Recruiters Archives

Hey, It’s November . . . It’s Time to Gather “Value Proven” Letters

Published on October 1st, 2015 by Alan L. Sklover

“Heroes must see to their own fame.
No one else will.”

– Gore Vidal

ACTUAL “CASE HISTORIES: Each and every day, many thousands of people seek new jobs. Some get them, many don’t. Each and every day, thousands of people are contacted by recruiters to fill open positions. Some are successful when interviewed; many are not. What makes the difference? Often, it’s a bit of self-promotion.

It is during the interview process – those critical “give and take” discussions – that your potential value to your prospective boss and to the prospective employer is assessed. “What and how much can he or she do for us?” is the 800-pound question in the mind of interviewers.

In recent years it has become increasingly common in the interview process for job candidates to present what I call “Value Proven” letters – “mini-testimonials of value” – to their interviewers. They are brief notes, letters and memos from clients, customers and colleagues attesting to their sense that you are a significant contributor of value. Value Proven Letters are a part of the necessary “self-promotion” that can enhance the “value assessment” aspect of the interview process.

By the way, Value Proven Letters can also be used “internally,” that is, to support a request to your present employer for a raise, promotion or assignment to a different division.

Imagine that you are one of three candidates being interviewed to fill an open position as Nuclear Power Engineer for a large power plant builder.

Imagine, also, that, in your second interview with your prospective manager, you presented her with three letters, one each from (a) a former Nuclear Power Plant Construction Manager, (b) an industrial vendor whose cooperation is critical to large-scale construction, and (c) a former Nuclear Safety Inspector who is tops in his field, all attesting to their view that you are a very significant contributor to success.

Could they help your chances of getting hired? You bet. Worth the time and effort to assemble some “Value Proven” letters? Without question. Do competitive times call for competitive efforts? Of course.

LESSON TO LEARN: No matter how smart you think you are. No matter how hard you work. No matter how loyal an employee you are. No matter what you have done in the past. If you don’t “toot your horn” no one will know you have one.

You never know when a great opportunity is going to be offered to you. And you never know when, unexpectedly, you will need to develop career opportunities. So, think ahead, and get ready for whatever comes your way.

There are several different things you can do to elevate your chance of landing a new and better job. One of those ways is to assemble some really effective “Value Proven Letters.”

We define “Job Security” as confidence that (ii) your present job will end only on your timing, and (iii) if not, within a reasonable period of time (iv) you will have a new and appropriate job. These sure can help.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Upon completion of a large client project, upon the retirement of a manager, and even the departure of a subordinate from your company, you might consider seeking a “Value Proven” letter to assist you when the right time comes upon you. Here are some tips:
Read the rest of this blog post »

The Best-Ever “Internship-Wanted” Letter – Seven Thoughts to “Open the Door”

Published on January 29th, 2013 by Alan L Sklover

“If I had any humility I would be perfect.” 

Ted Turner

ACTUAL “CASE HISTORY”: According to recently published reports, an “Internship-Wanted” cover letter sent by a San Diego University student to a Manhattan investment firm was so humble, so straightforward and so refreshingly honest that it simply “wowed” those who reviewed it, and got him the position. In fact, it seems, it also “wowed” other firms who received it, and may even get him internship offers from them. No top school. No genius skills. Only a top-notch cover letter. 

The young fellow, an undergraduate finance major who penned the acclaimed “best ever cover letter,” described himself in his resume cover letter as “a fairly average student” who has “no unbelievably special skills or genius eccentricities.” So what got him the hard-to-get job at the highly prestigious investment bank in Manhattan? Mainly the words and phrases that conveyed a top-notch attitude of honesty, humility and deep desire.

According to reports, this young man portrayed himself as humble, eager to learn, and willing to do whatever tasks he was assigned – and I do mean “whatever”: in his letter he openly and powerfully stated that he had no problem with either “fetching coffee” or – get this – “shining shoes.” Well, perhaps this is going a tad too far. 

Humility, confidence, candor, willingness to do anything needed . . . all the attributes of an employee with a great attitude. Every employer loves job candidates  – and employees – with great attitudes. Who doesn’t? Everyone, whether or not they are employers, employees or otherwise, like to be around people with great, positive, productive attitudes.  

One of the investment firm partners commented, “We thought he had the kind of values we want – humility, transparency, a strong work ethic.” A company spokesperson added, “We get a lot of interest in a limited number of positions . . . he broke through the clutter.” “Break through the clutter” – what a great turn of phrase to describe what an “Internship-Wanted” cover letter needs to make happen, because I will tell you, as an employer, after reading through 200 resumes for one or two job openings, it all does start to feel like “clutter.” 

