Placing People First

The process is broken. 

Our mantra at DNP Talent is Placing People First.  I chose that with purpose. 

I have been laid off in my career twice.  Once after a year at a higher education institution where my position was eliminated.  Last time was after returning from a short-term disability and my position was considered redundant after an acquisition.  So, twice in my career I have been in a position where job hunting felt desperate.  Any other time in my career, I job hunted while employed.  A much different experience from an anxiety perspective.  I say this to say, I have been there.  It’s mortifying to pack your boxes in front of co-workers. It’s a horrible feeling to be walked out. You feel lost and confused.  

Job hunting and interviewing is anxiety inducing already.  You are throwing yourself in front of wolves to plead your case (your experience, your fit, your sanity and your loyalty).   Then add being unemployed, without benefits and pay – you have yourself a disaster for your self-esteem, confidence, and ability to sell yourself to the best of your ability. 

Placing People First meant placing your needs, as the candidate, in front of the process.  I have been a candidate many times and I have always felt like a cog in a machine.  Being pushed around, being told what to do next, and answering questions the way I knew they wanted them answered (I would not be a lion if I was an animal… I would totally be a panda and roll around and eat all day). 

The recruitment/talent acquisition process is broken.   

We, recruiters, have been trained to source, extract, sell, and close.  But along the way some of us have forgotten that we work with PEOPLE. People who are going through life. Stress in life.  People that just want to make a good decision for their career, their families, their future.  But some of us look at candidates as pawn pieces.  Moving chess pieces around the board until there’s a hit.   Earning our livings slotting people into spaces or a “butt in a seat” (recruiter speak, yes really). 

Did you know that a recruiter tends to review an application/resume for about 30 seconds?  We scan.  

We know what technical skills we need to fill the role – we scan for those keywords. 

We know the hiring manager does not like a job hopper – we scan length of time in your position. 

We know the position requires a specific certification or license – we scan for that section on your resume. 

We know what type of candidate we need (leader, production worker, etc)  – we scan for keywords that display leading, developing, transforming, earned, won, hunter/farmer, built, organized, etc. 

30 seconds. 

If your resume does not depict what is required on that job description in 30 seconds – you are probably rejected.  Now is that fair? Maybe.  Most positions that are posted gain hundreds of applications.  There are not enough recruiters or time to call every single candidate for the job.  If you are not at least a technical/skill fit on paper – you are out.  Every wonder why recruiters beg you to tailor your resume to the job you are applying to?  That’s why. 

You are also competing against the other candidates in the pile.  If there are 10 outstanding resumes that fit the bill 90-100%, and your resume only hits the 75-80% mark – you won’t be called unless all 10 of those previous resumes are ruled out in the process.  It’s not a fairness thing – it’s a time efficiency thing. 

The process is hard for a candidate.  It is hard to break through the chaos of it all. They don’t call application tracking systems a “black hole” for nothing. 

Recruiters are trained to work fast.  Job posted, start sourcing for passive candidates (via linkedin, etc), review active applications from the job posting, phone screen candidates, submit, follow-up, offer, negotiate and close.  There are bottlenecks throughout the process.  There are wrenches thrown throughout.  Job requirements change, salary changes, location changes, job goes on hold, job gets canceled, internal candidates may be in play, and politics always get in the way. 

It is the recruiter’s job to cut through the mess.  They are internal sales to the client/customer, they are external sales to the candidate, they are political adversaries with internal departments like HR, compensation, and benefits, they are towing the company line but also reassuring the candidate that they will get them the best deal they can.  It’s not an easy job.   

The process feels broken.  It feels convoluted.  Too many steps.  Too many places where deals can die.  Too many places where candidates feel uncomfortable. 

Most of the positions I gained in my career were from who I knew.  I leaped on Linkedin way back when it first came to fruition.  I was an early adopter.  Just starting my recruitment career, I saw the forest through the trees and knew this was going to be huge.  In both occasions where I was laid off, I alerted my network.  The last layoff I had; I found a job the very next day using my network.    

I bring this up because I think the process of networking, growing your activity within your network, being active in the conversation, and helping your network is underestimated and could change the coldness of the process. 

Candidates are stressed enough as it is.  Applying to 20 jobs on a job board and then sitting back and waiting – with no name to follow up with is stressful!   

Candidates reach out to me all the time.  Just asking questions about the process.  Asking if I can introduce them to someone in my network. Ask if I know someone at X company and to throw in a good word for their application.   I have never said no. 

We, as recruiters, need to do a better job remembering that candidates deserve our respect.  Interviewing and throwing yourself out there is hard, its vulnerable.  They deserve our time.  They deserve our respect.  They deserve to be placed first in the process, ahead of your bottom line. 

I say this to you now. If you need help, I am here.  #PlacingPeopleFirst