3 Actions to Avoid When Working With Job Recruiters

Job seeking, whether at a higher career-progression level or the more common job hunt, is an old (and often tedious) hat for most of us. What used to entail sitting in appointment waiting rooms, going door-to-door from one business to the next, hand-delivering resumes and perusing the “Hiring” sections of local newspapers has evolved into scouring craigslist, Linkedin, Simplyhired, Monster and a half-dozen other mass-mill job-hunting websites. Face-to-face networking is still a powerful tool, but success typically calls for already knowing how to go about the process of attending local business networking meetings and presenting yourself both professionally and approachably.

Recruiting actions to avoid - professional woman in meeting

There is, however, another route one can pursue in addition to your own personal efforts. That is, of course, where job recruiters and agencies come into play. And there are several things that you should be aware of before considering working with them, many of which fall into either a pro side or a con side, although we will say right off there is an odd flow between the two. In other words, one can sometimes lead to the other.

General Overview

Recruiting companies have one goal: to find and fill positions for their client. Their primary client, however, is in most all cases not you (the job seeker) but the companies seeking talent to fill positions in their employee chain. The flip-side of this – the one that you can utilize to your advantage – is the fact that recruiters deal with the companies (specifically the hiring departmental personnel) which you most want to be noticed by. This is the key point to remember in dealing with recruiters and why they are worth engaging in the first place: They possess the connections and relationships vital to getting noticed. It is with this fact firmly in mind that we go into the following section of Do’s, Don’ts, and contextual Maybe’s.

Forest for the Leaves

As with the cultivation of any relationship, especially a professional one, there are certain fundamental ground rules that, if crossed, can sour what may have been rewarding soil. Some of these are essentially boiled down to very common sense ways of interacting decently with other human beings, while others are highly specific to evolving business cultures, which can vary widely between industries and individual companies. Nonetheless, we can deliver some general, yet solid actions of which to steer clear when dealing with job recruiters:

  1. Being Indirect. Don’t play games. This seems fairly simple, but too often in the business world people play odd, subversive games. For instance, using the agency to get in touch with a company that has caught your interest, and then going around your recruiter to apply directly.
  2. Being Dishonest.  If you’re not willing to consider a position below a certain income threshold, don’t tell your recruiter that you’re open to lower-paying positions. This just wastes time on both sides, as well as making your recruiter look bad with their contacts, potentially damaging their relationships with companies. If you’re not willing to relocate, don’t say that you’re open to position beyond a reasonable commute.
  3. Being Unprofessional. Again, one that may seem beyond obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people will dissemble, get overly personal, be rude or aggressive with and even outright lie to the very person they’re engaging to find them a job.

Recruiting actions to avoid - businessman at desk

Again, simple and concise: Be upfront and professional every bit as much in your job hunt as you would be on-the-job and advancing your career. Remember, you’re dealing with a professional who is as serious about their career as you are; treat the relationship accordingly.

Further Reading:  Behind the Scenes of Corporate Recruiting

Fred Coon, CEO

Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with LinkedInSecrets.us. Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

The Best Ways to Save Time During Your Job Search

Fitting a successfully effective job search into an already busy schedule can be a challenging, if not arduous, task. Luckily, there are a few pointers that can help streamline and reduce extra time spent on details while job hunting.

According to career coach, Alyson Garrido, identifying a few key factors can assist you in targeting your efforts in the right direction, helping you quickly land a quality job.

Using smart watch

Recognize your top strengths.  If you’re able to identify your strongest suits in the workplace, you will be more likely to recognize which opportunities are most congruous to your skills and needs.  Be sure to highlight these strengths, not only on your resume, but as talking points during interviews.  Garrido adds, “Consider making a list of the things you do that give you energy or record the details of your proudest accomplishments to start to see what strengths appear.”

Know what work environment suits you best.  “Company culture” has become a common buzz term, which in this case, holds a considerable amount of clout. Reflect upon your own personality-type: Are you partial to open work areas, a socially active employee staff, or would you find these aspects distracting? There is no right or wrong answer to these questions; however, identifying where you fall within the mix can help you quickly realize if a particular work environment is going to work for you. It’s a good idea to get a feel for the dynamics of the organization before you start the job by researching a company’s website and LinkedIn page, and even asking appropriate questions during your job interview.

