Ask us a question you may have

Phil is happy to answer any IT recruitment questions or concerns you may have. Please contact him using the form below. Or look through the questions others have asked.

If I am approached by a recruiting agency, like yourself, for a role, what are the questions I should ask of the recruiter who has profiled me and searched me out? What do I need to be aware of with regards to this ‘headhunting’ scenario?

First point is, if you do not want to consider any opportunities, say so. My recommendation though, would be to not decline an opportunity until you at least know what it is you are declining.

If a recruiter contacts you, if they don’t at the outset explain how they reached you, you should ask. If they don’t have a plausible explanation or aren’t prepared to say, it is probably time to terminate that conversation.

Most recruiters though, will probably put that information up front.

If you don’t know the person or their organisation, you should ask for that information. This is important as you want to be able to ensure that whoever is representing you is legitimate, known, credible and trustworthy.
The next batch of information you require from such an enquiry is what the opportunity actually is. Recruiters aren’t always prepared to provide all that information up front and, if they aren’t you should explain that you need to know this so that you can ensure that there is no double representation and that the role actually suites you. What you need to know is what the role is, who it is with, what the benefits to you might be in pursuing it and what the process might be if you choose to progress. Ask for details, not general waffle.

Having (ideally) cleared all that up, you need a commitment (in writing) from the recruiter that they will not present your details anywhere without your permission. Warning: If a recruiter is reluctant to agree with this, you are probably dealing with a bottom of the market player who is likely to have a poor reputation. Recommendation in this circumstance is to terminate the conversation.

Most recruiters are ethical, honest and trustworthy but some are absolutely not. Think carefully about who you want representing you. How well do they know you (have they or will they actually take the time and trouble to meet with and interview you), do they know their client and the role well, do they have a good reputation, are they specialists in your field, etc etc

If the recruiter that contacts you doesn’t tick the boxes that are important to you, my recommendation is to politely decline and then start a conversation with a recruiter that you trust to operate in your best interests.

I hope that answers your questions, if not, feel free to contact me for further information.

Why would I want an ongoing relationship with my recruiter? And how do I manage to stay front of mind with them? Can you please advise on the best tips to engage with my recruiter.

Why ? Well, there can be significant benefits from maintaining a healthy relationship with a recruiter but they probably fall into two categories; Career Management and Market Awareness.

  • Market awareness is about knowing what is happening in the market locally and nationally. This includes what roles are in demand, what the relevant rem rates are doing and who the good and not so good employers are. What many people fail to recognise is that a lot of positions are not actually advertised, they are filled by recruiters before they reach the market – and that is achieved by recruiters knowing in advance who the A candidates are and how to reach them. So, it is wise to be one of those candidates. Options are good to have, even if you say no.
  • Career Management, this is about having an independent view/voice on how your career is progressing, what options there are for you and what you might need to do to pursue these options. The difficult aspect of this is identifying a recruiter that is willing and able to spend time with you to discuss these things and offer advice and one who is actually experienced enough in your particular field to be in a position to offer assistance. These days, so many recruiters are merely sales or process people with little or no experience in the IT industry. If/when you find a good one, invest in building that relationship, it could prove invaluable.

How ? Invest and collaborate. Build a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship with a recruiter that you trust. Make regular contact – but not too regular. Email, phone and, if/when the opportunity arises, meat over coffee (or whatever). Keep in mind that recruiters are, like you, very busy, so not always able to respond immediately. There can be a very fine line between a friendly colleague making contact and just being a pest. Also remember that good relationships are mutually beneficial so be prepared to help a recruiter that may need your assistance upon occasion.

What is your process around selecting the candidates that you put forward for job interviews?

The process for selecting candidates for specific roles breaks down into several discreet steps:

  • Ensuring we have an accurate and specific measure on what skills, experience and attributes the client requires for that particular role.
  • Screening candidate CVs and profiles for a match against the client requirements to compile a shortlist of potentially suitable candidates.
  • Phone screening candidates from the shortlist and identifying those candidates best suited for the role. 
  • I hold a face to face interview with candidates to explore their specific skills and experiences relevant to the role
  • Preparation of shortlist and CVs for presentation to client

 Obviously there are a number of steps that follow this but this is, essentially, the selection process and the critical factor is the identification of attributes as relevant to the role.

As a candidate I find interview questions seem to be there to trip me up! Can you give your insight into what are the most important things you look for and what are the most important questions you feel are appropriate to help me prepare for the interview stage?

This is a tricky one as, some interviewers will deliberately put questions in there to trip you up. In my experience, however, these are more likely to be posed by internal HR interviewers with too much time on their hands and a desire to show how clever and powerful they are. Not all HR practitioners are like this but be aware, some are. Recruiters, on the other hand don’t have the luxury of time to indulge in such things, we want to asses your skills, experience and attributes as quickly and thoroughly as possible and that usually means taking the most direct route. I favour explaining the process and questions and what I am looking for in answers and it seems to get good results.

