For years we’ve heard that hiring managers and recruiters will spend five to ten seconds reading your resume — and no more.
Of course, you cannot really read a resume in five or 10 seconds. I’ve read tens of thousands of resumes over the years and I still read resumes every day.
It takes time, and if you advertised a need for candidates, then you should have the time. If you don’t have time to read the resumes you receive, you shouldn’t be recruiting!
However, managers and recruiters are famous for “reading” resumes in a single glance. They may not even scroll down the screen to see the second page of your resume. That’s shameful, but it’s reality.
On the other hand, recruiters will reach out to you if they find your LinkedIn profile and think you might be qualified for a job opening they’re trying to fill.
Now the shoe is on the other foot. The recruiter needs you, or they wouldn’t take the time to contact you. When you talk to a recruiter on the phone, it’s your turn to screen them the same way they screen job-seekers like you.
Some recruiters will get you on the phone and immediately start asking questions about your background. You can stop them cold and say “Let me ask you this: have you seen my LinkedIn profile?”
If your LinkedIn profile is up to date, they are wasting your time by asking you questions your LinkedIn profile has already answered.
If the recruiter is pushy with you and says “Yes, I’ve read your profile but I have to ask you the questions on my list” politely hang up the phone.
Recruiters cannot earn a dime without candidates like you. If a recruiter reaches out to you — intruding on your busy day — and can’t take the time to prove his or her value to you by answering your questions before launching into a mini-interview, they cannot help you!
You must vet the recruiters who call you. You get to decide who will represent you to employers. Don’t choose someone who is rude or pushy! Choose a recruiter who respects you and your background, as well as your time.
When a recruiter contacts you, don’t start answering their questions about your background right away. They haven’t yet earned the right to ask you any questions.
You have questions of your own that need to be answered first!
Ask the recruiter whether they have a specific job opportunity they are working on — one that you might be qualified for. If they are simply trying to add people like you to their database, that’s a good reason to get off the phone quickly.
If they have a specific job they’re working on, ask them the basics: where is the job located? What is the general outline of the role? What is the rough salary range for the job? Every good recruiter can answer these three questions. If a recruiter won’t play ball, say goodbye.
Employers are having trouble finding great people to fill their job openings. On top of that, most medium-sized and large employers have broken recruiting systems.
Their recruiting processes are so slow and cumbersome that good candidates drop out of the pipeline. That’s one reason so many employers work with recruiters. The recruiters keep the process moving!
A good recruiter in your corner is a fantastic asset, but as in any profession, there are more unsuitable recruiters than top-notch ones around.
Invest the time and energy to screen every recruiter you talk to before agreeing to share your resume with them or to allow them to represent you.
You are not just a bundle of skills and certifications. You are a talented professional that employers would be lucky to recruit. Remember that only the people who get you, deserve you!
Liz Ryan is CEO/founder of Human Workplace and author of Reinvention Roadmap. Follow her on Twitter and read Forbes columns.