Decide which companies to target first.  Garrido suggests creating “a list of companies for whom you’d like to work and set out to get noticed [as this] is part of a proactive job search”.  Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you. If there are specific companies in your area that interest you and hold a good reputation, take the first step by contacting the right individuals in these organizations. This will increase the odds of being at the top of their list when a position does become available.

Don’t hesitate to seek help.  Never underestimate the power of your network; in fact, it’s likely that you possess more meaningful contacts than you may think. Start by making a list of people who would be glad to assist you with your job search.  However, Garrido states, “Remember to think beyond coworkers and former colleagues. You are more than your job title, so explore all areas of your life while making this list”. It’s recommended to begin by contacting those individuals to whom you can reach out most easily, and let them know what type of position you are seeking. Keep in mind, that besides actual job opportunities, introductions to other contacts within your industry are valuable as well. This is a simple way to utilize and expand upon your existing network, while directing you closer to your next professional role.

Seek personal balance. Garrido reminds job seekers, “When searching for a job, it is important to present the best version of yourself. That means focusing on things that keep you happy and healthy, not just on search related activities”. Be sure to isolate time for friends, family, brief getaways, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Creating a little space between you and your job search may help you return to it with a fresh, more productive, outlook. Moreover, a bright, positive outlook on life always shows through nicely on interviews.

Identify your “non-negotiables”.  Everyone has certain job-related factors on which they are not willing to bargain. Perhaps it is a specific salary, commute length, or a particular job detail. If this is the case, create a list and stick to it. This will allow you to direct your efforts toward opportunities that fit your criteria, preventing you from wasting time pursuing roles that are a poor fit for your needs.

Rethink your notion of a successful job search.  Remember that job hunting is an activity that surpasses simply sending out resumes, completing applications, and going on interviews. Keep in mind that the connections you’ve made, events you’ve attended, and the confidence you’ve gained doing so, are all part of the plan. Maintaining a positive view of the progress you’ve made will keep you on track toward finding and obtaining your next target role.

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To Conclude

Guidelines such as these can help job seekers stay focused on their goals by reducing the distractions associated with uncertainty and a disordered strategy. We all know that time is of the essence during any job search, so be sure to construct a “clear criteria” of which jobs are the best fit for your personal and professional needs.

Fred Coon, CEO


Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200


3 Key Elements to a Successful Executive Job Search

SC&C Always Look for WorkWhen it comes to your executive job search success, there are multiple areas of importance to focus on. By learning and employing these various strategies for success, you will maintain a much more organized, goal-attaining job search campaign.

In the following article, I go over all 3 methods for success in your executive job search. Through the proper utilization of these 3 techniques, which includes Resume Development, Interview Preparation, Networking & Communications, you will more likely conquer your goals and possibly land the job of your dreams!

3 Keys for a Job Search


First and foremost, you need a stellar resume! It is crucial to have a professionally powerful resume that is not only prevailing in its appearance, but also written well, focused on key skills, accomplishments and experience related to your career / job objective. You definitely want something that stands out within a large pool of resumes.

A stellar resume focuses on keyword optimization, which if done correctly, increases your rank in various Internet and human resource databases. Through the incorporation of powerful keywords related to your targeted job / occupation, you will more than likely stand out among your peers and be highly acknowledged among hundreds of other resumes. You will be positioned in the top pile of resumes for the hiring manager after successfully passing the resume screening process.

Keyword optimization consists of multiple, powerful words within your resume that databases and employers search for in order for you to be either selected or ignored. There are almost always a group of these keywords on the first page of your resume which reads, Key / Core Competencies: followed by about 8 to 12 words.

In addition, it is significant to incorporate multiple keywords throughout additional areas of your resume including your job descriptions, your list of achievements, education and so on.

