So I’m helping out with recruitment and boy, do I really feel old(er). At this point, I am already an elder among young ‘uns at the office. I could really feel the generation thing happening as my kumpare, Kim, and I often share our peeves with managing “kids these days.”

We have several spots open in the company and my boss asked me to participate in the recruitment process. While it’s another thing on my already substantial plate, I actually like recruitment. As some people including myself claim, being a scary judge of character seems to my singular “talent.”

I have a pretty good batting average recruiting people. Perhaps the one tarnish in my record was that one guy who never really did anything productive during his relatively short tenure. I didn’t bother evaluating that guy just because he came highly recommended by Kim. While trust counts, it never hurts to do your due diligence checking for yourself. Turned out we hired a bozo. And I decided that would be the last time I ever did. All of the hires I recruited from a few years back have either been promoted to bigger roles or replaced us as leads in our old department. Quite a testament to what Guy Kawasaki has always harping on about and that I have so diligently applied – preventing bozosity. A players hire A+ players.

Part of my duties in this whole recruitment gig is to help on our job adverts (which were easy-peasy since I used to teach business writing) and be one of the initial interviewers for the positions. As such, I do go through a methodical process in evaluating applicants.  Jobstreet remains to be a force in recruitment here in the Philippines. It’s not unusual, even for a small organization like ours, to receive hundreds of applications for a single position and that calls for me to be as efficient as possible.

This is where the “What’s with the kids these days?” question really kicks in. So trying to be the wizened hermit rather than the office curmudgeon, here are some pieces of sagely advise to you kids applying for your first jobs.

Check and double and triple check your resume. Too many resumes get tossed out because they contain the line “Excellent communication skills in English” and then contain a lousy grammar in another. Mind your spelling, grammar, and mechanics. You know how we know some people don’t bother? When their names on Jobstreet (or some other jobs database) are in lowercase. You are not ee cummings. Take out personal information too. Nobody cares if you’re blood type A- at this point of the recruitment process. Grab a copy of this book and start revising your resume. Want something free, check out this online guide on resumes and interviews. Best yet. Message me and pay me and I’ll polish your resumes.

Don’t be a diva. You’re the fresh grad looking for a job among other qualified candidates. We schedule because our time is precious. I doubt that it would really take a couple of weeks for your schedule to free up so that you can drop by and have your interview when you don’t have a job yet.

Be a sniper. You’re probably doing the whole shotgun thing sending out your resumes to a bunch of companies hoping to get a call. A dead giveaway is your email’s “To” line bears our HR’s email among a hundred other company’s email addresses. You can definitely customize your resume to fit what’s required by that specific company. Personally, I like snipers who do deliberate targeting of organizations and if you do this, scheduling conflicts would rarely happen.

Know your priorities. If you have interviews lined up that conflict with your schedule with us, then you might have to choose. We can always be accommodating to reschedule but let’s face it. Nobody wants to be the second choice. If we really like you, we wouldn’t mind rescheduling. Or maybe we’d still mind but just a tiny bit.

Show up. Interview day comes and I clear up my schedule. Then you don’t show up. And don’t even call. Well, fuck you. In case of emergency, inform us to reschedule (or cancel) before your interview schedule. You’re supposed to show up at least 15 minutes before your scheduled time anyway. Keep in mind that interview no-shows can land you in a person’s shitlist, or worse, Jobstreet’s shitlist. (In my case, I think being in my shitlist is worse). We can actually flag you as a no-shower and Jobstreet might penalize you for your future applications elsewhere.

Clean up your online presence. I do “background check” people online using the powers of Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. I’ve since expanded that to include even Blogger, WordPress, Pinterest, and Tumblr. While I don’t usually penalize you that much for posting pictures of your beer-driven escapades in college, I don’t want to deal with unsavory (criminal) characters and those tendencies can show. We’ve all done stupid things in the past that were probably captured on camera by so-called friends but your profile picture where your are proudly flashing the cunnilingus sign while at (what appears to be) your baccalaureate mass surely affects my perception of your sense of public space and propriety. I surely wouldn’t consider working with you if all your blog contains are your suicidal, homicidal, and hormonal thoughts. I only work with the good kind of crazy.

Dress the part. We’re a pretty casual bunch. And even as a higher-up, I stick to my staple of smart casual attire as my office attire. I still go for comfortable but respectable. But it wouldn’t hurt to show up, in at the very least, wearing business casual. I understand that the Philippine heat is a bitch. Dropping by for an interview in ratty jeans, a band shirt, and Chucks makes us question if you would even bother when the time comes. Dressing up in a three piece suit makes me question your practicality.

Background check us too. Our online presence might not be as in-your-face but our website gives you an idea of what we do and offer. Don’t come to an interview without any sense of what you’re getting into.

Come prepared. Resumes only get you a foot in the door. I never make it the end all and be all of my recruitment process. That’s why I’ve instituted aptitude tests and a good set of interview questions to throw at you when you pursue a job with me. Applying for a programming position? Let’s see you execute a FizzBuzz and some other machine problems. You can’t come to the interview, get asked a technical question (which is often a fundamental concept in your field), and tell me, “Oh, my teacher taught us that but I forgot.” The other stuff should be basic. Bring a working pen, a backup, and copies of your resume. And, if you’re applying for skill-based positions, a copy of your portfolio as well.

Show passion and interest. Fundamental to what I look for in candidates is the genuine interest in what we do as an organization. It shows in your body language. The nature of our industry dictates that you should be passionate, otherwise . I can tell that you’re not into it and that might also mean that we wouldn’t be into hiring you. As fresh grads, we really don’t expect much from you in terms of true know-how and experience. So passion makes up for your green-ness.

So there you go. A few simple tips to not get into a recruiter’s pet peeves.

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