A recent stat demonstrates why a “reality check” from your recruiter can be helpful

In this post, I talked about how working with a recruiter can be helpful in giving you a “reality check” about your skills and experience and their value in the marketplace.

In our work as recruiters, we experience this both ways: sometimes candidates undervalue themselves, and sometimes they overvalue themselves. If we had to say which happens more, we’d lean toward the latter: candidates tend to overvalue themselves more than they undervalue themselves.

This article on AOL Jobs backs up our experience. A key quote:

Some 72 percent of job seekers are confident they know how to present their skills and experience to an interviewer and more than half of job seekers (56 percent) are confident they know what employers are looking for in candidates today. Yet, only 15 percent of hiring managers say nearly all or most job seekers have the skills and traits their companies are looking for in candidates.

The study dealt with all job seekers, and not just executives, which are our specialty. I’m certain a higher percentage of executive-level job seekers have the skills and behaviors companies want. After all, it was those skills and behaviors that helped them become executives in the first place. But we do still see more than a few mismatches between how candidates view themselves and how they are viewed by hiring managers.

How does this happen?

  • We’re human–so we tend to see ourselves in a positive light and ignore our own weaknesses. A recruiter can tactfully point out what’s missing.
  • Job seekers tend to assume too much, instead of investigating what the employer wants. A recruiter can help find the best match between what a candidate has to offer and what an employer wants.
  • On the other hand, employers often have an ideal profile in mind, instead of determining and prioritizing the most necessary skills. In other words, they often want an Acura when a Honda would do. A recruiter can help the employer drill down to what is needed and help find that.
  • Job seekers often hope they can convince an employer of their ability to do the job, instead of demonstrating how past experiences and accomplishments would lend to their ability to succeed. A recruiter can help a candidate fill out this narrative.

As recruiters, we strive to be empathetic when we look at your resume and all your skills, accomplishments, traits, and behaviors. We are rooting for you and take a positive stance. At the same time, our work every day gives us very clear ideas of what companies are ready and willing to pay for various skills and behaviors. We pass this knowledge onto you.

That said, even when we have some disappointing news to deliver, we find that our “reality checks” are on the whole positive experiences for our candidates. Usually it comes down to fine-tuning expectations and thinking about how to leverage all you have to offer for the maximum benefit of you and our client companies. In every case, we are aiming for a “win-win.”

The Key Corporate Services Blog Team
Handy guide to our blog post series