Your resume format, writing and structure are also key elements to a stellar resume. The format needs to be attractive, yet professional. The document needs to be structured and laid out in an organized manner with emphasis on significant aspects of your career. The writing needs to be clean with correct vocabulary and spelling.

There are various resume writing companies that specialize in professional resume development. These professionals are usually certified as professional resume writers, and know their stuff. As a result of significant research, this service is well worth your time and money, and is becoming more and more popular in today’s job search market.


SC&C Interview PreparationYour interview preparation is significant for a successful job search. You need to develop and possess a brief verbal and written speech regarding your career history. This encompasses what you do, how well you do it, what you specialize in, your background experience, skills and significant career-related accomplishments. In addition you need to be prepared to communicate what you have to offer that will positively benefit a certain company / organization, and how you can do this.

You need to come across both verbally and written, in a very professional manner. It is important to be focused, enthusiastic and confident in your speech. However, it is significant that you listen well to the other end. Don’t interrupt, and be prepared to react appropriate to any question or comment.

Among a few of the crucial elements essential to adapt to conquer the interview process is the extensive research of the targeted company. This includes gaining knowledge of the company services and products, their clientele, recognizable achievements, the main company goal and the overall company / organizational culture.

Be sure to have done your homework in these areas, and come prepared to react to and answer any question or comments through practice, practice, practice.

In addition to professional resume services, there are professional interview preparation services through highly qualified and certified career consultants that would be well worth your time and money.


Networking is said to be the key strategy for success in finding that job you have always wanted. Through networking, you develop leads and contacts, in addition to relationships very beneficial to your career.

Both traditional and online networking are huge, and if done correctly, very beneficial to your job search. Join certain networking groups and organizations pertaining to your career both online and off.

Among some of the ever-growing popular online networking sites include LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. By creating and maintaining a membership profile on these sites, you will see a significant boost in leads and contacts, in addition to opportunities you would have never seen before.

You need to create a very professional and informative account for these networking sites in order to achieve success. And you have to provide relevant information while remaining professional and appropriate simultaneously.

In addition, there are usually various local organizations and networking groups for you to join. Once again, by taking advantage of these opportunities, you will see a huge boost in your job search success through relationship development, and the growth of opportunities through various leads and contacts.

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200


What to Ask an Interviewer

We are immensely concerned and focused on the questions that we expect to be asked by interviewers. We’re terrified that we might not have an answer, so we practice, rehearse, and review every aspect of our careers to date.

We learn it backwards, forwards, and upside down until even the idea of referring to our own résumé is ridiculous; we are ready for anything. Our “greatest success” anecdote is primed and ready. We have our “example of Failure, with the Lesson Learned” story all set to go.

We have the facts and figures about how we turned an organization, that it was about as effective as someone trying to herd cats into the streamlined powerhouse of business that just made its first billion last year. How could we possibly go wrong?

Ask the Right Questions

SC&C questions to ask during an interviewYou may be the best thing to ever come down the turnpike, but they’re interviewing people with skill sets very similar to yours, because those are the skills required for this job. Despite how incredible you feel you actually are, you still need to differentiate yourself. And it’s not their questions that are going to make a difference.

Whose questions will make a difference? Yours!

It’s no longer enough to be qualified. If you want a job in today’s business environment, you have to shine, and there’s no better way to show your excellence than by asking excellent questions–John Kador, Monster Contributing Writer

The most important question they will ask is the one that most people don’t prepare for at all. It’s that time near the end of the interview when they finally hand you the stage so that you can say anything you want, when they ask: “Do you have any questions for me?”

What is the most common answer to that question? “No, I think I’m good. Thanks for your time. Goodbye.”

People like that are enough to make me want to pull my hair out, then grab them by the lapels, give them a good shake, and say, “Are you really just here to waste my time?”

Interviewer Is a Great Source

SC&C interviewer is a great sourceIf you are such a hot commodity, how is it that you fail to recognize an opportunity to talk directly to an insider—to garner insight that could change your entire picture about this organization? This person knows things you couldn’t possibly know—and they are sitting right in front of you, ready to share!

