Four Steps Towards Thinking like a Recruiter

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It’s easy for job seekers to think they have the hard part during the interview, but being a recruiter isn’t easy either. Recruiters often have just a few weeks to fill a position. They’ll read hundreds of résumés and conduct dozens of interviews before they’ve identified the top candidates for the position. To help you conduct your best possible job search and to help build empathy for all the hard-working recruiters out there, here are four things recruiters have to think about when picking a candidate:


  1. An Unfilled Job is Expensive

An open job is a huge burden for a company. While the job is open, other employees have to take up the slack and will be less efficient at completing their own tasks. Filling the position will also take time and money.

When a position is open, the recruitment team meets with the department’s hiring managers to determine what the basic tasks of the job are and what qualifications candidates must have. This information is used to write the job posting, and recruiters use these criteria when assessing candidates.

There may be over a thousand applicants for a single job posting. Because the company needs to fill the position as soon as possible, recruiters have no choice but to speed-read your application.

Improve your odds by tailoring your résumé to the position and including a Summary of Qualifications at the beginning of your résumé.

Recruiters also rely on recruitment pipelines, partnerships they have with organizations, colleges and other businesses they can tap to fill positions quickly. You’re far more likely to get an interview if someone the recruiter knows and trusts refers you. Networking should be your primary focus when job hunting.


  1. An Unsuccessful Employee is Expensive

If a candidate is hired for a job but doesn’t work out, even more money is lost. Beyond meeting the basic qualifications, recruiters also look for candidates that are the most likely to be successful at the company.

Recruiters try to eliminate candidates who might be a risk. For example, candidates who are willing to lie. If a recruiter checks a candidate’s references and finds out they lied about their work history, they’ll wonder what else the candidate might lie about.

A recruiter may consciously or unconsciously assume candidates with disabilities are risky. Disclosing a disability, especially one that is noticeable but not immediately obvious, can help recruiters accurately assess your risk.

For example, Autism Spectrum Disorders manifest in a variety of ways, but a common feature is a difficulty picking up on social cues. A recruiter who doesn’t know a candidate is autistic may see them as immature, self-centered or asocial. By disclosing their autism, the candidate helps the recruiter make a more informed choice and comply with the law.


  1. Breaking the Law is Expensive

Recruiters have a lot of people inside and outside the company looking over their shoulder. This includes the recruiter’s supervisor, the company’s compliance officer, the Department of Labor, and other state and federal governmental bodies. The process of going through a law suit, even if the company ultimately wins, is expensive.

Recruiters are required to ensure the hiring process is accessible, but if you need an accommodation, it’s your responsibility to request it. This doesn’t guarantee you’ll get it. The company is required to work with you to identify the most effective accommodation.

For example, it’s reasonable to expect a company to hire an ASL interpreter for an interview, but asking them to hire an ASL interpreter to be available all day while you’re on the job is too much.


  1. Missing Out on Great Talent is Expensive

Because they are under so much pressure to fill a position as quickly as possible, recruiters get really excited when they see a talented candidate. To avoid losing out on potential talent, recruiters want everyone they interview to feel comfortable.

Remember that you’re interviewing the company as much as the company is interviewing you. As intimidating as it might be, the fact that you’re in a face-to-face interview means the recruiter recognizes you as a potential asset to the company. They’ll be open to answering as many questions as they can about the position and what it’s like working at the company.


In short, recruiters have a very difficult job. They have to fill multiple positions as quickly as possible by sorting through potentially thousands of applications. They have to ensure a steady supply of the best talent and project a positive image of the company. They also have to keep such talent engaged even if they don’t have open positions for them at the moment.

As a job seeker, you can maximize your chances by focusing on what you can do to make the recruiter’s job easier.

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