How To Translate ‘Recruiter Speak’

How To Translate 'Recruiter Speak'

Mashable picked up a post by a medical recruiting firm about the communication challenges faced by recruiters and job seekers. Titled “Recruiters Are from Mars, Job Seekers Are from Venus,” the piece highlights how candidates’ urgency for work often makes them push their job search in unproductive ways, and how recruiters’ familiarity with the process sometimes makes them forget the reasons behind candidate responses.

Any industry can often have phrases that are misunderstood, but I don’t want any of the recruiting or job seeking process to be a mystery. So here is a primer on the language recruiters use, regardless of industry, and what we really mean when we say things. Though I can only speak for myself, these translations of what we do and don’t mean when we say certain things are somewhat universal to staffing, recruiting, and job hunting in general.

1. I’ll keep your resume on file.

Translation: “I will keep your resume, and if anything that fits your experience and skills comes in, I’ll know where to find you.”

Does NOT mean: “I’ll find you a job.” (Remember, I work for companies looking for candidates, so I’m not searching for jobs; I’m searching for the right fit for the jobs that come to me)

Also does NOT mean: “I’m ignoring you.” (It’s not a brush off. I really will keep your resume on file. Don’t get too excited: I won’t keep your information in a frame on my desk or on my desktop screensaver. But I will keep it in an actual file and in a database, categorized by strengths, skills, and experience.)

2. I’ll be in touch if anything comes up.

Translation: “If there’s a job that might be right, I’ll call.”

Does NOT mean: “Please call me every day to check in.”

Also does NOT mean: “I guarantee I’ll call.” (Note the “if” and recall that I might not get a client who wants your particular skillset. Ever. I’ve met some great candidates whom I never placed because the right job never came across my desk.)

3. Please send your portfolio.

Translation: “Please send a digital portfolio or a link to your online portfolio.”

Does NOT mean: “Spend a fortune on shipping to mail your original artwork.”

Also does NOT mean: “Come on by and show me what you’ve done.” (If I want you to come in person for an interview, I will be very clear about that.)

4. Prepare for your interview.

Translation: “Do all the things I suggest here.”

Does NOT mean: “Just brush your teeth and hope for the best.”

5. Rethink this part of your resume.

Translation: “This looks or sounds bad. Change it completely, using these guidelines to help.”

Does NOT mean: “Whatever you think is best.” (I’ve been at this for a long time, so I know what I’m talking about. And I really want you to do well. Please take my advice seriously.)

6. You’re not qualified for this.

Translation: “You’re not qualified for this particular job.” (Either change your expectations or get more training. Or both. But don’t argue with me that you can learn the job. Someone else already has all the basic qualifications, and there’s no way I’m asking a client to compromise on their basic requirements for you. No matter how amazing you are. And I’ll bet you are!)

Does NOT mean: “You will never be qualified.” (Nor does it mean you’re not qualified for something now.)

7. I don’t’ know what their timing is.

Translation: “I don’t know what their timing is.” (Clients are conducting this search to serve their needs, not ours. They will tell me what they know when they know it.)

Does NOT mean: “I’m brushing you off.” (I have nothing to gain by lying to candidates. We’re partners. I am honest with you so you;ll be honest with me. Because my business depends on giving clients the right candidate for the job. I hope it’s you!)