Tips for Job seekers and Recruiters from Top HR Professionals

The days when job seekers needed just to create a great résumé and actively follow job boards in order to find and ultimately land a job that meets their needs are long gone. Putting people to work faster is the goal for everybody- for you, for families, for the global economy, and for the business.

That is the reason why talent search shouldn’t be a mystery. Don’t you think it would be awesome to have the chance to just sit down with a group of great recruiters and finally find out what the hell they want from candidates?

This article contains tips from professionals (recruiters) that will inspire and motivate you, provide insights, and identify traps. The recruiters come from diverse backgrounds and geographies, and they have experience recruiting at all levels. There is a lot of advice available, we compiled the best material for you so you can become a master of the new rules of job searching.

1. Build a Balanced Talent Acquisition Strategy

In the eyes of Jessica Miller-Merrell (workplace technologist, HR anthropologist and the founder of, there are two types of recruiting: proactive and reactive.

Proactive recruiting

Proactive recruiting is just like an iceberg. You can see only 20% and other 80% is well hidden and practically invisible because it happens before you actually have a position to fill. Maybe your hiring manager and/or business leader take it for granted, but you should use proactive recruiting. Every good recruiter must know that good talent acquisition strategy is all about planning and using hiring metrics and uncovering hiring patterns in order to anticipate hiring needs before the hiring manager or business leader even realizes they might need to hire more people.

Great companies like Google apprehend how much proactive recruiting really worth. That's why they have a secret interviewing and hiring process for offhand engineers because the best talent is extremely hard to find and they need to look hard.

The part of proactive hiring that's really tricky is that you need to go against everything you have learned about talent acquisition. You should build relationships with potential candidates even when they aren't looking for the job at the moment. After all, it's all about keeping a relationship with candidates and good PR.

Reactive recruiting

Reactive recruiting you can compare with a hamster that is running in his wheel. The hamster is always busy. If you are a fan of reactive recruiting, you will always recruit. But before you decide to go with that, you should read what Jessica Miller-Merrell has to say:  "While I’m in favor of the mantra always be recruiting or always be hiring, I am really in favor of “always be hiring strategically” which is where proactive recruiting really shines."

If you interested to find out more about how to build a balanced talent acquisition strategy, click here.

2. Become the Best Friend with LinkedIn

If you've finished with creating your LinkedIn profile and think you're all set to go, you are wrong. If you want to land your dream job, you should learn more about what you need to do in LinkedIn. Here are some great advice from Stacy Zapar (Recruiting Strategist, Trainer, and Consultant) that can help:

Start connecting and build your network

You never know who your friends know. LinkedIn can, and that make it very useful tool in your job searching process. In a bad economy and job market, it's very important to grow your network and earn better chances for yourself. So, you most definitely should use such a powerful tool as LinkedIn to connect with right people. It's very simple, you connect with one person and that links you to all people he/she knows and all their connections….just like a domino effect.

Use the right keywords

Almost every recruiter used LinkedIn during the hiring process. They use to search for candidates who meet the requirements for their positions. The recruiters look for specific keywords and only consider the resumes that summarize the right combinations of those keywords. So, take the time to look at descriptions of jobs you want and search for terms that these companies use and incorporate them into your summary.

Take the initiative

When you are applying for a job online, you must know that there are hundreds of applicants for that same position. That's why you should never just apply for the position and pray to get it. Things just don't work that way. You must always look for recruiters and/or hiring managers at the company you want to work for and reach out to them. Let them know that you just applied for the job and want to follow up and that way you are showing how much you are interested in working for them. Mention the specific skills you have that match the top requirements from the job description.

If you want to read about more ways you can use LinkedIn, you can do it here.


3. It’s Important to Know The Difference Between Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

If you ask Sharlyn Lauby, an HR pro turned consultant, she will tell you that knowing  the difference between knowledge, skills and abilities is  extremely important.


Knowledge represents the theoretical or in some cases a practical understanding of a subject. For example, an employee might have knowledge of the particular approach model used in procurement industry. This doesn't mean the candidate knows how to be a procurement manager. It only means that he/she knows the model.


Skills are the capabilities that candidates have from their previous training or experience. Using the procurement example, the candidate has demonstrated skills in applying the particular approach model when planning procurement programs. Skills are usually something that has been learned and developed through the transfer of knowledge.


Ability is the quality of the person that gives he/she able to do something. As you can see, the line between skills and abilities is pretty much thin. For most people, the differentiator is whether the characteristic is learned or inherent. I think that ability of negotiation can help a candidate to develop he/she procurement skills.

Knowing the real meaning of these three terms and differences between them are all very important for recruiters if they want to be good in their work and find the best talent.

For more information about this, go to Sharlyn Lauby's blog.


4. Find Creative Ways to Engage With Job Candidates

Although Evelyn Xu is new in recruiting industry, she has some interesting pieces of advice you should consider. Every great recruiter thinks creatively when it comes to finding good candidates, especially the ones who don't spend their days skulking on the Internet. So, think outside the box and find the way to connect with those hard-to-find talents.

Try to balance your time between talking with candidates for the job you have at the moment and talking with candidates who could match the position in the future. That way, your overall results in the long term will be much better.

Stop discounting the random people you meet outside of work. If you love being a recruiter, everyone you talk with will notice that passion and sometimes you may meet professionals that can become your best candidates in future. You can never know rather is the person you just chat with in a line for coffee the best person for the position you need to fill.

Consider using the power of the forums when recruiting. You can find a forum on almost every topic you can think of. So, you should stop by and see what are people talking about on forums on the topic related to the job for which you are currently recruiting. Maybe you manage to find the perfect fit right there.

