have spoken to online or in person over the last few days have offered help, some with sound and welcome advice. Above all and most importantly the majority offered friendship and support. I couldn’t be more grateful and spoiled. To you, Thank You.

Tomorrow is new day with a new approach to a different set of known and unknown contacts. I am committed to not discounting any opportunity at the moment with the view that if I create enough opportunities very fast then I will have control.

One bit of advice I have always given candidates is that they must always go for the offer. Without offer the candidate doesn’t have any options and doesn’t have any choices. Without either the candidate has no control over the process.

Lets see if it works, shall we?

A Picture is worth a 1000 words – or Nothing at all!

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In the last couple of years we have all seen an increase in the number of CV’s that are submitted that include a photograph of the candidate. Why is this? Who suggested it would be a good idea? I suspect that the use of photographs in CVs has increased as a result of people’s use of LinkedIn and Facebook, two sites that already have them in personal profiles, who knows?

There has been much debate and plenty of comments made about the value and use of photos in CVs. Within The Forum for In-house Recruitment Managers there has been a discussion on this very subject and some very valid points raised both sides of the debate. Some people say that depending on the role and the quality and type of photo could help form an opinion around suitability, especially for customer facing roles, but the vast majority (around 90%) are against it because it could be used against a candidate – it shouldn’t be, but it could be.

As a professional recruiter I am one of a team of people who is (or should be) the first person to see a CV as it comes into the company and you wouldn’t believe the quality of some of the photographs that are included. They range from those that look like mug shots of criminals (the vast majority) to ones that look as if they were taken on a night out. Very few are professional “business” photos – and guess what? I try to ignore them all and wouldn’t be able to recall a single face in a CV unless it was blatantly stupid. This is the same for the majority of professional recruiters in other companies as well, certainly the ones that I have spoken with. Some take the sensible step of removing the pictures from CV’s as they arrive before they are passed to hiring managers. Others take the rather harsh position, that a photo on a CV shows a poor lack of judgement and rejects the candidate immediately. Neither practice supports the use of photos on CVs.

Putting myself in the position of a candidate, which I have been on occasion (honestly, I have), I am or would be sensitive to any discrimination against me based on age, race or gender. In that position I am grateful that laws exist so that I don’t have to put such details on a CV anymore. So why on earth would I put a picture on it? It would open me up to the kind of discrimination that I wanted to avoid.

Personally I think the use of photos on CVs is poor practice and a very bad idea and should be discouraged, if not stopped altogether. I could care less how ugly or attractive you are! A photo on a CV adds absolutely no value to the CV or to your chance of being considered for a job. Whilst none of us should judge a book by its cover if I see a photo I automatically think the candidate shows poor judgement, not a good start when applying for a job. Like it or not, it is human nature to form prejudices, some of which are of course harmful and unacceptable and we work hard to keep them out of the decision process around hiring. There are however many managers in hiring positions in all companies who do not share the same professional approach and who might not have the council of professional recruiters to keep them honest. Nobody likes this but it is there, so why as a candidate would you provide a picture that highlights the three main reasons why someone might be discriminated against? Think about it. A picture is not clever; it is not needed, serves no purpose at all and could work against you.

Tell them what you want and how to get it – Candidates take charge!

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I was recently doing some online reading when I came across a question asking, how and if Job Boards and Recruitment Agencies support the goals and meet the expectations of candidates.

We could very easily fall into the trap of generalising, and say “of course they don’t!” But is that fair? Can we, or in fact can they, presume to know what the aspirations and expectations of every candidate are? No of course not. We all agree, I’m sure, that some of the basic expectations of anyone using their services need to be met.

Job Boards offer a range of services to job seekers, primary and fundamentally common to all of them is the access to jobs supposedly current and available advertised by employers and agencies. Job Boards to their best to promote their services to all parties to ensure that they get sufficient traffic from all concerned to generate interest for all parties.

There are so many Job Boards available for a candidate to choose from, where would they start? Do they go for a generalist boards such as Monster or Total Jobs etc., or for the niche Job Boards that focus on particular types of vacancies or market sector? Candidate expectations will vary depending on the choice made. But why limit the choices. The vast majority of Job Boards do not charge candidates to register and make use of their services, so what expectation might one have. When I have been a candidate looking for work I have never had any expectations of a job board; if I can’t find a suitable position I had the choice of coming back tomorrow, refining my search or going elsewhere.

If on the other hand I have paid to register then my expectations leap to another level. I would never pay and never would, unless it is the only route, so not sure what the value proposition of a company like The Ladders.

Agencies on the other hand are different. We talk about agencies as the entity we deal with, but they are staffed by people and we all know it is the person with whom we deal that makes a difference to our perception of value and quality in a service model. The one advantage Agencies have in their ability to meet expectations is that the vast majority of experienced job seekers don’t have too much respect of them, thus have reasonably low expectations in the first place. Much the same as with Job Boards there are some basic and fundamental expectations that a candidate should rightly have; a polite and ethical service and ability to deliver against promises. Sadly neither is all that common. But should candidates be surprised and expect anything any different.

