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Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions for Candidates in the Recruitment Process

By Nicole Cox, Chief Recruitment Officer
With Tom Brennan, Senior Writer

2014 leap

Part 3 in our series:  Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions For Hiring Managers and Candidates

It’s not too late to set those resolutions for 2014! In the first two parts of this series (Part 1, Part 2) I shared our top ten resolutions for hiring managers (HMs), and now we’ll turn to recommendations for candidates — best practices as well as mistakes to avoid. These suggestions come from my own experience and that of Decision Toolbox’s talented team of recruiters.

1. Don’t overcompensate

Unless your agent is Tom Cruise, bring a realistic and informed approach to salary demands. Determine your personal goals, but be sure they are aligned with market rates. Employers do their homework, and you should do yours. Different websites will give you a range, but keep in mind that the same job title can have very different responsibilities at different companies. Review more than one site, talk with others in your field and check in with professional associations.

Regardless of what you made in your previous position, the HM’s budget will be dictated by the market. Ultimately you have to decide what you’ll accept, but be flexible. When you provide a range, be realistic. We’ve seen candidates reject offers for being too low, even though the offer fell within the range they stated!

Consider the total package as well: benefits, vacation, career path — or maybe the opportunity to make an impact that you just don’t have now.

2. TMI, dude!

Too much information can create the potential for discrimination. For example, an employer can’t ask your age. But even if you don’t put your birth date on your résumé, people can extrapolate from other bits of information, like your marital status, number of children, etc. And NEVER put your social security number on your résumé.

Some candidates share TMI during interviews. There’s no need to discuss medical conditions unless they have a direct bearing on your ability to do the job. The state of your marriage, your son’s struggles in high school, your neighbor’s constant loud late night parties — these are important to you, but do NOT belong in an interview.

3. Be honest, Abe

If you put something on your résumé, be prepared to back it up, in an interview, with tangible examples. Don’t put “experience with ERP implementations” unless you played a direct, hands-on role that affected the outcome of the implementation. Merely working at a company that changed ERP systems doesn’t count! And learning agility is good, but if an HM needs someone with cost accounting skills, you’re not likely to be hired without those skills even if you do say, “I’m a fast learner!”

4. Be professional with the Recruiter

  • Demonstrate your character: For instance, if the application asks you to answer additional questions and you skip them, you’re demonstrating that you cut corners.
  • Get pumped: convey interest and engagement when you talk with a recruiter or HM.
  • Respect the process: for example, it’s understandable that you want to talk directly with the decision-maker, but the HM engaged a recruiter because he or she wants the recruiter’s expertise.
  • Leave Midge at the coffee shop: avoid pet names like “Hon” or “dear.”
  • Be civil: One recruiter reached out to a candidate who emailed back, “Are you %#*! kidding me? Why would I want that job?” The recruiter responded professionally and now that same candidate has tried to add the recruiter to his LinkedIn network several times. Really?

5. Interview the hiring manager

An interview should be a two-way exchange, so prepare relevant and targeted questions about the job duties, company culture, systems and technology, and more. Find out if the role is a good fit for you. When the HM asks if you have any questions, your first one should NOT be, “When do you expect to fill the role?”

After all, you should love your work. In Part Four I’ll finish the list of resolutions for candidates, and in Part Five I’ll share tips for powering up your résumé.

Connect with Nicole on LinkedIn or Twitter.

To learn more about Decision Toolbox, contact us – we’d love to hear from you!

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2 Responses to “Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions for Candidates in the Recruitment Process”

  1. May 22, 2014 at 9:25 am, 5 More New Year's Resolutions For Hiring Managers | DecisionToolbox said:

    […] HMs, here’s to a great year in 2014! In my next post I’ll share advice for […]


  2. May 22, 2014 at 9:26 am, How to Make Your Resume Work for You | DecisionToolbox said:

    […] advantage of the tips we’ve provided in the first four parts of this series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4), whether you are a hiring manager or a job seeker. They’ll make the recruiting […]


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