It turns out a lot of Wall Street firms got a copy of this particular college student’s cover letter and resume, and the feedback has been entirely positive. To his surprise, he may actually have to choose which of several internship offers he wants to accept. Quite a turn of events for a young fellow who describes himself as “a fairly average student.”

LESSON TO LEARN: As we all know, there are more job candidates seeking job openings than there are job openings seeking job candidates. The situation is even more dire for college students and recent college graduates now entering the workforce, and that is the case for even graduates of the most “prestigious” colleges and universities. 

Over the last ten years or so, internships – both paid and unpaid – have become the path that takes inexperienced job candidates and gives them both (i) experience on their resumes, and (ii) the most effective “introduction” possible to potential employers. And the trend is bound to continue; more and more employers use internship programs as a decidedly low-way to efficiently recruit promising young employees who are worthy of their investment of time and training. 

So, then, how do you get an internship? There are a number of ways, from your Uncle Mortimer’s friend, to your camp counselor’s cousin. For the majority of young job candidates who don’t have such “connections,” the best path to an internship is submission of a resume accompanied by a “best ever” cover letter. 

Is there one “best-in-the-world” resume cover letter? Of course not. But there are more effective cover letters and there are less effective cover letters. To make sure yours is closer to “best ever,” here are a few helpful thoughts to bear in mind if you are preparing to seek internships:    

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Here are seven thoughts for the internship-seekers among us to help them make their own cover letters the “best ever”:  Read the rest of this blog post »

“If an agency introduces me to an employer, can I take a different job directly with the employer?”

Published on July 14th, 2011 by Alan L Sklover

Question: I accepted a position through a temp agency and the same employer the temp agency is working for wants to hire me directly for a different position. I have not been given a start date by the temp agency.

Even though I signed papers accepting the position offered to me by the temp agency, can I turn it down, and instead accept the position being offered to me directly by the same employer? I’d prefer the job with the employer, because it also offers benefits.   

Julie V.
Green Bay, Wisconsin

Answer: Dear Julie,     

I’m really glad you submitted this question because, while many clients have asked me this question, this is the first time it was submitted by one of our blog visitors. As you will see, I’m unable to be more specific with some aspects of my answer, because I don’t know some very important facts of what has happened. Though I’m not licensed to practice law in Wisconsin, these are my thoughts:          

1. Almost for sure you can “back out” of your acceptance of the position with the agency. Since you did not start the job working for the agency, the agreement you accepted to do so can be essentially ignored. It is what we call in law an “executory contract,” which means “un-begun” by either side, and therefore capable of being abandoned by either side without effect. 

2. If you did not sign another agreement with the agency that says, in effect, “I won’t work directly for any of the agency’s customers,” then you are free to do so. Your relations with the agency – including any obligations you have to it – are governed by your agreements (if any) with the agency. Often temp agencies have job candidates sign agreements that say, in effect, “I won’t take a job with any employer you introduce me to.” If you signed an agreement like that, you can’t work directly for the employer. If you didn’t sign an agreement like that, you can. If the agency did not get you to sign such an agreement, it is their problem, not yours.

3. It’s also possible the employer signed an agreement with the agency that says, in effect, “We won’t hire any job candidates you introduce to us.” This would be the most common situation. If the employer did sign such an agreement with the agency, it is the employer – not you – who can’t enter into an agreement with you without concern of a lawsuit. Again, if the agency failed to get the employer to sign such an agreement, it is their problem, not the employers.  

4. Most likely, the employer will have to pay a “placement fee” to the agency, and that will be it. This is the most probable outcome of the situation. In fact, this very thing – an agreement between the agency and the employer that the agency is deemed to have earned a “placement fee” if any of its candidates gets hired by the employer – is what I have seen most often. This really does not affect you, but rather the agency and the employer.

5. I suggest you take the job directly with the employer, and see what happens. There’s an old saying, “Don’t ask permission; if necessary, ask forgiveness.” This path forward would seem to me to be the best way to proceed, though it may be a bit anxiety-provoking to you. Just remember: (a) it seems you are valued as an employee, and (b) benefits sure do help.

I hope this is helpful, and I’d love to hear how it all works out.

Thanks for writing in. Please tell others about out blog.  

Al Sklover

Help Yourself With These and Other
Unique JOB SEARCH Materials

Next Step 1: Letter to Friends, Family: Seeking a New Job
Reference 8: Request for Positive References to Former Managers & Colleagues
New Job 1: Cover Letter Submitting Your Resume
New Job 2: "Thank You" Letter after Job Interview
New Job 8: 50 Good Reasons to Explain Your Last Departure
New Job 10: Model Response to Interview Asking Your Salary Expectations
New Job 21: 163-Point Master Guide and Checklist to Interviews

[ Click Here ] and Go to Sections "A, B and C"

© 2011 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.

