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Singing the Job Search Blues

Employer Tips From a Job Search Candidate


Special Note to Readers: My recent article How to Make a Potential Employer Fall in Love With You sparked some reader controversy. Various writers took me to task for telling job searchers to use a cell phone number. They disagreed with my stand that I don't want to receive phone calls from job search candidates. Others praised the article as a great resource for job search.

One of my readers, John Budzinski, wrote a response, from the candidate's viewpoint, that is well worth your reading time. He wrote, "Your column, How to Make a Potential Employer Fall in Love With You, does have many good points. While many of them fall under the category of common business sense, the article is worth reading for anyone in the job market. However, these points derive from the frustration Human Resources has with the mountains of resumes they must search through to find those few 'qualified' candidates they will call to interview. Let me give some feedback from the other side of the desk." Thank you, John, for your candor and humor. Personally, I wish all of my job candidates were just like you.

By John Budzinski

Want a job search persective from the other side of the desk? I have been in the job market for two years. I have sent out more than 800 resumes, either via email, snail-mail, or company websites. Through my efforts I have had close to 100 phone interviews in 18 states and more than 35 face-to-face interviews in ten states. (From all indications I get from others in my situation and from recruiters, this is a terrific response rate.)

My efforts resulted in two job offers; one I stupidly turned down and the second was withdrawn 3 days after it was made and accepted. From this experience, I feel I am more than qualified to give a perspective from that other side of the desk.

First, I would love to address a person receiving my correspondence by name. It would help if companies list a name in an ad. While I have long graduated from using, "To Whom It May Concern" to a little more respectful, "Dear Recruiter" or "Dear Hiring Manager", I would like to send a professional business letter.

After all, companies want employees who are good communicators. Let me show you I am and that I can write a proper business letter. Make it a little easier for me. I really don't want to make that stalker phone call to get simple information like names and addresses. (It amazes me why such information is left off of company websites and ads.)

Second, clean up your job descriptions. Don't be so Charlie Brownish with them. If you want an MBA, say so. Don't say, Nice to have. Say what you mean and mean what you say. If you have a laundry list of must haves, list them. Do some creative editing and leave off the nice to haves. Save those to be discovered in the interview when you ask me, "What else should I know about you that makes you qualified?"

Believe me, if I do not have that MBA, I will not send you my resume and you will be more productive by spending quality time with totally qualified candidates' resumes. If a job lists ten qualifications your company requires of candidates and I have nine, I don't send my resume unless the one qualification I don't have is listed as optional. Please, don't waste my time and I won't waste yours. Help me help you. I do care and I don't want to be remembered poorly the next time I sent a resume to you that has all of the qualifications you require for a job with you.

Third, list the salary you are willing to pay. This is getting to be the biggest joke in business. Yes, I know you want me for as little money as you can pay. I want the highest pay I can negotiate from you. Someone has to make the first move, and as the experts say, "The party that mentions money first loses." Guess what. The experts are wrong. Everyone loses! We all lose because of time lost and frustration with the process.

Your company knows the going rate for the job. As a job seeker, I know it as well. If your company lists the salary range you will pay, you will cut in half the number of resumes you must sift through. If I make $80,000 a year, I will not send you a resume for a position paying $70,000 (unless I am very unhappy where I work). The people making $50,000 may think it is too big a jump in pay, so they will not apply.

Those at the $50,000 level who do send resumes are probably very confident and aggressive individuals and probably should be interviewed. In any case, the number of resumes will decrease and if mine is among the few you receive, I know it will get more than a 20 second review. I am better than that and I deserve better. You deserve to have your job made just a little more manageable. Take the steps to do so. Let me help you.

I had a phone interview with a company in Wisconsin. (Keep in mind; I live in New Hampshire.) It went well, even when we talked about money. I had a trip to Chicago planned and the company asked if I would drive up to Milwaukee to meet with them. I did so, at my expense. Things went very well and I expected a job offer. That was until money came up again.

It seems the phone screening wasn't good enough as the pay they offered was far below what we discussed on the phone. I got the feeling I was brought in to talk with them as a consultant whose brain they could pick for several hours about policy, procedures, advice, and suggestions without having to worry about paying me. I have gotten this same feeling in other interviews I have had.

Fourth, don't play games. Things like this get around and you can be certain the job boards were plastered with my experiences with this company when I returned home to New Hampshire. You can also be sure my Headhunter(s) got an earful about it as well.

In addition, please stop asking for salary history. I am not being paid to be a part of your historical fact gathering efforts. Because I have always received ten percent salary increases in my job moves in the past doesn't mean I don't deserve a 20% increase this time. And, I have signed confidentiality agreements with my past employers. Those agreements include pay. Please stop asking me to break these agreements. Do you or don't you want employees who are honest and keep their word?

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