Picture this: Mrs. Smith has engaged a recruiter – me! – to find her a great housekeeper. I will now devote my time to finding a promising candidate and getting to know them.  I am creating a profile to send to the client because I am painting a picture for her – a kind of sketch of a person who may come into her life, into her home.  Here is what strikes me as special about this candidate, I am saying.  Here is why I think she may be just right for you. I am asking my client to have faith in me.

After a search, I find a candidate who seems like a good match, and the interview process begins. We schedule a FaceTime call, which she then has to re-schedule at the last minute. When we do connect, the candidate has dressed without making much of an effort.  Her environment is cluttered or noisy.  She has good skills, but there are some gaps in her resume that she is vague about.  I request her references and receive letters from people who were obviously co-workers or friends, not supervisors. Or I encounter non-working numbers and email addresses.

This may be a very qualified candidate, but her interview performance and credentials have made me wary.  I will not present her to my client.  I do not have faith in her.

Let’s try this again.  Now picture this:

Mr. Simmons needs a chef.  He would like to move quickly.

I begin a search and get a response that seem promising.  I contact the chef – he replies immediately, and then is ready, well-dressed and groomed for our FaceTime call. He’s able to provide me with a coherent narrative about his past employment, his background and skills, and what he is looking for in the next position.  He provides me with any references I request, and they are all reachable and cooperative.  I ask to see photos of his food and menus, and he promptly gets them into my inbox.

At each turn, my chef stays in touch by text or email.  As the placement moves toward a successful hire, I am never let down because I have been dealing with an “on-time professional” – someone who understands, above all things, that courtesy, reliability and preparation shine out in the job market.  And that is my definition of a wonderful candidate.

If you are a not-so-wonderful candidate whose resume has gaps or is out of date; whose “professional” references are from personal friends or can’t be reached; who may not always get around to answering messages —please take note.  Recruiters work the hardest for the candidates who meet them halfway.  Our mutual success comes from our mutual respect.

So, dear candidates, please get your credentials in order, establish your references, and engage in your job search with purpose and consistency. Help me to develop faith in you. Then you, too, will be a wonderful candidate – and those are the ones who get hired!

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