Job Seeker Tips

WORKING WITH A RECRUITER

A recruiter works for the employer client’s company. The Company pays the fee and provides the recruiter with the criteria they are looking for in a candidate. Recruiters are not only searching for the top position for the job seekers; they are searching for top quality candidates for their clients. Recruiters can be of great assistance to candidates who are hoping to be presented in a professional way by a human resources professional.  This is the wave of the future and many professionals now using the services of a recruiter to assist them. Recruiters are often working with companies who no longer post their positions in newspapers thus enabling them to avoid candidates that are not suitable.

When you register with a recruiter by providing a confidential resume and other pertinent information, you greatly increase the possibility of being notified of an opportunity that matches your background should the recruiter have one currently or in the future.

It is important to conduct yourself in a courteous and professional manner with a recruiter. Even if you are not interested in an opportunity today, you never know when you may need their assistance in the future.

If you are interested in an opportunity that is presented by a recruiter, it is critical that you respond to their calls on a timely basis and be forthright and honest in your responses. Listen to the recruiter’s advice and council. They know the requirements of the employer client and their guidance will be very important in helping you to make the best impression.

Do not work with a recruiter with the intent of "fishing" for an offer from another employer to enhance your current position. This will waste your time and that of the recruiter and other employer and quite possibly damage your reputation. There is a good possibility it will also hurt the relationship with your current employer.

PREPARING A RESUME

A resume will not get you a job. A well-prepared resume is merely a vehicle for "getting your foot in the door" for an interview should your background and experiences correspond with an employer’s requirements.

We have found that the most successful resumes follow these simple rules:

It should be neat in appearance and well organized with no spelling or grammatical errors.

Prepare the resume in reverse chronological sequence (i.e. the last employment listed first).  Avoid the use of an Objective statement. If you want to address a specific job opportunity, include appropriate language in a cover letter. Otherwise, you risk eliminating yourself from consideration for a job you might have a strong interest in. The recruiter and/or employer will be able to quickly determine if you are a candidate by reference to the body of your resume.

For each employment format your heading with the employers formal name, the dates of your service, and your ending title.

In the narrative for each employment write 1 or 2 sentences describing the company. This may add credibility to you by reference and will help the employer to understand your experience better. Next, discuss your responsibilities and include statistics that will help the employer with the order of magnitude. Only include significant accomplishments if in fact they are really important. Otherwise you risk "cheapening" your qualifications.

Be brief as you go further back in your career and/or if you have previous non-industry related experience you will want to briefly summarize in 1 or 2 sentences only in order to avoid leaving a time void. Any time voids will be discovered and you may risk losing your credibility.

Include your education and dates.

PREPARE YOURSELF FOR THE INTERVIEW

If you are interested in pursuing an opportunity that has been presented you should:

Obtain and study as much information about the company and the position as quickly as possible. A recruiter may be attempting to set up an interview between you and the employer on short notice.

1) Ask the recruiter how to obtain company literature and a written job description if available.
2) Visit the company web site.
3) Call the company directly and ask to have company literature and sales brochures sent to you directly.

BE PREPARED. Employers are impressed with candidates who take the time to learn about their company!

THE TELEPHONE INTERVIEW

Successful phone interviews will eventually lead to face-to-face interviews. If you are not local to the employer there is a good chance the recruiter will arrange for you to talk with the employer by phone first. The recruiter will probably coordinate a telephone call which will permit you to choose a time when you may speak freely.

Introduce yourself and then become a good listener. The employer should lead the discussion. Take notes.

KNOW YOUR RESUME. You might be surprised at the number of times an employer asks a question derived from a resume and the candidate’s response does not correspond with what is written.

Answer all questions directly, honestly and confidently. Be confident and enthusiastic, but not boastful.

Be prepared with a few questions of your own that relate to the company or position

DO NOT ask about compensation. The recruiter should have already provided you with this information and it sends the wrong message to the employer.

Let the employer know why you think you are qualified for the opportunity and that you are interested in pursuing it further.

THE FACE-TO-FACE INTERVIEW

Do your best to meet the employer on the date that your recruiter has suggested.

Be prepared. Re-review literature and jot down important questions to discuss with the employer.

Bring 3 copies of your resume (in the event that they have forgotten to make copies for others who have been asked to meet with you).

Arrive early especially if you are unfamiliar with the area. If possible, take some time to visit the employer’s models.

Be neatly groomed and dress appropriately. We recommend conservative suits for senior level positions and a blazer (or coat), slacks and a conservative shirt and tie if applicable for a middle management opportunity. Make sure your shoes are polished.

Shake hands firmly. A "limp fish" creates an immediate bad impression.

  • Never chew gum.
  • Maintain good eye contact.
  • Sit straight in your chair, never slouch.
  • Be a good listener! You will have your turn. The employer is responsible for leading the discussion.
  • Be prepared for questions that may be asked by the employer
  • Be confident (not cocky) with a good positive attitude. Let them know you will not let them down - that you have the right skills and experience they are looking for and a strong desire to succeed.
  • Be careful about questioning them intently on future opportunities for you within their organization. You don’t want to give the impression that you are accepting a lesser role only temporarily for a bigger opportunity downstream. Instead, let them know you want to focus on doing the best job possible with the current opportunity and like anyone else, should another opportunity arise that you are qualified for and assuming that you are excelling in your current position, then you would like to be considered for the promotion.

