State of the Recruitment Union


Recently we hosted a roundtable discussion at Rapid7 titled “New Year, New Job,” attended by some of the best recruitment minds in Boston. The idea was to create an open forum for these leaders in talent acquisition (from companies like HubSpot, Vistaprint, and Bullhorn) to discuss the relevant topics of the day around the hiring process from both sides of the coin, covering both the employer and candidate perspectives. Here’s a recap of some of the insights and observations we shared on recruitment best practices, which offers advice to candidates looking to stand out from the crowd in their job search.

We first tackled the state of the current employment market in MA. While all the attendees’ organizations (including Rapid7) are in growth mode and doing significant hiring, we did note a few trends worth mentioning. We all agreed that a lot of the more “traditional jobs” are disappearing as the economy is in transition; verticals like manufacturing are disappearing or changing dramatically. Some attendees commented that our educational system and what people are studying are disconnected from what the market actually needs, resulting in fewer qualified applicants, not fewer jobs per se. With this skill and education gap, we then discussed if companies have the “appetite” to take risks on candidates whom they feel they can teach these skills to or have them grow into these roles—as opposed to looking for that “perfect candidate.”

This ignited a great discussion around not just skills, but how cultural fit is just as important in the hiring process. We shared some “war stories” about trying to work with managers to encourage them to be more open to attitude and aptitude with a candidate, as opposed to seeking key bulleted items on a resume. We’ve seen success in this aspect, as well as the need for improvement.

Note to employers: the perfect candidate does not exist.
Note to candidates: “fit” is just as important as any skill or degree you may have.

From the candidate perspective, we also discussed how social media presence and activities could affect them with potential employers—both positively and negatively. This all becomes a “part of the candidate’s brand” in the potential employer’s view. A person’s profile is their way of conveying who they are, and we agreed that job seekers should use tools like LinkedIn to the maximum effect, ensuring that their profile there mirrors their resume. Recruiters like us look at whether a candidate uses Twitter, blogging, Facebook, etc. This is particularly important for technology organizations, as they typically like to see people who are connected and up to date with social media tools— candidates who “get it.” Apply for roles and organizational cultures that make sense for you: if you still use an AOL address or are sending out resumes on letterhead by snail mail and don’t tweet, applying to a company that is focused on innovation and forward thinking is probably not the best bet.

Several other tips and best practices were thrown out there on how candidates can stand out. It was pointed out that often times candidates draft one resume and send it to every job they apply to, when they should be … Next Page »

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Ed Nathanson is Director of Talent Acquisition for Boston-based Rapid7. Follow @

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