As a recruiter, I am often asked which job candidates do I submit to my clients?
The simplest answer is: THE BEST CANDIDATES!
Criteria for Choosing Those “Best” Candidates
Of course, the next question is “HOW do you determine who is the best?”
Like in the engineering world, the best candidates have ideal FORM, FIT, and FUNCTION.
The Best Candidate “FORM“
The FORM elements are the employer’s absolute minimum requirements. These are typically YES or NO answers — nothing in between.
The candidate should already possess these attributes. They may include minimum years of experience, certifications, or specific industry knowledge.
Some of the employer’s requirements may not seem tied to the job, but are set in stone regardless (for example, graduated from a certain school/program or military experience).
For some jobs, “form” can include the candidate’s physical attributes. Some candidates must be able to lift 50 lbs or be able to climb ladders.
Requirements can also include ability to do third-shift, fluency in a foreign language, or skill with specific job-related tools (which may be ability with a specific type or brand of software, a specific carpentry tool, or other fundamental skill for the job).
With “Form,” you’ve either got it or you don’t. It is easy to determine a match in this area.
The Best Candidate “FIT”
Part of the selection process is trying to determine if a candidate will FIT nicely in the working environment and meet “unwritten expectations” of the job.
Some employers operate with strict policies that need to be followed exactly by all employees. In other organizations, making a decision requires several meetings and a group consensus. For candidates who prefer creativity or quick decisions-making, neither of those work environments would be a good fit.
Some roles come with the expectation that the employee will work independently, mainly alone (or on the road) and not leverage a team for decision-making or idea generation. Some roles require an experienced team player or even team leadership.
Other expectations may include:
- Able to increase responsibility or complexity of assignment over time.
- Willingness to learn new things and take on new challenges.
- Have a true passion for what they do best
With FIT, past experiences are indicators of a good match, but usually a follow-up discussion is required to understand the circumstances, preferences, and adaptability.
The Best Candidate “FUNCTION”
The FUNCTION requirements center around the candidate’s ability to perform functions required for the job. Usually, almost all of these requirements must be met.
Expertise is often needed in specific tool sets (anywhere from copy writing to programming languages to financial analysis). The LEVEL of expertise is the gray area. A recruiter must determine if there is enough expertise to perform adequately in the job.
Function can also include “soft skills” like decision-making, problem-solving, and written/oral presentation skills. Additionally, there are expectations of competency with specialized and generic computer applications. An important skill set for some jobs is working with Social Media.
Similar to the “Fit” category, the “Function” qualifications are measured on a graduated scale. The more ability (depth and breadth) you have, the better your chances of being selected.
Evaluating Your Form, Fit, and Function
Candidates should only apply to jobs where they meet most of the requirements.
The recruiter will figure out if the missing qualifications are in critical areas. Good recruiters will determine if candidates truly meet the client’s needs by leveraging all information available including resume, references, social media, technical, and behavioral interviews.
Your Role as a Job Seeker
To make sure a recruiter knows you are the ideal candidate for the job, make sure you cover all the aspects of Form, Fit, and Function in the information you provide.
At a minimum, keep in mind:
- The best candidates have a close match between experiences/skills listed on resume and the job descriptions. This may require revising a resume for a particular job to focus on the right content.
- An accompanying email can include three bullet points on how you meet criteria of the job and “Fit” related preferences.
Reasons resumes get rejected early in the process include spelling errors, weak summary statements, poor career progression, and unrelated experience.
The Bottom Line
If all criteria discussed above are not met, a candidate is not likely to be presented for the job. Remember, good recruiters want to present only the best candidates for many reasons: their reputation is on the line, rework is time-consuming and expensive, and happy candidates and clients lead to more happy candidates and clients.
More About Working with Recruiters:
- Smart Answers to Interview Questions
- How Your Social Media Reputation Impacts Hiring Decisions
- How to Be Found by Recruiters on LinkedIn
- How to Add Recruiters to Your LinkedIn Network
- 3 Steps to Interview Success: Build Your Interview Checklist
About the author…
Job-Hunt’s Working with Recruiters Expert Jeff Lipschultz is a 20+ year veteran in management, hiring, and recruiting of all types of business and technical professionals. He has worked in industries ranging from telecom to transportation to dotcom. Jeff is a founding partner of A-List Solutions, a Dallas-based recruiting and employment consulting company. Learn more about him through his company site alistsolutions.com. Follow Jeff on LinkedIn and on Twitter (@JLipschultz).
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