Step out from your office and connect with potential candidates face-to-face on some event or in other occasions. Start joining in a networking groups related to the fields you need (or will need in the future) professional from, learn a bit more about the subject, and begin to build your own personal network.

You can find good candidates in many unexpected ways. So, always keep your eyes open and think about new ways to connect with potential candidates.

If you like these advices, you can read more about this topic here.


5. Learn How to Respond to the Recruiters

Here are tips from Jim Stroud who wears many hats, social recruiter, public speaker, community manager, online video producer, podcaster, and trainer. He was a consultant for such big and important companies like Microsoft, Google, Siemens, so he surely knows a lot about recruiting.  

The most of the people think that talking to recruiters is a waste of time. That is because they see them as ineffective, clueless and more than anything else, irritating persons.

You can meet different types of recruiters. For example, there are  recruiters who don't have fixed salary and get paid only when a hire is made and the ones get paid an upfront fee to produce a hire within a required period of time. So, when the deadline pass without hire and the clients start barking, recruiters often must go into survival mode. They usually log into a job board, take all the emails of candidates they can find and spam them with a proposition and hope that they will get lucky. In these situations, recruiters are usually focused on keywords in candidate's resumes instead of their entire work history. As a result, people often have been approached by recruiters about jobs they were obviously unqualified for.  

Luckily, not all recruiters are spamming their candidates based solely on the keywords on their resume. I hope that a few bad apples will not spoil the bunch.

If recruiters often contact you with opportunities that you are not a fit for or, are simply uninterested to you, use it to your advantage. If you want to learn how, click here.


6. Learn the Basics of Social Media Recruiting

Liz d' Aloia (founder of HR Virtuoso™- designs customized, company-branded with short-form employment applications available for any mobile device) is an expert in this field.

If you want to learn how to use social media for your recruiting, you just need to do these 4 simple things:

Pick your platform

For the start, don't try to be present on all social media platforms. Instead, find out where your potential candidates live, work, and have fun on social media.

For example, if you are in the hospitality industry, you should use Facebook to source and interact with prospective employees. You can join different groups there and build relationships with your potential candidates few weeks before you start recruiting. You can also use Twitter to find and follow prospective employees.

If you are in law, procurement or other industries like that, you should skip Facebook and start from LinkedIn. The reason for that is simple, people spend their time having fun, and socialization and most of them don't list their specializations and skills on their profiles. At the other hand, your LinkedIn profile is actually your virtual resume where you can write all about your professional life.

Make your posts visual

The most effective way to use social media is to make your company visual. You should start with interaction with potential candidates way before you start recruiting by posting many interested pics and videos and make them excited. When you accomplish that, recruiting becomes easier.

Follow up on comments and keep your posts fresh

When you manage to have many followers, you should keep your posting fresh and relevant content. Also, you should never forget to respond to comments or complaints of your customers and/or potential candidates. So make sure to reply to positive comments as well as on bad feedback about your team, product, or service. In other words, avoid the bad reputation as a recruiter.

Be mobile friendly.

Nowadays, having a powerful social media recruiting strategy if not using mobile-apply process.   If your company has its own employment applications available for any mobile device your recruitment process will be a lot easier.

This whole article originally appeared on the HR Virtuoso blog.

7. The Recipe for Resume Success

The recruiting can sometimes be very frustrating because recruiter must see all applications for the particular job and most of them can be categorized as spam. Most of the resumes don't match the requirement and/or poorly written. This is the reason Jeff Altman (The Big Game Hunter's Blog) wants to encourage applicants to think of their resumes more in the context of SEO optimization. Nowadays, many recruiters use applicant tracking system and using keywords in resumes is a must. So, you should list words that company you want to work for is searching in order to find someone like you in the top third of your resume.

To increase your chances to be found in their system  when  to have to offer you appropriate position to you, besides  your city and state, you should consider including your  zip code so companies and recruiters can find you in their systems when new job open that might match your experience.

Here are some things you should include in your resume regarding your working experience:

  • Describe what kind of the problems you were asked to work on in great detail.

  • Explain what actions you took to resolve the problem.

  • Describe the results you achieved with the actions you took-use terms like delivering the project on time and under budget.

  • Include the metrics-explain how your achievement helped the company you work to save or make money. In some industries, you should write about the percentage difference in the whole volume you handled versus the average worker.

Too often, people only include the role and responsibilities in their resumes instead of going into detail about the results of their work. How will anyone know unless you tell them?

If you like to read more about this, click here.


8. Ask Killer Interview Questions

If you want to the best team for your company, interviewing is a key step to building one.

Knowing to distinguish right from wrong people for the position you need to fill, take advice from Barry Moltz (Getting Small Businesses Unstuck, Shafran Moltz Group) and use these  5 questions when interviewing:

"Tell me about a time when …?"

When you have in front of you a candidate who talks in generalities, you will probably wonder what he/she really did to contribute to the achievements on he/she resume. To avoid that, you should use targeted questions, so it will be nearly impossible for the candidate to fake very specific examples.

"What is your most important career accomplishment?"

This is pretty good but also very challenging question. For many people, it can be hard to narrow their great professional accomplishments down to one thing. Also, others just don't like to brag about their success.

"If you could start your career over, what would you do differently?"

This question may allow you to check how the candidate makes big decisions. Also, from the answer to this question you can find out if he/she likes the path they're currently on.

"What do you hope to learn at this company in this position?"

The answer to this question probably will reveal the reason the candidate is applying for the job and why it's important to his/her career path.

"What frustrates you the most?"

It’s a fact, it’s easy for people to do their best when things go well. The real question is how are they going to react when things inevitably get frustrating.

If you want to read about another 5 awesome interview questions and advice what to look in the candidate’s answers, click here.