by Bill Radin
More Tips for Recruiters
Table of Contents
News, Training & Commentary by Bill Radin
Keywords, Wrong Candidate
often ask me how a candidate can be rejected for consideration, even though
the person’s resume has all the right keywords.
Simple answer? The job description got lost in translation.
Think about it: Every job exists because a company has a problem.
Otherwise, they wouldn't be hiring. Unfortunately, most employers are unable
or unwilling to talk directly about the problem; so they talk around it.
Instead of saying, “We’ve got a great team of developers. But they lack
discipline, and we’re on the verge of losing a major contract because we’re
chronically behind schedule,” they hand you a job description that reads,
“The candidate will be expected to broadly influence the technology and
direction of the product. Must be proficient with J2EE, JCR, JSF and Ajax
and possess a BS or MS in computer science or related field.”
It's a classic disconnect: The hiring manager is worrying about a PROBLEM
but translates the solution into a list of QUALIFICATIONS for the
Submission Deficit Disorder
From this point on, you and the employer pass like two ships in the night.
You submit the resume with the right QUALIFICATIONS and what happens? The
hiring manager stares at the resume, trying to imagine how that candidate’s
going to solve the PROBLEM.
The keywords are there—you
made sure of that—but
the essential qualities needed to solve the problem are unknown, at least on
paper. So the candidate’s resume is returned to you, stamped REJECTED.
But it doesn't have to be this way. By interviewing the hiring manager
directly, you can understand the nature of the problem and begin to find a
solution. Here are some simple questions to ask:
1. What's the most pressing problem you'd like to solve by making this hire?
2. To fix the problem, what would the new person need to do? Please be
3. What problem-solving accomplishments or experience in the candidate's
past job would give you the confidence to predict success at your company?
4. Can you think of any knockout factors that would immediately disqualify
someone or render them incapable of succeeding at your company?
5. After the initial problem is solved, what lies ahead, in terms of
Obviously, there are many more questions you should ask. But by digging
deeper than the keywords and cliches—and
getting to the heart of the matter—you'll
add tremendous value and translate a greater number of submissions into