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What are Recruiters Really Looking For? Candorful Coach Spotlight - Candorful


By Candorful Coach, Joe Motes

I have heard it all!

You must be able to do everything in the job description.

Your resume must look like this, with a picture, your education must go there.

You must have this and that wording in your resume.

You HAVE to say this, you HAVE to say that…

….Honestly, it is more than frustrating.

I have been in talent acquisition now for almost six years. I am amazed at the undue stress I have watched people experience when preparing for a job search. In this article I am going to share a secret…Shhhhhhhhhhhh!

Disclaimer: Some in the staffing industry will disagree with me and that is ok. We each have our favorite sweet in the candy jar.

So, what’s the secret? Well, it’s simple: Recruiters are looking for someone to meet only about 60% of what is listed in the job description.

WHAT?!! Yep, 60%. Not 100%, and for sure not 2%. That’s right, 60% is your wheelhouse job hunter. When we meet with hiring managers and discuss what they are looking for (called an intake meeting), typically the person they are describing exists only in fairy tales. We understand this. It is our job to walk away from that meeting and put together a candidate profile that will allow us to find viable candidates that can do the job.

How do you meet 60%? Well, it’s more than just your skill-sets. Wait? What?

Let me explain…

When I speak with a candidate I am looking for information that will assure me this person not only possesses the general technical ability to complete daily tasks, but also, will be a fit for the company (culture fit), as well as a fit with the team(s) I am hiring for. Also, if I am only requiring a 60% fit before I send you to the hiring manager, I know in my heart of hearts there will be a learning curve. It is my job, when speaking with you, to determine that you can overcome any learning curve relatively fast.

So, show me what you can do.

Because I have said I am only looking for a 60% fit you may get the wrong impression – that I am not looking at your skills and experience. Trust me, I am. I want to know why you feel your skills and experience are relevant to what I am looking for. However, I am not looking for you to be doing the exact job I am hiring for. For example, do you use a system like the one we use? Explain it, tell me how. You have Project Management skills? Great, tell me about a specific project. The more you can specifically tell me about your skills and how they map to our environment, the closer you get to getting through the gate.

Will you feel like you belong at my company?

Ok, I have determined you meet the skills we need. Now, it’s time to figure out if you could see yourself working at my company. Better yet, if you align with our ethos, values, and mission. You absolutely must come to our conversation with a general knowledge of what my organization does and values. I am going to give you plenty of notice to prepare for our chat, I hope you will take time and do so. I work for one of the world’s top pharma company! I do not expect you to be an expert, but if you can tell me why what we do as a company is important to you specifically, then you have my attention. You want to really get my interest up? Tell me what you love most about our company and core values. OOOOhhh, you have researched our BRG’s/ERG’s/Affinity groups? WOW! Sold!

When it’s time to ask questions, ask me specific ones about the team you’d be working with. IT’S OK. Ask me: How many people are on the team? Do they spend time together doing things outside of work? How long has the team been together? As much as I want to feel you are a fit for the team, you need to feel you are a fit as well.

How long will you not know what you don’t know?

Ok, you have wowed me with your skills, impressed me with your knowledge of the company. Now I need to know how long it is going to take you to find the missing pieces in your toolbox. Do you understand and value initiative, creativity, and finding solutions? Are you a self-starter? Are you comfortable asking questions? Are you humble when you need to be? I need to be able to explain when I present you to my hiring manager that,

Yes, there are shortfalls here and there,

but because of “this†or “that†experience you have shown that you will grow quickly, and therefore

I feel the learning curve will be very, very, very small.

I need you to make me understand.

So, as you begin your transition from the military, or into your next job opportunity, understand that recruiters/staffing are not seeking perfection. We are seeking a whole-person-fit.

Show me your 60%, and I will show you to the hiring managers office.

Joe Motes is a Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Talent Manager for Amgen Pharmaceuticals. Joe previously served in the United States Army from 2000 to 2014. Joe shares his expertise in continued support of military veterans, spouses, and family members through coaching with Candorful. Recalling his own transition experience, Joe has a passion for ensuring the military community are prepared for their next mission. “My addiction is conversation, my passion and profession are people†– Joe Motes

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