In terms of preparation for interviews, do take a look at our blogs on these subjects, they are useful. Bottom line, preparation is the key. Think about what information they want from/about you and then what questions they might ask to get that information. Then devise answers that deliver that information. If you don’t understand a question or don’t know the answer, just say so. Do read our blogs and remember: Over prepare then go with the flow.

I having been browsing your website and am looking to engage your services to help source my IT professionals. Can you please explain a little about what you think are the MOST important steps in the recruitment and selection process and how you would work with me on this?

It sounds silly, but ALL the recruitment and selection steps are important and do poorly in any one of them increases your chances of failure to some degree.  But in answer to your question please see below my most important criteria:

  • To work with you to understand your requirements (as opposed to serving up a good sales pitch).  Being absolutely crystal clear about what skills, experience, qualifications and personality attributes you want and ensuring that is clear in the brief you provide me helps my decision making going forward and in the first instance any advertising or candidate conversations I undertake.
  • Screening incoming applications clinically against your selection criteria and drafting up interview questions that drill down on that selection criteria.
  • Interviews, be ruthless, truthful and gentle in screening out candidates that don’t measure up. Remembering, it is possible that none will measure up –  so I don’t settle for the best of a bad bunch. 
  • Conducting reference checks (be warned, there is an art to this) and any other preemployment screening checks is also very important in the process to make sure there aren’t any nasty surprises later.
  • Create an induction/training plan so that your new staff member gets the necessary introduction and can see the plan for the first two weeks (at least)

Overall to achieve your desired outcomes I think it is really important to have your process and all the component steps clearly mapped out before you start and I would work through this with you at our first meeting.  

 A vacancy review discussion is free and holds no obligation to engage in our services, contact us to discuss in confidence your IT recruitment needs. 

I advertise a job and can typically get about 150 responses, this can take an age to screen. How can I get through these easier and more quickly?

Well, the easiest way, is to spend this time on your core business and leave this activity to organisations tooled and resourced to deal with them. However, that aside, I’d suggest that step one is to ensure your requirements in your advertisement are very, very specific and include a clause that indicates that only candidates that match these requirements should apply. Then, develop a process for matching candidates against those specific requirements, being careful not to “throw the baby out with the bath water”. Please call us if you need anything further, we are happy to give you a free and confidential consultation to determine what is best for your business needs.

Why do recruitment agent do this? They put on a vacancy on seek and when you apply few days later they say that you application was unsuccessful and they have found someone for the role .. 2 or 3 days later the same recruitment agent puts the same job on seek again .. Why are they doing this and is it OK to apply again for that role or just give up with this recruitment agency?

This is a delicate one.. Generally, if an agent has responded to you in this way it means that they have elected not to progress your application on the basis that there is something in the client requirements (typically, skill, experience or qualifications) that is not matched with your applications. I know it’s hard but don’t take this personally, it is just that, for whatever reason, you are not suited for this job.

So, when the recruiter advertises the same role again, don’t re-apply. Doing so only generates work and stress for yourself and the recruiter and distracts you from the more important task at hand; Finding the right role. So saying, there is nothing wrong with contacting the recruiter and acknowledging you were unsuccessful and requesting feedback as to why and their advice on what roles you might be best suited for and what you can do to improve your chances.

My recommendation is to not give up on the recruiter, rather engage them for help and advice. Contrary to popular opinion, there are good ones out there who will take the time to help you.

Consider too, the view from the recruiters desk in terms of how many CVs, emails and phone call requests they get – it is an almost impossible task to keep all the people happy all the time, but they do try.

I hope this helps, feel free to contact us for further assistance.

I have been rejected in my job search so many times due to my ‘lack of experience’ how is it that I can break into a market with my limited CV details? I can demonstrate a strong work ethic, loyalty and dedication to a team for which these have always been paramount to me and I have a valid work visa for NZ, I just lack experience! Please advise.

This is a really tough situation and there a few things I suggest you do:

  1. Be resilient resourceful and tenacious.  Keep trying but do not carry the rejections you get – learn what you can from them, set them aside and move on to your next opportunity. If you carry them they will affect your confidence which will, in turn, affect how well you come across. 
  2. Be careful about which jobs you apply for and this means only applying for jobs which you are a match for. That’s not what you think you are a match for, but how you match up to the requirements laid out in the advertisement.  When you do apply for a role very carefully identify what exactly they are looking for and structure your CV and Cover Letter to match those requirements.  Remember, you have only about 27 seconds from the time they open your email or CV & Letter, to make a connection between what they are looking for and what you have. You MUST make it easy for them to see that connection. Take a look at our blogs on CV and interview preparation, these should help.
  3. Seek feedback on your application.  Take the opportunity to ask for honest insights into how you were received through the selection process. You are entitled to ask for comprehensive and frank information on why you were not successful.
  4. Find yourself a recruitment consultant that you trust, that believes in you and is prepared to advocate for you.  This might be the most difficult of the three suggestions to carry out. Unfortunately and embarrassingly!  But a good agent will seek out opportunities on your behalf and also give you advice on what you need to do to improve your chances.

I hope this helps.