July's Career in the Spotlight: Greg Genovese

We sat down with Greg Genovese, Associate at HireStrategy, specializing in HR/RPO and Administrative staffing.  In addition, Greg is a Marking Consultant at Cirqular, Inc.  In our interview, Greg shares his insight on the role of social networks during the recruitment process, how to stand apart during the hiring process, and the common mistakes applicants make during the recruitment/hiring process.

JL: A recent survey by Jobvite showed that 92 percent of employers are using or planning to use social networks for recruiting this year. Based on your experiences at HireStrategy, what role do social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) play in the successful recruitment of candidates for the wide range of industries your client base represents?

Greg: I can’t emphasize enough the importance of social networking tools or the increasing role they’ll play in the recruiting process as we move forward.  At the most basic level, companies that are hiring (or recruiting agencies that are sourcing candidates on behalf of those organizations) will use social networking tools like Facebook (FB), LinkedIn, and Twitter to disseminate information about open roles as well as the types of candidates they’re looking for.

I always suggest that job-seekers join groups on LinkedIn and FB as well as follow significant industry players on Twitter to be as up-to-date as possible when it comes to relevant trends and happenings across any/all industries.  Delving a bit deeper, we also find that hiring managers are researching the candidates they have in-process and are looking into how they represent themselves – a.k.a. brand themselves – online.  It is pivotal for anyone utilizing social media to make sure they represent themselves in a positive light and avoid any seemingly unprofessional self-depictions.

JL: The current unemployment rate for young professionals between 20-25 years of age is 20.6 percent.  In an increasingly competitive job market, how can a young professional differentiate his/her credentials and experiences to gain an advantage in the hiring process?

Greg: For young professionals with this experience the single most important aspect of the hiring process is the interview itself.  Hiring managers don’t expect candidates at this level to have all the knowhow that someone with ten years industry-experience has, but are rather much more concerned with the candidates’ attitude and work-ethic, as well as their professionalism and maturity level.  All that being said, though, there are things that job-seekers can do to make their resumes more appealing to recruiters, and get themselves into the interview process.In my experience diversification on the resume is very appealing.  Someone who worked all four years of college at the local restaurant or retail outlets isn’t as appealing as someone who, for example, worked two year in the admissions office, headed a social or academic club, and studied abroad for a semester.  Additionally, it goes without saying that superior academic performance is also highly sought after as well.

JL: During your time at HireStrategy, what are some prevalent mistakes you’ve noticed being committed by job applicants?  Moreover, what aspects of the recruitment process do potential candidates mistakenly overlook?

Greg: As recruiters, the most significant portion of our job is to conduct interviews and screen candidates out based on the requirements and skills our clients are looking for.  Particularly for the demographic of your last question (20-25 years of age), but across all other levels of experience as well, one of the most overwhelmingly baffling things recruiters constantly encounter is a general lack of preparation for the interview process.  Things like being tardy for an interview, not dressing professionally, not practicing a nice smile and firm handshake, and/or not speaking clearly or having professional and concise answers during the interview are what cause the majority of candidates to be screened out.

I can say without any hesitation that candidates constantly overlook the opportunity to ask thoughtful questions to their interviewer/potential employee at the conclusion of their interview.  Nothing irritates me more as a recruiter than when a candidate responds to my question, “What questions do you have for me?” with “I really don’t have any questions.  You pretty much answered them all throughout the course of the interview.”  Really?  You’re interviewing for a position that could potentially shape the rest of your life and you don’t have any questions for me?  None?!  If you are an interviewee, and you don’t have any questions about the organization, the industry, or the interviewer themselves, then you have not fully prepared for the interview, and will most likely not be called back for a follow up.

JL: How do you see the recruitment process evolving?  Furthermore, in your opinion, how do you think the hiring process will continue to change, especially for younger job seekers?

Greg: The recruiting process will undoubtedly continue to change as new technologies are developed and new ways of finding and screening potential applicants are created.  A lot of the process will be further streamlined and automated, and we’ll certainly see an increase in the use of social media.  However, even with all that said, the basic principles of recruiting remain constant – particularly as it pertains to younger job seekers.  Recruiters and hiring managers are constantly looking for well-rounded applicants who’ve displayed excellent work ethic and continue to display a drive for success and high level of maturity.

Candidates with a diverse background who arrive ten minutes early wearing a clean suit and a nice smile will always come out on top over those candidates who show up late with no questions prepared.

Greg Genovese is an Associate at HireStrategy, a full-service professional staffing firm providing contract, direct hire and executive search solutions for employers in the Washington DC area, specializing in HR/RPO and Administrative staffing.  In addition, Greg is a Marketing Consultant for Cirqular, Inc.  Greg is a graduate of the College of William & Mark, Mason School of Business, Class of 2009.