We all know how daunting it can be to look for employment, the long application process, waiting for the recruiter to call and then interviewing what seems to be with everyone west of the Mississippi. This process can sometimes cause tension between candidates and their recruiters. But recruiters want to fill their positions as quickly as possible with the most qualified candidate. There are a couple of things that you can do to make sure you stand out to a recruiter.
- Make sure you attach a resume, a cover letter and complete the application in its entirety. Although your application may be complete, recruiters may need more detail in regards to your current or recent job responsibilities. You also can use your resume to add your special skills, volunteer work, accomplishments and awards. We are looking for a well-rounded candidate and this additional information may help push you ahead of a candidate that has more experience but appears to be too one-dimensional. Let me speak to nurses specifically on this topic. When you are completing your application indicate what department you worked in and, if possible, add the trauma level, how many beds and the nurse to patient ratio for that department. If you have done contract work, don’t just include the name of your contract company. List your contract work, what department you worked in and for how long. Recruiters know this can turn your resume into a long list but this information is helpful to us in finding the right fit for you.
In your cover letter, let the recruiter know that you have a genuine interest in the job as well as the company. Show them that you did your research. Double check your spelling and grammar because we refer to this letter as a tool to measure your communication skills.
Lastly, if you are asked why you left a job, please include details even if you were terminated. If you leave it blank or state “will discuss in interview” you probably are not going to have an interview.
Your email address should be generic, meaning you should have the simplest email address as possible. Don’t try and identify your likes, dislikes or hobbies through your email address. Keep your firstname.lastname@example.org for personal matters. You should have a separate email for job searches and you should check it daily. Also check your junk mail because recruiters send auto-generated emails that sometimes get lost in junk mail.
Be prepared for the recruiter’s phone screen. Know what job you have applied to and where. You would be surprised how many applicants I have had try and wing it and it is apparent that they have no idea who they are speaking to. This lack of attention to detail is a red flag for recruiters that you may not be the best candidate for the job. If applying to multiple jobs across the country, I suggest keeping a spreadsheet to keep track.
The recruiter will want to know why you want this job, why you left your past positions, what salary you are looking for and what obstacles may stand in your way from accepting an offer, if given one. Also please disclose all criminal offenses. If you do not, your job offer will most likely be rescinded once the background check is run. It is better to be upfront and honest in the beginning of the application process. Criminal offenses do not always automatically disqualify you from the job. It may depend on what kind of offense and when it occurred. If you have a theft charge in 2015 and applied for a cashier job in 2016, I am not going to consider you until more time has passed without more violations.
Things you do not need to tell your recruiter are medical issues. If you left a job due to a medical issue, leave it at that. If you have a disability, we also do not need that information. But you must be able to perform the duties of the job, so if you need clarification on job responsibilities or physical demands, we can provide that for you.
This process can be intimidating, but recruiters do not want you to be nervous. If you are nervous, let them know, and I am sure that they will try and ease the conversation.
Ask questions during your phone screen. There are certain questions that are appropriate during a phone screen. Feel free to ask how many hours a week the job requires, what is the shift, is there call, can you review benefits before an interview, what are the shift differentials, does the company have a clinical ladder and what are the next steps in the process. Questions a recruiter may not be able to answer would be clinically related questions specific to that hospital department. These questions should wait for a formal interview with the hiring manager.
Following up is ok. If you were told you would be contacted either way in a week and you have not heard from a recruiter or hiring manager, reach out to the recruiter and let them know. Your time is valuable, as is ours, and you have a right to know the status of your application. There are many reasons that may have nothing to do with you as to why you were not contacted, and the recruiter may be able to explain the delay.
Finding a job is a process that can take time. Companies feel your angst and want to make the experience a more positive one for all involved. Transparency to the process is starting to become the norm. If the first job interview does not work out, hopefully the company that you were interviewing with made it a great experience because they have one shot to make that positive impression. They know that they may have that perfect job for you in the near future and they don’t want to lose you to their competitor. Recruiters are looking for strong candidates that they can build relationships with for a long time, not just one placement.