To not take advantage of this person’s willingness to apprise you of some inside secrets is like saying to them, “You’re not important or wise enough to give me useful information.” Or, “You’re just a steppingstone to someone more important in my next interview”.

Of course that is not what you intended, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s outrageous. So you’re going to make sure that doesn’t happen! You’re going to prepare some questions for them that show that you’re insightful, and clever too.

What You Should Ask

  • “You know what? I’d love to get your insights about ABC Inc. Tell me, why did you choose to work here? What attracted you to this company?”
  • “You have a good grasp about the intricacies around here. What do you see as the future of this company? Where do you think it will be in the next five or ten years?”
  • If they are likely to be your direct boss, ask them about their leadership style. Are they into daily confabs, weekly roundups, or are they memo machines? How easy is it to consult with them when the need arises?
  • And whether they’re going to be your direct boss or a working associate you can’t go wrong with asking them to tell you what they believe are the keys to success for the position that you’re applying for. What’s the best way to be effective? What techniques or styles are good for directing or guiding the rest of the crew to accomplish goals?
  • “What targets or markers will define my success? What should I be aiming for three, six, or nine months down the road?

Look how you’ve changed the dynamic. What different thing is going through the interviewer’s mind now?

“Hmm. I like this person. They have good interpersonal skills and will integrate nicely. They’re interested in how to succeed. They don’t look like some itinerant that’s going to disappear in 6 to 12 months. Yes, they look like they’ll be a good fit.”

That’s right! You’ve demonstrated your people skills; you’ve made them feel important. They now understand that their opinion is valued, but more importantly, that you’re clever enough to recognize that.

So this is your new task. You’re already an expert in answering their expected questions. Now craft some perfect questions to the one that most often goes unanswered—Do you have any questions for me? Get this handled—it’s important.

Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with LinkedInSecrets.us. The site and book will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

November 2014 Economic Report Positive

The November 2014 Economic Update report from CareerBuilder shows some positive signs for the economy. Hiring is on the rise; is your job search campaign and personal brand fully prepared and polished to be the candidate that gets hired?

Unemployment Rate Fell

The jobless rate for October 2014 fell to 5.8%, the lowest it has been since 2008. Out of those who were unemployed in September, 24% found jobs in October, which is an increase of almost 1.5% from August to September for those finding work. More people are entering the job market than giving up and not looking for work.

SC&C November 2014 Unemployment Rate

Hiring Industries

Some job sectors are showing more job gains than others. As shown in the chart below, the Leisure & Hospitality sector has shown a significant increase in hiring followed by the Education & Health Services industry.

SC&C November 2014 Sector Job Gains

As a job seeker, your skills and knowledge can translate into any of these sectors. You can tailor your resume and interviewing skills to showcase how you can add value to a company in any industry. Whether you’ve been in one or two particular sectors for your career path, consider another sector that is having positive job gains as this could be the opportunity you are looking for.

Wage Growth Stagnant

Unfortunately, the report does note that higher wage growth has been stagnant. Although companies are hiring, they are not increasing salaries. One reason the report points to companies being reluctant to increase payrolls is the part-time market. There are still many people working part time; however, the average number of hours for the workweek increased to 34.6 hours. This signals that companies are needing work hours and are allowing employees to work extra hours.

You don’t have to take the next available positing that is offered to you and accept a lower pay level. If you are interested in the position, make sure your interview and negotiation skills are beyond exceptional, and you’ll get the salary you deserve. Companies are willing to pay those who demonstrate exceptional Value-Add propositions.

This November 2014 Economic Update report shows that companies are ready to hire. As a job seeker, how are you tailoring your resume or WebFolio to showcase your skills and expertise to get one of these jobs? Also, connect with Stewart, Cooper & Coon through their LinkedIn page.

