Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Interacting with Recruiters

I'm awkward on the phone. I can't seem to pick up the few remaining social cues on the phone, so I tend to be very literal in phone conversations. "I am calling about X job. Can I commence with my qualifications? Oh, X job is full. Abort. Goodbye." What can I say? I am working on it. This is one reason I am really excited about social networking tools that don't require immediate telephone conversations. Which is probably why I tweeted a question to a talk radio show, but I digress. I want to share some resources for job hunters who may be interacting with recruiters.

One of the recruiters I follow on twitter (because she is approachable and gives good advice) is @talentdiva. She is a recruiter, not in biotech, who is good at sharing how HR/recruiter types think. It's hard to target a resume for the first eyes that will see it, so I've found her perspective helpful. She has a weekly talk radio show called Views from the Top where she covers a variety career related topics. The last two shows were specifically on candidate recruitment. I downloaded the first one, and happened to be listening live to the second one. Talk radio? For job hunters? There is no end to the resources out there.

On the show, they were discussing why it is important/valuable/useful for HR people to notify unsuccessful candidates. I tweeted in a question about how the candidate should respond to such a phone call (see above re: awkward phone talker). All the panelists suggested using this as an opportunity to get feedback about your application. Yes, it is hard to stomach it, but the feedback system in the job hunt is pretty binary- you present poorly= no job offers, you present well = job offer. This is one time when you can actually ask someone how close you were and how you can improve for next time. Just stay professional.

While this wasn't precisely the conversation that was discussed on Views from the Top last week, I've been trying to stay in touch with the recruiters who will talk to me. Simply Biotech of San Diego is a great group- they have job postings on line and they actually get back in touch with you when you call or email. So I searched the job postings for something I thought I could do, mostly as an excuse to stay in touch, and called. We talked briefly about this position before I realized my guy was trying to talk me out of it gently. But rather than resume the above protocol, I tried to get some feedback. I told him I am looking for a job I can enter in as a PhD, and that is more important to me than the title or the pay scale. "Oh," he says, "well, actually... here is a job you might be interested in..." Sweet. I'm glad I didn't get off the phone at the first hint of rejection. Having spent the other part of the morning trying to track down another HR person with another company that is "hiring" it made me realize how valuable good recruiters can be for the overall strength of a community or organization.

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