Talent Management: Helping Candidates Avoid Critical Mistakes

In today’s tight job market, candidates may assume that with fewer applicants vying for a position, potential employers will overlook common mistakes and candidates are not being scrutinized as closely. The reality is that even in a market with high demand for talent, mistakes can still turn off an employer and can cost qualified candidates job opportunities.

With the right coaching and resources, candidates can avoid making critical missteps in their job search journey. Recruiters can help by providing guidance to job seekers in determining their market value and avoiding communication faux pas, as well as optimally positioning a candidate for an opportunity.

Market Value. With US unemployment at a low of 3.7% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics July report, many applicants are overestimating their worth and assuming that demand for workers is so high, companies will want them regardless of inflated salary expectations. In reality, companies are still looking closely at their bottom lines, and their margins do not necessarily correlate with lower unemployment rates. Job seekers have a much higher chance of landing a position when they have a clear idea of the market value of the position, set their salary expectations based on that value and communicate that number.

Job seekers often develop salary expectations by consulting sites like Glassdoor, Indeed and Monster. However, these online tools are not always accurate, and job candidates may be misinformed by looking at a national salary average for a position instead of salary information that has been adjusted for cost of living.

To determine how a candidate arrived at a salary expectation, the recruiter should obtain insight on current salary and experience from the candidate. Recruiters can then draw on their own experience, salary guides, market analyses and specialized knowledge of a specific market to provide candidates with an accurate perspective of market value. Offering education and the right tools to candidates is key to setting them up for success.

Communication. Email and text are central conduits of communication between candidates and potential employers. Recruiters can help job seekers avoid communication faux pas that may throw off a hiring manager during the job search process by providing some guidelines for texting and emailing.

Recruiters should advise candidates to keep all communication professional and respond in a manner that mirrors the way the employer reached out. For example, if a hiring manager calls a candidate, the candidate should call the manager back, not send an email or text.

Texting is another communications channel where recruiters should advise candidates to err on the side of more formal, professional communication. Some potential employers may be more relaxed, but it is always a good idea for texts to be grammatically correct and free of abbreviations and emojis. Job seekers should also make sure auto correct has not changed wording and altered the meaning of their texts.

Positioning. Recruiters should hone their abilities to position candidates in a way that makes sure employers don’t miss out on hiring someone just because they were missing a skill. On the other side, staffing agencies should educate employers to loosen their expectations when it comes to skill requirements. Often, a candidate that fits almost every requirement may self-eliminate because they do not check all the boxes.

One of the ways recruiters can help with positioning is by answering questions about a candidate before the client (potential employer) asks. For example, when submitting a candidate who has a gap in employment – the recruiter should explain those circumstances when submitting, not after a client asks.

Another way recruiters can effectively position job seekers for an opportunity is by helping candidates expand on areas of their background that would be of major importance to the employer. For example, if a nurse is looking at an opportunity to work in pediatrics, but their experience in this area is further back in their employment history, the recruiter can work with the nurse to create a brief overview of their experience in pediatrics and highlight it. This helps the recruiter overcome a potential objection about the candidate from the client before it becomes an issue.

Recruiters can be a great resource to candidates, providing guidance to job seekers on market value, communication etiquette and positioning. In this way, recruiters can help candidates avoid miscues and land an opportunity that is the perfect fit while providing value to the client.