“Any ideas on how to deal with a recruiter who seems to be sabotaging my job search?”

Published on November 24th, 2010 by Alan L Sklover

Question: I recently had a VERY bad experience with an unscrupulous and dishonest recruiter who shared an old resume of mine without my authorization with another recruiter who then proceeded to go to every company he knew I was interviewing with.

He seemed intent on slandering me and misleading hiring managers about me. I’m considering a lawsuit.

Does anyone have any experience with this?

         City and State Withheld

Answer: Mason, by this blog post I am asking all of our readers who may have had experiences like yours, or ideas they might have to share with you about dealing with the problem, to write in. From my experiences with my clients, I know you are not the only person who has been hurt like this by recruiters.

I’d even like our recruiter-readers to chime in on how they see such conduct from their own point of view.

My view is that, as our economy has “tightened,” and there are less jobs around, recruiters have suffered financially. Unfortunately, this seems to have led to a bit more unscrupulous recruiter behavior, including (a) unauthorized use of resumes, (b) unauthorized altering of resumes, (c) misrepresentations regarding job requirements and rewards, and (d) interfering with the hiring of candidates they do not represent, so as to increase the chances that their own candidates are hired, which seems to be what happened to you.

While every case is different, these are the four (4) primary paths we’ve taken to dealing with such recruiter misconduct:

A. “Cease and Desist” Letters: These are just what they sound like: demands that the Recruiter “cease and desist” from engaging in this wrongful behavior, or face a lawsuit. This is the most common way to put someone on warning that further conduct will not be tolerated, and the most common way to end such conduct. These are typically written by attorneys.  

B. Respectful “Appeal Letters” to Specified Corporate Hiring Managers: In some cases, we have written directly to those Hiring Managers whose views of our client we believe the recruiter in question has “poisoned.” We respectfully explain the situation, and that the recruiter in question (i) had no authority to represent our client, (ii) does not know our client or our client’s abilities, (iii) was, instead, seemingly acting to hurt our client’s chances of being hired, and the Hiring Manager’s chances of getting the best candidate for the job.

C. What We Call “Warning Letters” to a Wide Range of Hiring Managers: If the recruiter specializes in a certain industry, or employment area (such as Information Technology), or we know has certain retainer clients, we do not hesitate to contact each of the companies he or she usually deals with, and in a very carefully-worded letter, let these companies know that unscrupulous recruiter behavior has taken place. This is an attempt to change behavior by appealing to the recruiter’s most important interests: his or her client relations. Too, it gives the errant recruiter a taste of his or her own “medicine.”

D. Initiation of Lawsuits for Defamation and/or “Tortious Interference”: In certain instances, we have had to go further, and file lawsuits for defamation – which is the dissemination of false factual statements that harm a person’s reputation – or tortious interference with prospective business relations – which is intentional harm to another’s economic relations without proper justification. Like surgery in medical matters, we view litigation as only to be considered when it seems absolutely necessary, and only after all other means of redress have been tried.

Looking for a New Job? We offer a 152-Point Master Checklist of Employment Negotiation Items to help you “remember everything and not forget anything else.” To obtain a copy, just [click here.] Delivered by Email – Instantly!

You only have one reputation, and career interests are among the most important interests a person has. Reputations and career interests must always be protected from those who – whether negligently or intentionally – pose a threat of harm to them.

Mason, I hope this has given you both ideas and inspiration to take steps to defend your reputation and career. Watch for the ideas and experiences of others in this regard on our Comments and in these Q & A’s.

If this has been helpful, would you please consider recommending us to one or more of your friends on Facebook, LinkedIn, or other social media.

           Best, Al Sklover

Help Yourself With These and Other
Unique JOB SEARCH Materials

Next Step 1: Letter to Friends, Family: Seeking a New Job
Reference 8: Request for Positive References to Former Managers & Colleagues
New Job 1: Cover Letter Submitting Your Resume
New Job 2: "Thank You" Letter after Job Interview
New Job 8: 50 Good Reasons to Explain Your Last Departure
New Job 10: Model Response to Interview Asking Your Salary Expectations
New Job 21: 163-Point Master Guide and Checklist to Interviews

[ Click Here ] and Go to Sections "A, B and C"

© 2010 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.

Alan L. Sklover

Alan L. Sklover

Employment Attorney
and Career Strategist
for over 35 years

Job Security and Career Success now depend on knowing how to navigate and negotiate to gain the most for your skills, time and efforts. Learn the trade secrets and 'uncommon common sense' of Attorney Alan L. Sklover, the leading authority on "Negotiating for Yourself at Work™".

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