So You Hate Your Job: Recruiter Mailbag

So You Hate Your Job: Recruiter Mailbag

I’m currently hanging out at the airport waiting for a flight out to San Diego and a convention at Disneyland this weekend. I was going through some of the resumes and questions I’ve received thus far, and a lot of them were really solid so I thought I would share with the group.

And yes, I know, humblebrag on Disneyland…but cut me some slack, I haven’t been to any of the Disney Resorts before. If you see on Buzzfeed this weekend that some strange man wearing Mickey Mouse ears got arrested for being a creeper riding the Hyperspace Mountain Tomorrowland ride at 10 p.m., that was probably me.

Let’s kick this off!

Hey man, let’s be realistic here. I am graduating college this coming May and I won’t have shit for experience. I’ll have some stuff through my frat and I’ve got a solid GPA, but every position I am seeing online requires years of experience that I won’t have until I’m 30.

This is true….ish. This may sound off the wall, but I would check out some of the major companies that hang out in the Fortune 500. A lot of these major companies have massive high volume hiring needs (think like 5,000+ a year). Almost all of these companies have university recruiters and recent college graduate programs that are available within their walls. I know my company has one. These major companies will bring in hundreds of college graduates a year to get them in their system.

A term used by a lot of recruiters and companies is “building the bench.” A bench for me is a list of passive candidates who would like to work at my company but only for very certain opportunities. When I get those opportunities, I go to my bench and snag a few of them if it aligns with what they want. These recent college graduate programs are basically bringing the bench inside the company. They will train you up for X amount of months and then they will grab those performing in those programs and slot them into a position on a team. We actually have a mini-draft at our company amongst some of our sales teams when it comes to snagging the talent in these programs. Don’t blow them off.

I was laid off back in September and I don’t know whether I should annotate that I’m still working with that company or not. I feel like it’s a red flag to a recruiter if I’ve been unemployed for that long.

Some recruiters will see this as a red flag, others will not. In these kinds of situations, you need to REALLY focus on networking events and attending career fairs. If a recruiter would red flag you, it would be done while they read your resume before you even get to talk to someone at the company. If you can get a face-to-face with a recruiter or a hiring manager, they’ll want to know more about you and then eventually ask for your resume. Networking events and things like that will allow you to shine before they see the employment gap on the resume. When it comes up in an interview why you haven’t been working, say that your previous company was not a good fit for you. It doesn’t matter if you felt it wasn’t a good fit or if your boss thought it wasn’t a good fit, simply saying it wasn’t a fit for you is not a lie, and it’s a good way to Heisman that type of question.

How would you go about negotiating a salary during the interview process?

The big thing here is actually done on the front end. If your range is 50-60 for example, don’t tell them your minimum salary is 50. Ever. Never ever ever. Tell them that you are aiming for something near 60 (this is after you’ve done your research on Glassdoor). If that is too much, they’ll straight up tell you this position is locked into the range of 50-55. Once you’ve heard that, you’ll walk away with 5k more than if you had said you need at least 50. Know your minimum salary and add 10-15% of that when talking to the company about what you need.

If you receive an offer that isn’t absolutely fantastic and you want to push back, go for it. A lot of companies deliberately low-ball someone expecting them to counter. They have every intention of giving you 60 at the end of the day, but they may start with an offer of 55. It happens. If you are going to push back, give them reasons why you are doing so. When I was hired at a previous job, I received a low offer and pushed back telling them that based on my self-identification as a protected Veteran, if they hire me then my first 12k in salary are basically free tax credits. I suggested that we split that difference and they give me 6k more, they agreed, and my offer got bumped up.

Also look at PTO, 401K match, stock options, work from home opportunities, etc. when you are conducting salary negotiations. This shit matters but is often overlooked. I saw one candidate ask for paid-volunteer days twice a month to go and work at the VA Hospital. The company agreed to pay him those two days a month and then his manager loved the idea and started sending others members of the team with him to the VA, and they also got paid time to volunteer. This guy got extra paid “time-off” and he also hooked up his coworkers; it was a unique case but a legit way to start as part of his new team. He is also now able to claim to be the volunteer coordinator for a program with 500 hours of volunteer time a year within his team when filling out his resume.

What’s the biggest red-flag when it comes to reading a resume?

Every recruiter is different, but for me, it’s typos. Recruiters know that we have very high-demand jobs that we are trying to fill and the competition can be tough. While I don’t care that you make a typo every once in a while, I do care that you don’t go back and check your work after you’ve completed it. I don’t flag those because of grammar, I flag those because it demonstrates a lack of attention to detail and it also shows that you aren’t 100% passionate for this job. If you were, your shit would be air-tight once you submitted it. Like I said, every recruiter is different, but that’s what sticks out to me.

How would I go about making my boss disappear? Half sarcasm.

Once you’re done drag-racing your Prius, call Mother Fucker Jones.

My first job out of college was as an executive admin. It’s a great job and I’ve learned a lot working directly for a VP, but I feel this won’t impress people if they see it on a resume

This is a really great question. The first thing I would do is go ask your boss if he or she feels you’re ready for a promotion within the company in the next few months. The executive admin has some amazing access to some really high-level people within a company and has the ability to hook you up. Don’t take this as an insult to secretaries, but it shows your boss that you’re hungry for more and that you want to grow.

If someone were to come to me and ask me that, I’d gladly help them advance. The chances of him/her shooting you down are low. If you weren’t at least adequate at your job, your boss would have fired you by now. They obviously like you and trust their admins with some seriously sensitive material. If you want to leave that company, as a whole, I would play up the shit out of what you did for him. You audited all reports that came his way (don’t say they came his way, just say you audited them). If he is the regional sales VP, you also served as the point of contact for all inbound inquiries, requests, etc. that came into the regional sales office for all current and prospective customers. Think less like being an executive admin and think more of yourself as a Chief-of-Staff while annotating this on the resume.

Any other questions and resumes can be sent to me here.

Image via Shutterstock

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Kiawah Island Strip Club

I'd rather be golfing. Seattle sucks so I write about that. Also work...ish in recruiting. Shoot your resume to for any and all job hunt questions.

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