What Recruiters Are Looking For (Part Three)

English Below

Oggi ho parlato con la dott.ssa Rachele Raineri, l’ex-Career Services Key Account Manager & CEMS Master Program Corporate Relations Coordinator presso l’Universita’ Commerciale Luigi Bocconi. Ha un’importante esperienza collaborando con aziende nazionali e multinazionali alla ricerca di neo-laureati in Italia e/o all’estero.

Grazie, Rachele. I tuoi consigli sono preziosi!

1) Che cosa guardi per primo quando ricevi un C.V.?

Per i neolaureati l’attenzione si concentra sul curriculum scolastico e le esperienze professionali fatte durante il percorso di studi. Eventuali lunghe permanenze all’estero sono importanti per garantire l’ottima conoscenza di una lingua straniera.

2) Che elemento viene spesso lasciato fuori dal CV che invece aiuterebbe il candidato? 

Attività di volontariato, esperienze professionali stagionali o occasionali presso aziende attivita’ di famiglia, sport praticati a livello agonistico.

3) Quanto conta il format del CV?

Moltissimo. Un format pulito, con un uso coerente di spazi, font, bold etc aiuta ad individuare velocemente le informazioni piu importanti e le scadenze temporali. Si ha una chance in piu di essere notati se si facilita la vita ai selezionatori che hanno poco tempo per leggere centinaia di cv.

4) Ci potresti dare un esempio di una buona cover letter (la lettera di introduzione) e/o fornirci qualche consiglio in merito? 

Non elencare quanto gia scritto nel cv! Concentrarsi sul perche interessa l’azienda e soprattutto porre in evidenza quale valore aggiunto si può apportare.

5) Come sta cambiando il mondo di recruitment grazie alla tecnologia?

Un numero infinito di board online permette di pubblicizzare le opportunità disponibili. Tanti strumenti (Taleo ecc.) vengono utilizzati dalle aziende per filtrare e schedare il numero impressionante di candidature ricevute. Il rischio è quello di essere “filtrati” in base a criteri oggettivi senza possibilità di replica. È importante tenere aggiornato in modo coerente il proprio profilo su tutte i canali utilizzati. Attenzione a Facebook… non pubblicare niente che un recruiter non dovrebbe sapere! Investire sempre di piu’ sugli amici e sulle referral policy delle aziende.


Today, I spoke with Rachele Raniere, the ex-Career Services Key Account Manager & CEMS Master Program Corporate Relations Coordinator at l’Universita’ Commerciale Luigi Bocconi (the top Italian business school). She has a great deal of experience working with national and international companies looking to recruit recent graduates.

Thanks, Rachele, for your great advice!

  1. What do you first look for on a CV? For recent graduates, it’s their education as well as any professional experience they may have. Long periods spent abroad are also seen favorably, as they guarantee an in-depth knowledge of a foreign language.
  2. What element is often left off a CV that might really help a candidate? Volunteer work, professional experience at a family/local company, competitive level sports played.
  3. How much does format count on a CV? A lot. A linear format, with a consistent use of spaces, fonts, bold etc. helps a recruiter quickly find the important information as well as any relevant dates. You give yourself an extra chance to get noticed if you make the recruiters’ lives easier since they often have limited time to read hundreds of CVs.
  4. Can you provide us with an example of a good cover letter and/or any useful advice about writing them? Don’t list what’s already on your CV! Concentrate on why you’re interested in applying to the company and, in particular, what added value you could bring to it.
  5. How is the world of recruitment changing thanks to technology? There are an infinite number of sites online that publish job opportunities. Many (p.e. Taleo), are used by companies to filter and file an incredible number of applications. The risk is to be “filtered” on the basis of certain criteria without being able to reply.            It’s important to keep your profile updated in a consistent manner on all the channels you use. And pay attention on social media…don’t publish anything you wouldn’t wish a recruiter to know! Also, spend extra time networking and learning about the companies’ referral policies.