Most agencies have only one focus – their fee and don’t tend concern themselves with what the candidates want or need or really what the long term customer requirements are. Candidates tend to be treated as potential fee-earning commodities. What is wrong with this? Nothing and everything, but it does depend on your perspective. Where most agencies go wrong is in their assertion that they are professional, ethical and can represent the candidate. This is where they set the expectations that cannot be delivered upon. (I know that there are some fantastic people who work for or run their own agencies, people that I would recommend without hesitation, however I know from first hand experience that sadly they are counted as the few). Most experienced job seekers don’t believe them anyway, but still most experienced job seekers don’t mange their own job hunting project effectively and thus set false goals of themselves and false expectations of an agency.

Talking to a number of candidates over the years and to colleagues running in-house recruiting teams in large and small companies, as well as to some agencies, all seem to agree that the role of the job seeker in the process is far too passive, which is converse to what it should be.

The candidate needs to take some responsibility in the process. Let’s face it; the candidate NEEDS to make the process about themselves! And so it should be. As a candidate you are the most important link, from your perspective, in this chain. It is all about you and your career. Make it so. How you choose with whom to work, whether Job Board or Agency should be an educated decision, one that your future could depend on!

As a Recruitment Manager I have a duty to evaluate suppliers; Job Board or Agency based on research, feedback, references taken and reputation and many other attributes. If we then choose to deal with an agency I must spend the time to equip that company and its representatives with sufficient information and understanding of our needs in order that they can represent the values and vacancies of my company to the best of MY ability.

Why then, can we not, as candidates apply the similar principals of evaluation to select the right Job Board or Agency to deal with? Job Boards are somewhat easier as there is no real harm in registering with all of the likely relevant ones, but you must learn how to get the best out of them. I know it’ll take time and effort to do the research but surely a career is important enough to make that investment? Making an educated informed decision about who is authorised to take your professional lives into their care and represent you to prospective employers could be the difference between a pay cheque job and a successful rewarding career.

Candidates can take control! – be assertive, be clear on what you want from a job, a career and an employer. I ask every candidate that I speak to what their goals and aspirations are, sadly I very rarely get a decent well thought out and planned answer. Set out your goals and be able to communicate them to the agency in much the same way you would to a prospective employer.

Spend time researching the market and get some feedback and comments about the performance of the agencies in your target market. If you want anything other than an impersonal service, where you are just a fee on the churning production line, you will need to insist that the person you deal with takes the time to learn about you. As a candidate you need to give clear instruction, with a clear direction and offer a clear value proposition. Think about and give the agency the reason why they should work on your behalf and why a company would employ you – tell them where and how they will earn their fee (help them; they aren’t that bright, generally). To do this you must meet with them. No excuses, insist on it and don’t deal with them if they won’t meet with you – how can they represent you if they don’t know you?

Granted Job Boards and Agencies are businesses set up to make money for their owners and don’t let anyone tell you differently. Yes they do this by providing different services. If you want them, whoever they maybe, to meet your own personal goals and expectations then you must help them help you. Why have expectations of them if you don’t know what you want, that is unrealistic.

4 Tips for Efficient Job Hunting Online …..and a little bit more

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I have just read with interest the post by Irina Shamaeva on The Talent Buzz and the comments others have made. Whilst I would have liked to post my comments on there it felt mine might be a bit too long winded and thus thought it better to put them here. To view the post 4 Tips for Efficient Job Hunting Online

I agree with most of what has been said insofar as a mix of the advice proposed gives a better but still incomplete picture. There are so many more tips to give. Here are some and I am sure others would gladly share their experiences too.

As an in house recruiter (and a sometimes candidate) with over 25 years of experience on all sides of the recruiting process I can say that if you are an experienced person with what you think are skills and experiences that will be or are likely to be targeted in the market, the first thing you need to do is research.

Research which companies will be or could be interested in your skills, dig deep to find out as much as you can about them a how they would employ the skills you have. Once you have your list do more research to discover those that you feel you would enjoy working for. Once you have your shortlist apply to them directly, with a CV and covering letter specifically created and detailed to address the requirements of their advertised position. Whilst customized CVs are a good idea remember that they do need to be an accurate reflection of your attributes.

However this may still not be enough. Many candidates complain that when they apply for jobs their application just disappears into a black hole. Sadly this can happen. In house recruiters from the larger companies may have 100’s of applications for their roles each day, with probably 90 % as unsuitable as a snowman applying for a fire fighters job. There is no harm sending a CV directly to a recruiter if you can get their email address, the better ones will read it and appreciate your initiative.

If you find a job advertised by two or three agencies as well as the employer don’t go to any old agency, apply directly to the employer. In my experience you stand a better chance to being recognized and responded to, and your skills are more likely to be recognized for what they are, hopefully increasing your chances. If you do need to or chose to use and agency DO NOT permit them to send your CV to a potential employer without you knowing who it is going to. An agency is obliged to ask your permission before they send it and even if they aren’t in your country, I wouldn’t trust them if they don’t trust you! The last thing you want is to make an application for a job directly only to find an agency has sent your CV to the same company previously without you knowing. You will reduce your chances of proper consideration.

Also never allow an agency to say that they will punt your CV to a prospective employer on a speculative whim. If the agency cannot give you a full and detailed job spec in writing then they are unlikely to be acting on the employer’s behalf and thus could again complicate and reduce your chances.