Avoiding Red Flags in IT Recruitment

 In IT Recruiting, Job Seekers

Nick Walter, Recruitment Lead | LinkedIn | Twitter

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IT Recruitment Red Flags

There are a lot concerns that can arise during the IT recruitment life cycle that affect the likelihood of a placement. Here are some of mine:

Issues with the Resume

It is always a concern when there are gaps on your resume. If you worked from August 2011 until February 2012, but didn’t start your next job until September 2012 that immediately raises a red flag. What have you been doing for the past 7 months? Sometimes there are legitimate reasons, but regardless of what they are, clients want to hire people who have recent experience in the position they are looking for. The more gaps that show up, the less likely you are to get an interview.

If you have a position on your resume listed as a “freelancer” it can be a problem, especially if it was for a long duration. If you have been working as a freelance .Net Developer for the last 4 years, a lot of the time this means that you haven’t held a full-time position or full-time contract anywhere. There is no way to tell whether you were consistently working for those 4 years, or if you were doing the odd 2 month contract for 20 hours a week, separated by 4 months of unemployment each time. If you are going to put “freelancer” on your resume, make sure to clearly indicate when and where you were working during that time.

Another major red flag is if you don’t stay at your jobs for long, especially if they are full-time. If you have held 5 different permanent positions in the past 5 years, I’m going to wonder what’s up. Are you moving around for more money? Have you been let go from each of your jobs? Even if you are a contractor, if each of your contracts has only lasted 3 months, I might question whether any of them have ever been extended.

Your experience with technologies doesn’t line up. If your resume says that you have 3 years of experience with Sharepoint 2013, right away it is going to be unclear whether or not you are being truthful, because Sharepoint 2013 hasn’t been out for that long.

Red Flags during the Phone Screen/Recruiter Interview

If you are asked you how seriously you are looking for your next position on a scale of 1-10 and you say 2/10 this is a concern. In this scenario, if we were to send your resume to the client, get you an interview, and then an offer, it would only frustrate the client for wasting their time if you ended up turning down the opportunity. It is our job to determine how seriously you are looking in the first place so that this situation doesn’t occur.

If your salary expectations don’t line up with what you are currently making , it most likely means that the main reason you are looking for a job is for a raise. This is not ideal. Also, if you won’t tell me what you are making or what you made most recently, I am going to want to know why. Again, this probably means that you are looking for significantly more that you have received in the past.

If you get really defensive when I ask you certain questions it raises a red flag. For example if I ask you what your previous boss would say about you and you get defensive, it’s going to make me think that you might not be the best candidate.

If I call you up to talk about a potential job opportunity and you are interested, the next step is to meet you face-to-face. Our clients always like us to meet with candidates before they interview them. Typically I will try to meet with you near your office or home so that you don’t have to go out of your way. If you won’t meet me for coffee even when I offer to meet you somewhere convenient it makes me wonder how serious you are about the opportunity.

Please don’t show up late for an interview! A lot of employers would immediately disqualify you. If you’re late meeting with me, I might not want to risk sending you to a client interview in case you show up late to that as well.

Don’t say bad things about past employers. Even if you weren’t happy with your previous boss or company, it is never a good idea to bash them.

The Offer Stage

One of the biggest red flags for me throughout the entire IT recruitment process in when a candidate disappears during the offer stage. Initially, I might present you with an offer that you sound really interested in, however over the next couple of days I realize that you are avoiding my calls and emails. The odds are you either have another offer or you are trying to hold out for one. You might try to deny it, saying you meant to get back to me, but I know what’s really going on.

Typically at the offer stage, clients like to make a verbal offer before putting together the paperwork. If I call you and ask if you would accept an offer at 90k and you say yes, that’s great! However, if I then ask you if I can verbally accept that offer on your behalf and you hesitate, I am going to want to know why. Also, if I ask you if you would accept an offer at the 90k we initially submitted you at and you tell me that you have decided that you now want 100k, that comes across as extremely unprofessional.

Another concern at the offer stage is during the references. If you can’t give me any references from the past 3-5 years I am going to ask you why you couldn’t use any recent employers. Also, if the references you give me are all friends rather than people you reported to that just won’t cut it. Then there is the scenario where I am given a reference and when I call them they don’t even remember ever knowing the candidate. Please try to give references that you have worked with and reported to recently!

Overall, it’s best to be honest throughout the entire process. That way you won’t burn any bridges. Sometimes interviews and offers just don’t work out, but it is always great to work with candidates who are upfront about everything, so that we can be confident working together in the future.

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