What Recruiters Are Looking For (Part Two)

Some fantastic advice from a talented leadership coach and organizational change specialist. Many thanks to Dr. Jeremy Lurey, President & CEO of CHIEFEXECCoach & Plus Delta Consulting LLC, for sharing his insights with us.
1) Is there a certain segment of a CV/resume that you tend to look at first?
Yes. In order of priority, the opening “Professional Summary” statement for a snapshot of who this person is. To be effective, it should be 3-5 lines of narrative description about one’s professional skills and then possibly another 3-5 lines of bullet points (typically 2-column) if there are some key skills that can be highlighted to further expand on the summary statement. From there, I review the specific accomplishments/responsibilities one has within his/her “Professional Experience” section if I feel it’s worth continuing. It’s less about the job title of those roles to me. It’s more about the specific experience and how it’s represented as a true accomplishment vs. standard job task.
2) What is an element that people are most likely to leave off a resume/CV/interview that would best help them?
The Professional Summary! Another useful section for those who are more experienced would be any “Presentations & Publications”. People don’t always include “Professional Accomplishments & Affiliations” either which can be a great way to list awards you’ve been recognized for, Board/volunteer roles with professional/community organizations, etc.
 The interview question is a separate question for me. Where people tend to fall short in my experience is not their answers (which are generally rehearsed) to the predictable questions, but instead the questions for the interviewer. I want to know that the candidate did his/her homework about me (like reviewing my past experience via LinkedIn – I see you left Big firm consulting 15 years ago… What made you want to start your own company?) and my company (as in asking, where do you expect the company to be in 2-3 years? What role might I play in helping you get there? etc.) and that he/she is interested in a future career not just a job near-term. I also want to know that the candidate has the aptitude to be bold and take initiative rather than subordinating him/herself to me as if I have to give direction and permission for every thought one has. It’s not my interview as the interviewer. It’s the candidate’s interview. Most neglect that perspective and simply go through the motions hoping for a good outcome…
3) How much does the CV format really matter to you?
It matters to me. Keep it simple. Don’t get creative. But manage the space effectively! Someone who can’t manage the overall content and flow of a resume or uses Times New Roman 12-point font with 1-inch margins all around is not a good fit for me. Someone who uses unconventional headings and sections is not a good fit either. It needs to be professional since I’m not hiring artists or musicians. Typically, headings in a left-column, good use of Bold and Italics fonts to highlight sections and jobs, etc. I even like the use of Small Caps myself – a simple but powerful distinction from what’s more traditional.
4) Do you have an example of a favorite cover letter that you can share? Or an unusual tip?
I’m generally opposed to cover letters these days. Life happens via email, so I don’t want a separate form letter attachment besides the resume. That cover email also needs to be “above the fold” since most professionals don’t have the time or attention span to read a full-page email about why someone wants or believes they are qualified for a job. Something simple to make a personal connection, and then I always appreciate a bit of bold initiative like “Would you mind speaking with me briefly next Thur to see if I’m a good fit?” or “I’m happy to meet you in your office any time next Tues if that’s convenient for you. If not, would you suggest another day/time that works for you?” That will surely turn off an HR person, but it’s going to do wonders to separate you from the crowd if you’re applying directly to a senior executive/business owner. Whether cover letter or resume, just make sure to use key words that are on the job posting. So much initial screening happens via computer programs now that it’s critical to be a match for the computer. Even most humans want to see that a person read the posting and isn’t blindly applying to 100 jobs. 
5) What is one of things that can drive you most crazy when an applicant reaches out to you?
Just be sensible. Even when requesting an informational interview vs. full job interview. I had one candidate recently email me, leave me a message on my mobile phone and then text me all within about 24 hours. You can imagine how quickly I got back to her! Everyone is a little different, but for me I want an email first without any phone calls. I then want a follow up email a few days or perhaps a week later if I don’t respond. Not responding to your email probably means I’m busy and your email took me more than a nano-second to respond rather than I don’t like you. Being persistent with a follow up is a good thing for me. I might then call and leave a quick voice message – but only from there – if I don’t respond the 2nd time. BTW, people who don’t have jobs typically invite me to coffee or even lunch or sometimes simply say they’ll come to my office for an informational interview or to learn more about the field. Well, I don’t have a fixed office, and I never make time to meet candidates in person until I deem it necessary. Part of being sensible is being willing to speak by phone – even during a commute to/from work if that’s when the person might be less distracted. That won’t work for a full job interview but could be a great door opener just to chat by phone in a less threatening, in-my-face kind of way.
6) How soon is too soon to follow up on a CV/resume?
See #4 above. My response will vary if you’re submitting your resume through an HR/job portal vs. emailing it directly to the hiring executive. My response above was the latter. If you are just pursuing something online with no direct relationship, I doubt I would even bother following up at all. Whoever you contact in HR likely is too busy to respond if they even know the status of your application beyond “we’ve received your information and will get back to you if we see a fit.” In other words, try to connect directly with the hiring manager!
Thanks again, Jeremy!

