August 23, 2006
Psst! Recruiter Code Words
If you’ve ever been on a job hunt, it’s likely you’ve worked with a recruiter in some way. Ever wonder what’s being said about you when you’re not in the room? This CareerJournal article offers some popular code words search executives (as the Journal dubs them) often used to describe candidates:
- TMI: In a word, blabbing. “Short for ‘too much information,’ this term refers to candidates who give long-winded answers,” the article explains.
- FD: If you fibbed about your educational or professional background on your resume, you might get it flagged as containing an FD (“factual discrepancy”).
- Search Virgin: Recruiters aren’t there to just serve you. They often get paid by companies to fill roles. Not being privy to the nuances of the recruiting business might cause you to get frustrated with a recruiter, which might cause you to lose out on valuable opportunities. Be patient and diplomatic in your search. Your recruiter isn’t your waiter.
- Noncom: “An executive vice president at staffing firm HireAbility.com LLC, Mr. Silverman says he'll note ‘noncom’ or ‘NC’ at the top of a resume during an interview” if the candidate lacks strong communication skills, the article notes. "Look the person in the eye, speak in complete thoughts or sentences, and be confident in what you're saying," Silverman says.
- PP: Poor presentation (‘nuff said). By now, you should know that the receptionist might actually know your hiring manager (shocker). Treat everyone with respect, dress for success, and always handle yourself professionally.
- ↓ Sizzle: You might get this thumbs-down reception if you lack energy or aren’t engaged. Go get a cup of coffee if necessary. Disengagement = disinterest.
- Serial Networker: While it’s wise not to place all of your eggs in one basket, if you don’t narrow your search to a small group of recruiters or job types, it might seem like you’re more on a resume spamming rampage than a job search.
- Mortician: If you look like you’re dead when you walk in the room, you’re probably not going to get hired (see ↓ Sizzle, too). Are you walking in with your father’s circa-1970 suit? Invest in a new one -- or at least dust it off.
- WD: The abbreviation for "walking description” – or a perfect fit for the job.
- Purple Squirrel: People need to pinch themselves when they’re around you to find out if you really exist if you’re a purple squirrel. A purple squirrel is "the dream candidate that doesn't really exist, or if they do, they're very elusive," the article says.
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Hate it when the only info that recruits send out as references are the bad things not the good. When a candidate only gets "We will put you on the available list each and every week." You wonder why these people always sound down. Remember these people are the ones who can send you a candidate that you have been dieing for. So treat the one you flatly refuse to send out on assignment as well as you send your top candidates. You never know what might happen if you do.
Posted by: elizabeth mclean burt | Sep 18, 2006 8:02:35 PM
The "Purple Squirrel" makes me laugh. I've worked hard to become the very best at what I do. I carry confidence with me like a second skin because of that. I am consistently amazed however when I go for an interview and am turned down because I seem "too good to be true." The worst of it is that anyone who checks my references and previous employers will find out I'm not making anything up or exaggerating. My last boss literally had tears in her eyes when I left. Are there any people out there who are looking for an ideal candidate AND willing to accept their good fortune when one shows up, or have they all decided that they must settle for second rate employees?
Posted by: El | Sep 22, 2006 8:55:34 AM
I have a question instead of a comment and maybe someone can clarify this for me:
Why do potential employers at the end of the interview swear to you or say to you "I will call you back with a decision either way "yes or "no" and never do? I have had this problem a lot in the past as well as recently not understanding if the answer is "no" then, why can't an employer give a candidate a common courtesy call to let him/her know instead of left hanging wondering?
This bugs the living daylights out of me. I am not the kind of person who'll throw a hissy fit if the answer is "no" they went with someone else. Would be nice to know.
Posted by: Tricia | Sep 22, 2006 10:38:03 AM
Companies often have very strict policies on their employees being references for other or former employees, such as limiting the information to confirming dates of employment, their job title, and wages. That said, managers have their own code words that they use when called up to be references or to provide employment verification (esp with HR staff). They might use seemingly neutral terms like "employment challenge" or "management challenge" that doesn't directly say that the employee is a tough or difficult one to manage, but it's understood that that's what they meant. What management-HR code words are you familiar with, and how abundant is the practice to circumvent restrictive policies? If your manager wants to bad-mouth you, he or she will find a way without using negative terminology.
