Interview with Volt Recruiter Heather Gardner (Part II)

More on the branding contest tomorrow! You can read the first five posts here (Introduction, Q&A, Brand Issues, Education Factor and Tag Lines), and if you want to participate, submit your entries here!

You can see Part I here. Heather Gardner's profile picture from LinkedInNext week I’m going to meet Heather Gardner in person. I’m really excited – I’ve gotten to know her on the MLPF Group and have found her to be genuine and helpful. All of her responses in this interview sound different than most recruiters that I communicate with, but I can say, she is the real deal. Enjoy this the second half of our interview!

We are told to network into our next job. How can I network with you? I mean, you are super busy… is that just going to offend you, or is there a way that I can actually have a healthy recruiter/candidate relationship?

Yes, let’s network together into your next position!

Yes, I am super busy, but never too busy to communicate with you, the candidate. If I do my job, I will set up expectations with you. Since the positions I recruit for change continuously, I may not be the best resource for every candidate all the time. For example, I don’t recruit for Bio-tech positions. I may refer the Bio-tech engineer to a more appropriate career search recruiter. There is generally one recruiter in our employ that I can refer a candidate to if I’m not the best resource.

As a professional recruiter, I am always open to candidates sending me emails or calling me. It doesn’t mean I will have your “perfect” job each time we chat, but it is nice to hear about changes in your job status, receive a revised resume, or discuss an interview you just went on. Sometimes you may want to call for career advice or share with me a few target companies you’d like to work for in the future that I didn’t already know about. Keeping this professional line of communication is important.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s always nice to stay in touch throughout your career. I had a candidate recently contact me after 8+ years. She saw me on LinkedIn and wanted to reconnect. This amazing sales professional was working at the same company I had originally placed her at and doing quite well. Excellent match 8+ years ago!

How many communications (e-mails, phone calls, voice mails, etc.) do you deal with on a daily basis?

How many is endless? Sometimes I am surprised at the sheer volume of communication I deal with on a daily basis.

To be quite honest with you, it’s like Christmas to me every time I log in to my email or listen to my voicemail! I am not kidding you… all those emails and voicemails are like getting a ton of wonderful gifts. I never know what to expect. I make so many recruiting calls and when the responses start coming back in, it’s always surprising to me what the results turn into. Christmas every time! I love it!

As a recruiter, I am constantly working, even during my off hours. When I attend a birthday party, BBQ or other social event, I am always networking. I never know when I will meet the candidate of a lifetime or a contact at a target company. Whether the communication is face to face, telephone or email – it’s 24/7. I like to think of it as the “recruiter lifestyle.”

What is your opinion about the resume … what makes a good one? What is a common mistake that turns you off?

The resume is really just the first impression. It’s to get you the interview.

I keep an open mind when it comes to resumes. I will learn more about you and what it is you are looking for in your next position by speaking with you directly, not by your resume. Some of the worst resumes came to produce the best candidates. I use it as merely a “working document.”

If I’m doing my job well as a recruiter, I will pre-screen you so well that I can introduce you more effectively to the hiring manager than your resume ever will.

A good resume is generally one that is written specific to the open position. If you aren’t working with a recruiter, it’s best to tailor the resume to your background that matches the job description – NOT word verbatim. It’s so difficult to list every task or accomplishment in your resume without turning it into a novel, but making sure to select things you know are important to the hiring manger is always a good choice.

The most common mistake that people make on their resume is not using spell check. I have received countless resumes that have incorrectly spelled words or incomplete punctuation. Again, it’s such a simple fix, most people just don’t think to print and proof their resume before sending it off.

Do you ever Google candidates, or look at their blogs, or social profiles?

I have never done a Google search on a specific candidate before, but good idea! I have looked at LinkedIn profiles. It would be a great way to get to know your candidates prior to an introduction call and give you a better snap shot of their professional background before talking.

I am still trying to better understand how social networking can work for me as a recruiter. Let’s talk a year from now when I figure all this new social networking technology and read your new book “I’m on Facebook — Now What???”

My experience with the local branch of an international recruiting firm was lame. It continues to be lame, two years later! Getting these types of responses from Heather, who works at Volt Workforce Solutions is really cool – instead of forcing them to focus on numbers, she is given the latitude to focus on people. And I like that 🙂

4 thoughts on “Interview with Volt Recruiter Heather Gardner (Part II)”

  1. Jason,

    Thanks for this great interview. Heather really appears to be the real deal, and your support of her is also very important to adding credibility. I have also had the opportunity to network some with Heather (she is in my LinkedIn network, and has helped me with sharing my resume with people in another office of Volt) and find ther to be just as helpful and top-notch as you state.

    Thanks for also taking the time to both interview her and write about your interview. We’re all the better for it!


  2. Great interview. I have always heard good things about Volt and their services.

    I was curious about Heather’s reactions to the article in the Wall Street Journal which addresses the new employer practice of checking references for job seekers on Linked In.

    Here’s a quote, “Professional networking sites such as LinkedIn Corp. and Jobster Inc. are making it easier for employers to get in touch with people who have worked with job candidates in the past or know them personally”. All of this, of course, is before the candidate actually approves these references.

    I am not sure I am comfortable with that employer practice. Social networking sites are about networking and building relationships, not soliciting information from job seeker contacts without first getting their approval.


    Marcia Robinson contributes to career and workplace blogs for

  3. Jason,

    Heather is a rarity. When I left my job a year ago, the first place I went was to the recuiters. Because my field is scientific, they are, sadly the best way for me to get my foot in the door. If I met with a recuiter, it was mainly to get information out of me about my former employer so they could sell their services. I have since met two recuiters who weren’t like that but nothing like Heather.

  4. Great interview. Heather represents the quality recruiter well. The thrill in our work is helping the truly talented. I second all that she has said. Cvs must be carefully worked and reworked. Recruiters need both short profiles as well as detailed resumes, and often I ask for a specifically tailored cv to send. This is the element in the process candidates have the greatest control over. Profiles like yahoo may develop into something useful..only time will tell.

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