When given the opportunity ask your questions as they relate to the company, job responsibilities, reporting relationships etc. DO NOT ask about compensation. However, if the employer initiates a discussion about it, be prepared. The recruiter should have already given you a range of compensation for the position and of course you should stay within this range. It is common and customary for the employer to learn about your earnings history as well. Some possible questions may include:

1) How did this position become available?
2) What is your background?
3) What made you decide to join the company?
4) What will be the top priority for the person who accepts this job?
5) What is the main strength you are looking for from this new manager?
6) How would you describe the culture in your Company?
7) What are the near and long term plans for the Company?
8) How would you describe your competition?
9) What are the Company's greatest challenges near and long term?

POST INTERVIEW FOLLOW-UP

Within 24 hours of your interview send the employer a "thank you" letter. If you remain interested in the opportunity make sure you reiterate your feelings. Let them know that you are excited about becoming a member of their team!

PROVIDING REFERENCES

Of course you do not want to jeopardize your current job by providing references pre-maturely. If necessary, ask the recruiter to intervene with the employer on your behalf.

Typically your recruiter will have requested all references prior to coordinating a “send-out” or interview. After you have interviewed face-to-face and the employer is prepared to make you an offer (contingent upon acceptable reference checks) – you should then provide a minimum of 3 references from superiors that you have worked for directly in the past excluding your current employer. Remember that it is appropriate for you to call your references and let them know that they will be receiving a call from either the recruiter or the employer. Let them know you are currently employed and to please keep this news confidential.

If you are currently unemployed the list of references should include your last employer. Be aware, if you are unemployed that the employer may contact others not on your reference list. This is appropriate and part of the employer’s due-diligence.

THE OFFER

The recruiter will contact you if an offer is being made. Don’t play games! Most employers are advised to give their "best shot" on the first offer. Look at the long term in evaluating the offer. If the offer is absolutely unacceptable, discuss all concerns and resolutions with your recruiter. Salary negotiations become personal and a good recruiter can help to preserve relationships.

You may not receive a formal employment contract or “letter of offer” unless you are applying for a very senior management position. Instead, employers normally send a "welcome" letter that includes the key points of the verbal offer. Some companies have been ill-advised not to do this. Under this circumstance you should consider writing a friendly letter to the employer that express your eagerness to join his team and confirms the basic terms of the offer. Though this is not a legal document it is sometimes helpful in avoiding future misunderstandings.

RESIGNING

Once a decision has been made to accept an offer you should make every attempt to join the new company as soon as possible. Not only does your new employer need you but the longer you stay with your current employer the more uncomfortable you will feel as a "lame duck". It is customary to give 2 weeks notice (3 at the most).

Regardless of your feelings and circumstances concerning your current employment avoid the temptation of telling your employer what you really think of him (or the company or job). Do not "burn your bridge". You may need your employer as a reference in the future and you don’t want anyone disparaging your reputation.

You will probably catch your current employer off-guard with your resignation. Be polite but firm. Tell him that you have decided to accept an opportunity with another company and are giving 2 weeks notice. Let him know that you will do everything possible to make the transition go smoothly and will cooperate completely.

If your employer asks you for more time let them know you have a commitment with the new employer and reiterate you will do everything you can to help within the given timeframe.

Be prepared for your current employer to ask a lot of questions about your new employer. Let him know it was not an easy decision but one you feel is best for your career and family. Tell them it was not strictly money and "please don’t consider making a counter offer".

DO NOT be tempted by a counter-offer or promotion. Remember, you have given your word to a new employer and they have already informed other candidates of their decision to hire you. The loyalty of an employee who has accepted another offer and then changed his mind will always be suspect. The next company downturn he will probably be one of the first to be considered for termination. Think of the reasons you decided to make the change in the first place and stick with it.

RELOCATING

Relocating to a new position can be stressful for you and your family. Take advantage of services and referrals that your new company may have. Choose professionals based on their track record and experience and not necessarily the least expensive ones. Your goal should be to relocate with your family as quickly as possible and in the least stressful manner.

Please review our resources to assist you in making your move.

What does a Placement Agency do?

Simply put, a placement agency finds suitable candidates to fit job openings with the agency's clients. It brings them together for an interview and assists in completion of the hire for the placement. Upon successful placement, the employer pays the agency a fee for services. There is never any charge to the candidate.

Placement of candidates are all the result of a carefully followed protocol ensuring the best fit possible. You will be more than satisfied with the level of service provided by our consultants.

Does an applicant have to pay the agency for finding them work?

No. Candidates are never charged directly or indirectly for any fee for services provided by StaffQuest. We strictly adhere to the Employment Standards Act and are also governed by the Code of Ethics set down by ACSESS (Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services).

How do I apply with StaffQuest for either temporary work or to be represented for permanent recruitment services?

You can either simply fill out our on-line form or send your resume to our offices by facsimile, e-mail or regular mail. Your resumes will be reviewed and you will be contacted by a consultant to discuss employment opportunities. While we make every effort to reply to each and every applicant, it may take several days. We are contacted by candidates from all across Canada and often times, we have hundreds of candidates to reply too.