How a College Grad Can Get Recruited

An expert shares his tips on getting your name in front of a recruiter.

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While college grads scrounge around for advice on how to get recruited, the recruiters themselves turn to Jim Stroud for advice on how to recruit. Stroud writes The Recruiters Lounge blog, where he shares his insight into the evolving job market, new technology, and recruiting news.

Stroud has consulted with some of the country's most favored employers, such as Google and Microsoft. He agreed to share the inside scoop on the recruiting process and details on how you can actually get yourself in front of a recruiter. Excerpts from an interview with U.S. News:

How important is a college major? Does it have to be relevant to the job?


I don't think so. I know several successful professionals and entrepreneurs who operate outside of what they studied in college. The best benefit of any major is mastering the patience, dedication, and organization it takes to achieve a long-term goal. These traits are transferable across every discipline. What's the most important thing students can do while they're in college?


The most important thing is to create and maintain a reputable online identity. Savvy recruiters know how to leverage the Internet to find active and passive job seekers. If students are not promoting themselves online, they are missing out on unadvertised opportunities. For example: Any job posting on Monster could yield several hundred résumés—and even more phone calls and E-mails—from unqualified candidates who hope their résumé will stand out from the crowd. In many instances, a recruiter will glance at a small percentage of résumés received and choose from the first few that catch their attention. From there, it's all gut instinct and interview performance.

However, if a recruiter can perform a search on Google and discover an online résumé, an appealing social network profile, or a well-crafted blog post that proves expertise in a specific area, all the better. The recruiter can save a lot of time dealing with the qualified few, rather than wading through an avalanche of ineligible applicants.

What's your advice to college students who have posted many of their good times online?


The proliferation of information on the Internet is making privacy a fleeting hope. It would be to a student's advantage to have two online identities. Under their real name, they should post their online résumé, write articles, and blog posts about their professional passion. Conversely, they should create an alias to hide behind when dancing on tabletops in Aruba.

What don't people understand about the recruiting process?


That it is a selling process. The candidate has to sell the recruiter on the idea that they are someone who can do the job. In turn, the recruiter has to sell that idea to a hiring manager. All things being wonderful, the candidate builds on the recommendation from the recruiter to sell himself to the hiring manager. At every step of this sales process, each person needs to establish a relationship with the customer (i.e., the recruiter), convert an interest into a desire, overcome objections as to why they should hire someone else, and then close the deal. Every job seeker should have an understanding of these basic sales steps.

What are some of the things that make a candidate stand out?


After so many referrals, résumés, and interviews, it's going to come down to know-how and cultural fit. More often than not, there will be several candidates for any given role that can perform the job adequately. When I see a candidate swapping jokes with a hiring manager or sharing a common viewpoint with an existing employee, then I see the light at the end of the tunnel. Fundamentally, people want to work with qualified people that they can identify with in some way. If the interviewee and the hiring manager are already acting like they are working together, chances are that it's a done deal. These are the candidates that are the strongest to me—those that can build a rapport. Unfortunately, none of this can be discerned until well into the recruitment process.