*Data Source and Use Notifications: The November 2014 Economic Update is generated by Careerbuilder.com along with permissions from other sources. No person, company or entity may sell, transfer or assign the report or any of the data provided in same to any third party without the express written authorization of Stewart, Cooper & Coon. No person, company or entity may remove or modify any branding, marks, copyright or trademark notices, or any other notices or disclaimers set forth in any of this data or report without Stewart, Cooper and Coon prior written consent, or otherwise modify the data or the contents of this data or this report in any way so as to falsely or otherwise misrepresent its content. Data and graphs supplied by CareerBuilder.

Making an Impact in 6.25 Seconds

If your resume has somehow made its way past the automated resume scraping software and into the hands of an actual decision maker, you are among the chosen few. The only task left is for your resume to land you an interview in 6.25 seconds.

Research released last year by The Ladders revealed 6.25 seconds as the average amount of time recruiters spend looking at a resume before deciding if a candidate is the right fit for a company. As mentioned in the Forbes article about this study, recruiters spend about 80% of that 6.25 seconds looking at four key areas of a resume:

  • Name
  • Current title and company
  • Previous title and company
  • Previous position, start and end dates
  • Current position, start and end dates
  • Education

Tips for turning your resume into a narrative

Armed with the knowledge that your recruiter’s focus is on just the first page and the last section of your resume, how do you go about chronicling these sections to make an impact in five seconds?SC&C resume stand out

  • Keep your font crisp and clear. There is a world of fonts that exist beyond Times New Roman, Arial and Calibri. Make sure your resume remains easy to read, but experiment with the fonts for your name, brand/tagline and section headers. Draw attention to these sections by adding a little bit of personality to your font selections. You may not want to go with anything too playful like Comic Sans or Bradley Hand ITC.
  • Quantify your achievements. Amidst a sea of words, the eye will automatically gravitate toward numbers and percentages and quickly search for relevance and context. Breaking up the monotony of a page full of words with numbers helps the reader’s eye focus on the whole resume.
  • Add color. A well-chosen splash of color on your resume can also help to draw the eye to areas you want to highlight. When it comes to traditional resumes, the tendency is to play it safe. Let your experience speak for you. Well, a hum-drum resume that will only be reviewed for six seconds isn’t doing your experience any favors. Consider subdued, professional colors on quality white linen paper.
  • Use visuals. Our brains process images much faster than they process words. Small charts and graphics can communicate valuable information about your skillset and experience that otherwise wouldn’t catch the recruiter’s eye if it were in text form.

Using one or more of the above suggestions can help you to set your resume apart from the others. At the very least, it will buy you a few more seconds for your resume to make its pitch. In this job market, every second really does count.

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200, to learn how SC&C and their team of professional resume writers can help you.

Announcing U.S. Job Trend Projections for 2nd Quarter 2014

According to CareerBuilder’s Q2 2014 Job Forecast Report, U.S. companies planning to hire full-time, permanent workers will increase 3% this quarter, a full 7% more than the forecasted national average. That’s good news, even with other more subtle economic trends factoring in to job searches.

With the economy expanding and improvements to the housing market, consumer confidence is on the rise, which means that we could see significant job growth over the next two quarters.

Here are the top 5 industries expected to exceed the national average for hiring permanent staff:

full-time-staffJob openings for financial and accounting positions are the most challenging to fill.  “Accounting and finance is having a very difficult time finding candidates. Hiring managers need to adjust their expectations as far as what they can get skill wise and how much they need to compensate. It’s no longer a buyer’s market.” Executive placement firm, Stewart, Cooper & Coon, offers a variety of services for financial and accounting executives to conduct job search campaigns and discover open positions.

Many candidates are turning down offers. About 3/4 of employers state that 10% of candidates actually end up turning down job offers. The most frequent reasons were as follows:


Due to the highly competitive nature of the current job market, candidates will often have several offers on the table at once. Better prospects and unrealistic salary expectations were the most common cause for refusal. A full 71% of candidates felt the hiring company’s compensation was under par with their expectations and only 25% considered the offer they were given to be what they had in mind – and that number is declining.

compensationFor more insights and trends in U.S. jobs, check out CareerBuilder’s latest Staffing & Recruitment Pulse Survey. For more information about trends in U.S. jobs, contact Fred Coon of Stewart, Cooper & Coon.