Here's How Recruiters Really Fill Jobs

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Recruiters hold the key to your next job. Do you understand what's really important to these company gatekeepers?

It's impossible to job hunt today without running into recruiters. Charged with sourcing and vetting new talent, recruiters feel the pressure to fill job openings with the most qualified candidates. But what you probably don't know is how hard recruiters work to get the job done. Cut them some slack, and learn what they do to find candidates to fill jobs.Jobvite, a provider of talent acquisition solutions, just released their 2015 Recruiter Nation study. The answers from 1,404 recruiting and human resources professionals across different industries reveal how recruiters source talent and what trends and challenges they face. Here are a few highlights:

The top source for finding a quality new hire is...

Seventy-eight percent of recruiters reported finding the best candidates through referrals, which is up from 60 percent last year. Companies rely on employee referrals and offer incentives to fill open positions. Recruiters use diverse methods to acquire new employees, such as social networks (56 percent), intern hires (55 percent), direct applications (46 percent), outside recruiters (38 percent), internet job boards (37 percent) and their own mobile career site (19 percent).

Use this data to reprioritize where you invest your time hunting for a job. Reach out to people who work inside companies you would like to work for, and ask about opportunities. Don't hesitate to jump into social networking sites and enter into conversations with people who work at companies you are interested in. Finally, decrease the amount of time you spend trolling job boards, as they are a lower priority for recruiters.

Don't dismiss your social media activities.

You may not think your posts on Facebook or Twitter are no big deal. You're wrong. You expect LinkedIn to represent your professional qualifications, but recruiters are also turning to other social networks to learn more about you. Fifty-five percent of recruiters look at Facebook profiles and updates, and 47 percent are checking out Twitter accounts. Thirteen percent of recruiters even look at what you're doing on Instagram, so beware. No matter what social network you use, be sure you post material that is suitable for all audiences.

There are four reasons recruiters can't fill open jobs.

These obstacles top the list of reasons recruiters say they have difficulty filling positions:
  • Almost 60 percent of recruiters say they can't find qualified candidates.
  • Recruiters also report that increasing competition makes it more difficult to attract candidates.
  • Budget restraints limit the ability to staff up and launch company branding initiatives.
  • Sometimes, the company's location is an issue as well.
What can you do to help make it easier for recruiters to fill openings? Most importantly, review the job posting, and make sure you've truthfully revised your résumé to include the required skills. Next, follow instructions on where and how to apply. And finally, politely and respectfully follow up and stay in touch with recruiters.

Recruiters use more than interviews to evaluate candidates.

Ninety-six percent of recruiters rely on interviews, but you can expect the interview process to look a little different as recruiters dig deeper. According to the Jobvite study, some recruiters are using personality tests, sample assignments and video interviews to improve how they evaluate candidates. Don't balk the next time you are asked to provide more information during the screening process. It may seem like a lot of work, but ultimately, the outcome should be a better long-term fit for you and the company.

There are six things recruiters say really matter.

Beyond what you put on your résumé and say in the interview, recruiters report there are other ways candidates leave a positive and lasting impression. Recruiters say enthusiasm, industry knowledge, conversation skills, punctuality, appearance and a good handshake and greeting are important in getting to the next level.

Do more than prepare smart answers for your upcoming interview. Be sure you pay attention to your interpersonal skills. Dress for the job you are interviewing for, and show up 10 minutes early.

There are two things recruiters say don't really matter.

If you obsess over writing the perfect cover letter, save yourself the agony. In Jobvite's study, 63 percent of recruiters ranked cover letters as very low to not important. And if you were not top of your class, here's more good news: More than half the recruiters ranked GPA as not important.

Use your time to focus your résumé. Provide proof you have the right skills for the job and relevant experience. If you don't have these, you are probably going to need to re-evaluate the job you are applying to.

Ninety-five percent of recruiters anticipate the hunt for talent to remain or get more competitive in the next 12 months.

This is the takeaway statistic from the study. Be on the lookout for new ways to get on a recruiter's radar. Look for talent communities where you can proactively engage with company insiders. And most importantly, realize that recruiters juggle many balls and are doing the best they can with the tools and resources they know how to use.

Hannah Morgan writes and speaks on career topics and job search trends on her blog Career Sherpa. She is the author of "The Infographic Résumé" and co-author of "Social Networking for Business Success."
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