Stories From The Arch

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Reverse Recruiting With HR professional, Emily Taylor

Have you ever wondered what happens behind the scenes when your resume is reviewed? Or, what the interviewer is really thinking while you sit nervously in anticipation of how well you answered the previous question? I know I have, and that’s why I decided to take matters into my own hands. I decided to interview the interviewer! Recently I had the chance to sit down with Emily Taylor, a certified Human Resources Professional with over 8 years of experience in the field of HR, to find out what it’s really like on the other side of that table.

Emily joined McMaster University just over 6 months ago in the role of Employer Relationship and Engagement Coordinator at the SSC. Her focus is on finding a wide range of employment opportunities for undergraduate students by identifying, developing and cultivating employer relationships in the business community.

While Emily has been writing a couple articles of her own about reverse engineering your resume, and has recently spoken on the morningfile for CFMU,  I still wanted to have a chance to pick her brain and learn more about the HR process and how recruiters select candidates!

One of the biggest questions I had for Emily was about what ultimately makes up the backbone of an application – the cover letter or resume? Emily laid it all down very clearly for me and let me know that both cover letter and resume are equally as important in the application process. Once you get past the Applicant Tracking Systems (read more from Emily’s article) used by organizations to narrow the candidate search, the process can become more subjective as to what the recruiter is looking for in a perfect resume/ cover letter.

Image of person typing on a keyboard.

Emily states, “I always read the resume first and decide from there whether I need to read the cover letter. However, some of my co-workers start with the cover letter and work their way to the resume, making the process subjective.” What’s important she says, is to make sure that both the cover letter and resume are catered to the position, and show an interest in the company rather than just the job. “Your resume is a snapshot of your experience and your cover letter should provide proof, connecting the dots between your experience and transferable skills. But we see so many generic applications that when we receive targeted resumes and cover letters they really stand out.”

And once you land the interview? Emily says that, “confidence is key.” She recommends answering questions by using your transferable skills and providing examples from previous experiences. “When we ask behavioural based questions, we want you to reference a time in a past job where you have demonstrated using the skills in question. For example, rather than answering with, I would, answer with, I have. This makes the answer stronger and tells the interviewer that the candidate has the experience and skills needed for the position.”

Emily also says not to be so nervous when you come in for your interview, “With each interview, recruiters keep an open mind. We want the next person that comes in the door to be the next person we hire.”

Image of business people shaking hands.

As for Emily’s final piece of advice, she encourages students to take advantage of the SSC and the services offered. There are drop-in hours for students to receive help with their resumes as well as career counselling and advising.

To learn more about what recruiters are looking for when going through the candidate selection process, check out Emily’s article on Reverse Recruiting in the SSC LinkedIn Group.

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About the Author

Taylor Noble blogged for the Student Success Centre from 2015 to 2016.

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