Monday, January 18, 2010

How Can I Present Applications More Effectively?

I'm really good at identifying the measurable components needed to do a job, such as accomplishments, background, and skills. In fact, I'd even be willing to say I'm really damn good at it (self horn tooting accomplished). To identify a viable job seeker for a position I am recruiting for, not only do I focus on what a hiring manager is looking for, I identify what has made similar people successful in other companies, I talk to the people building the product currently, and I research continuously anything I can think relevant to the job. Right now I'm really, really good at figuring is qualified "on paper" for just about any technical position for a software company.

But lately I've been feeling like when I submit an application, the written description feels a bit mechanical. I didn't notice this when I worked for smaller clients because I'd just send an email and yell across a room "Hey you, talk to this person. They're pretty cool!" Now, as I work internally with larger organizations, I find everyone is more isolated and disconnected (because they are). Larger organizations, there is more red tape and things move at a more glacial pace (relative to smaller companies). Hiring managers spend a lot of time in meetings, more people in the company are there just for a paycheck, and there's just less passion overall about the mission. I don't think these are necessarily bad things, they are just the reality of a company where not everyone can be best friends with the charismatic CEO, information doesn't flow as freely, and there's overhead required to do anything.

    An example of a note I might attach when submitting someone's application for review:

    Summary of this person applying for this job:
    * This person has spent a lot of time doing X.
    * Has a college degree in Y, and is now pursuing Y as a career.
    * Has worked for Z, which indicates they passed Z's stringent recruiting process.
    * I really liked this person's energy and enthusiasm for this job.

The above feels very factual and sort of bland. In the past I've done a lot of my selling over the phone or in person, but with certain clients I am increasingly forced to communicate via email. So, while it'd be easy to say that hiring managers should spend more time speaking with me, and they probably should :), that doesn't mean I can't make my presentations more effective. What can I do to make my written communication seem more vibrant and full of life? I suspect it starts with knowing how to measure a person's fit for the organization and the culture of a company, but I'm only starting to scratch the surface on how to do this as a recruiter.

I don't have a great answer for my predicament, but I am now paying attention and looking for answers. To be continued...

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