Top Ten Reasons a Recruiter Can’t Work with You

Before I begin my list, it is important that automotive quality professionals understand exactly what we do at Automotive Quality Solutions, and how we pay the bills. Placement fees are paid exclusively by the hiring company; our candidates are never charged for the personal service we provide. Without exception, not one cost conscious automotive supplier wants to pay a fee to a recruiter. I can’t blame them since I don’t like to pay for specialized services either (plumbers, electricians, computer experts, etc.) The reason they do pay, however, is that A.Q.S. is able to find ‘needle in the haystack’ talent that stands out from the crowd.  They know that, for the most part, superstars are out there hard at work and not answering internet job adds. If A.Q.S. brings gold, companies listen.

On a daily basis, we have countless resumes that come across our desks, from greeters at Walmart to the very best degreed  and certified engineers. A.Q.S. constantly  competes against companies and human resource professionals who think they can recruit automotive quality professionals better than we can. Our goal is to rifle in candidates with specific skills: folks who aren’t weighed down by professional or personal baggage, and who can hit the ground running in a TS 16949 environment. Here are the top red flags we look for:

1. You’re a job hopper. The resume shows a consistently inconsistent pattern of 6 months here, 2 months there and then a year at yet another company. We like to call this phenomenon, ‘contract-itis.’ I often see quality professionals that just can’t seem to put down roots anywhere. It begs the question, “Why has no company or manager ever been impressed enough with the candidate to bring him/her on full time?” Who needs a recruiter to find one of these candidates? By definition job hoppers are usually looking. Run an add on the usual job boards and watch them come out of the woodwork. Now, if you have been job hopping, the best advice I can give you is to find a home, keep your head low, work hard and rebuild a solid career base.

2. You live in another country. I constantly get people from all over the world trying to connect with me on Linkedin or sending me resumes, hoping to find that company that will move them to America. Even for someone in Canada or Mexico, clients will say to me, ” Why don’t you just make it simple and find someone here.” They are right, of course. Perhaps I could do my job better and find someone without having to cross international borders , incurring extra expenses for my clients.

3. You don’t have a degree. There is a huge number of highly qualified quality engineers and managers without completed bachelor’s degrees in this industry. In presenting non-degreed candidates, the response is automatic, “Jon, that’s great. Why don’t you find us the same person with a degree?  Call us when you find them. Well make ourselves available for an interview at that time.” If you don’t have a completed bachelors degree, get one. It will pay for itself over time.

4. You have no automotive quality experience. We constantly get resumes from people with backgrounds in AS9100 and almost every ISO flavor you can imagine. They have no experience, however, working with a the likes of Ford, Toyota, GM or even Yugo. Your cover letter may suggest a passion for cars and an eagerness to learn new things, but companies pay recruiters to find talent they don’t need to train up from scratch. They pay us to find those veterans who know what is in the TS manual and, more importantly, what isn’t.

5. You can’t provide decent references. This is one we see all the time, especially with job hoppers. I can’t stress enough the importance of references. Having at least two references from past managers who can vouch for the quality of your work  and the consistency of your results over an extended period of time.  Candidates that can show a history character and integrity fetch top dollar.  Just like shopping on Amazon, the company is going to want to see some reviews before purchasing your services.

6. Your personality. If someone is boring, talks too much, doesn’t make sense or can’t give me specifics, I generally move on to another candidate. It’s important to mesh well and get along in the work place. We are not here to mash a square peg into a round hole and call it a job well done. Everyone can find a home but as recruiters we need to make judgment calls on who we work with.

7. You work at an OEM. Back in 1991, my mentor told me, “people who work at OEMs are generally over-paid and under worked compared to the suppliers.” I’ve never worked at one so I can’t truly speak to that. There is, however, a common trend I have always noticed. They rarely leave. I do get calls from people who have been at an OEM for a while and feel a bit ‘unloved’. They’ll make a call or send a resume because they hear a rumor that tier 1 suppliers are paying better. When it comes down to it, the OEMs are at the top of the food chain and life is pretty comfy up there.

8. You have no reason to move except money. Whenever I contact a candidate, I don the career doctor’s coat. My goal is to find out if my client’s position will be a solid move for the candidate and their family. If a candidate is simply looking for more money. I probe a little deeper to see if there is anything else really bothering them. If not, I suggest they read this article. If this doesn’t work, now they have two reasons to move.

9. Your money expectations are unrealistic. I remember back in 1992 a quality engineer was making 36k and told me they ‘deserved’ to be making 65k based upon the fact the other quality engineer in the department was making 65k. The other quality engineer happened to have a masters degree and fifteen more years of experience. This candidate went out and turned down offer after offer. She was so in play with recruiters that her boss finally found out just how actively she was looking. One day, she was called into a meeting with a team of people at the company for a ‘come to God meeting.’ Needless to say, she didn’t get a raise. Our philosophy is not to move for just money anyway.

10. Big gaps in your resume or the dates don’t add up. The fact is that our industry is aging. Sometimes a candidate tries to hide this in their resume. Don’t try to disguise the fact that you’ve left the industry for a while by omitting the move from your resume. Put everything out there truthfully and state your case. I am currently sending out a Quality Manager candidate who has a less than stellar looking resume. He explained everything that happened with recent career moves. His story makes sense and can be checked out with references. I can explain what happened to my client and sell this as a positive that he is looking for a home; his past experiences will make him a better long-term hire. If you are working on your resume and you even hesitate for a moment whether you are doing the right thing, stop and just lay the cards on the table. You will ultimately be rewarded for the honesty and integrity.