What Are Recruiters Looking For? (Part One)


In this series, I have reached out to experts in HR or recruiting, asking them some simple questions to help you create the best impression possible when you apply for a job or a school program.

In this first interview, I have spoken with a Canadian CFO in the Not-For-Profit Sector. She has provided us with some excellent advice. Check it out here.

(Italian translation available on request).

1) Is there a certain segment of a CV/resume that you tend to look at first?
Depends on the position I’m recruiting for. If it’s a more senior position I look at the summary at the top. If it’s a more junior position, I tend to go straight to the experience and education since the summary isn’t usually there
2) What is an element that people are most likely to leave off a CV/resume that would best help them?
I think the summary at the top. In the 10 seconds that I spend screening a CV before deciding to look at it further (literally 10 sec), I want to know quickly what the person is all about, even if they are just starting out. The summary at the beginning is the fastest way to convey this.
3) How much does the CV/resume format really matter to you?
A lot. It’s the first impression of the person and you only have 10 seconds! If a CV is too plain, doesn’t effectively use graphic emphasis (italics, bold) or looks sloppy, into the no pile it goes. Think of Tinder for job screening. If I’ve got 50 resumes to go through (this is after someone on my team has already screened out 250), the look counts.
4) Do you have an example of a favorite cover letter that you can share? Or an unusual tip?
Take the time to read the job posting and understand what skills are important to the hiring manager. Sometimes they are plainly mentioned in the posting – often listed in order of importance. Highlight these in your cover letter by demonstrating where you’ve shown these skills in the past. Sounds like generic advice but I can’t tell you how many times people highlight things that are completely irrelevant. (This) shows me that they didn’t really read the posting carefully or take the time to think about what might make them the perfect candidate.
I like cover letters that hit on a personal connection or motivation for applying for the position. A finance job is a finance job and I can find anyone who can do transactional finance but what passion do you bring to the position? Do you like what we are doing in the market? Do you think our CEO is inspirational?  Does the sector inspire you? Give me something to make me want to meet you! Being good at working a spreadsheet isn’t going to do it. The market is just too competitive these days. Help me understand why I want to have you around the table in my team meetings!
5) What is one of things that can drive you most crazy when an applicant reaches out to you?
That they don’t! People today seem content to submit an application into a faceless HR email address (or via Linked In which is how things seem to be going) and then not follow up. No one picks up the phone and rarely do people reach out by email to follow up. Be creative when you apply for a job. Find out who you know who knows someone who works there and get them to put a word into the hiring manager. It may not lead to an interview or an offer but I guarantee that I look at a CV for more than 10 seconds if someone has drawn it to my attention first.
If you get an interview or have an informational meeting with someone, ask for a business card and send an email or (gasp!) a written card to thank them for their time. In this day and age of e- everything a written thank you card will make you stand out and will show you have good follow through and good manners. 
6) How soon is too soon to follow up on a CV/resume?
Tough to say. Depends on how you are sending your CV. If it’s for a posting that you’ve seen somewhere, I say follow up after you send it with people in your network that can get you on the radar of the hiring manager. If you are sending a CV to someone who has asked you to send them one and not necessarily for a specific position, I would give it a week or two and then ask if they’ve had a chance to look at your CV, ask for feedback and see if there are any opportunities available or coming up that you are a fit for. I would also then check back in with the person every quarter or so to stay on their radar screen. I keep an eye out for news about a company or person that could be used as an opener to follow up in the future. E.g. a company makes an announcement about a new product… take the opportunity to loop in with the contact to say that you saw the news and were just checking back in to see if any new opportunities have come up.
Job hunting is like dating. Timing is everything. Persistence is key. 


For more like this, check back here next week!