Posted by: Kiki Lavier | Sep 22, 2006 1:35:58 PM
In response to El, re: The Purple Squirrel...
I think, sadly, that many employers who encounter the Purple Squirrel, like yourself, are hesitant to hire you because they fear you will become dissatisfied and want to move on to a bigger, better challenge. Many times employers are simply looking for someone who will be content in an entry level position for many years without the desire for advancement. I feel your pain, El. I feel your pain!
Posted by: Lara | Sep 22, 2006 2:18:13 PM
Just like Elizabeth Mclean Burt, I, too, am an excellent employee, but have not had any recent luck in locating permanent work. Although my clerical skills are above average, and I get incredibly fantastic feedback on my temporary assignments, permanent employment seems to be out of reach. What do you have to do to prove yourself these days?
Frustrated in Michigan
Posted by: Myrna Mayers | Sep 22, 2006 3:24:45 PM
If the recruiter really likes you does that mean your going to get it? The job I mean.
Posted by: Raffaella | Sep 22, 2006 10:41:55 PM
I only want to say, that I have never gotten a job with a headhunter. My advice is network with the insiders!
Posted by: miriam | Sep 24, 2006 7:54:28 PM
The communication of these code words is not very beneficial as I doubt that many candidates know that they have been described in this manner. Recently in working with a recruiter she sent me a list of tips to use in preparation for a telephone interview(many of the tips were directed for a face to face interview). After the interview was over I did a critique of it and while I thought I had done okay I knew that I had not done the best that I could do. I am now poised for a face to face interview as a result of the telephone interview so what she did,I feel was beneficial to me in getting to the next step. Reviewing key issues and interview "no nos" is always beneficial and helps to prevent being described in the code terms above. candidates should try to refresh themselves and to get as prepared as possible. However,remember that the world is full of imperfect people holding the futures of others in their hands. Keep searching and the job will come.
Posted by: E. Pope | Sep 24, 2006 9:48:49 PM
I haven't had much luck with recruiters. I seem to be lucky enough to end up with recruiters who will gush over my resume, and then never call me back. Or, they contact me with totally inappropriate job openings which indicates that they never bothered to read my resume close enough.
Posted by: L. Lee | Sep 28, 2006 10:23:11 AM
Recruiters Vs. Headhunters = Purple Squirrel?
I feel everyone's pain!!!
Recruiters usually work off of who has posted their resume and do a mass send out (not even contacting the candidate) without even knowing who you are. Usually they have you compete with others and are too nice at the end of an interview.
Headhunters are different. They will specifically go out and source out for specialized talent/skill sets...the "Purple Squirrel".....and don't play the number game. 95% of us are independent. So that means no placement no eat....no job fills....no paying bills. We have no room for error. Good headhunters don't give false hope they give constructive criticism. As long as there is no B.S. by the candidate....I've (we have) challenges too with candidates (lets be fair).
I do look for "PURPLE SQUIRRELS".....but not the ones who ask me to do their resume, who falsely doctor up their resume, or who don't have a good career path. Personally, I knock candidates as well as Clients right between the eyes and tend to get respect for it. I don't have the best candidates, I don't have the best opportunity.....I have a "FAIR CANDIDATE ON THE MARKET"...I have a "FAIR CLIENT OFFERING A FAIR SALARY". I have been in this business for over 4 years and have never had to replace a candidate....and take pride in that.
My suggestion is to interview your headhunter and stay away from recruiters unless your TOO desperate for a job and don't mind if your resume is being tossed out like the morning paper through out your neighborhood.
In summary: Headhunters "should" tell you the truth to help, aid and assist. I do....can you tell....lol
P.S. Recruiters are everywhere......Headhunters fly under the radar.....we move a little slower but more successful with purple squirrels.....
Thanks for your interest,
Posted by: duuude | Oct 3, 2007 10:25:36 PM
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