10 Questions New Grads Would Love to Ask a Recruiter

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    Wouldn't it be great to get the inside scoop from someone who actually knows what it takes to be hired? If there were 10 questions you could ask a recruiter/HR manager what would they be? Here are some of mine. I would love any feedback from those in the field.

    Before I begin, I would like to ask that any misconceptions / assumptions / presumptions be excused as the wondering of an ignorant new grad. This article is not meant to disparage, just to gain a clearer perspective on some of the more perplexing aspects of job searching. There is a certain dark mystery to some of us as to the secrets of the HR hiring process. Countless threads have been dedicated to unraveling (excuse the pun) the intricately spun web of online applications, resumes, cover letters and interviews that go into that first job. That being said, this is a compilation of questions from some of my colleagues that we hope will garner some advice from those in the know

    10) Are you for real?

    Is it true that often online postings are for made up positions? It's hard to believe that the jobs actually exist when you call up the hospital to be told they are in a hiring freeze right now. Even if they mean a hiring freeze for new grads why post positions that seem available to them?

    9) Do grades matter?

    Some of us have been told by nursing instructors that in today's competitive market grades can make all the difference. This seems to be a stretch as the students who have gotten jobs after graduation are not necessarily the ones who were at the top of the class. Is G.P.A even a consideration when the NCLEX is the national standard of competency?

    8) How pushy is too pushy?

    When the online application site explicitly states NOT to call about the status of an application why do some people seem to think that means that if you don't call you are not being persistent (aggressive?) enough. Doesn't that mean that you are simply following directions? Does the squeaky wheel indeed get the grease, or is this a myth propagated by people who obtained jobs by other means and post their successes under the guise of persistence?

    7) Spending money to make money?

    Is it worth it for nursing students to spend extra money to get certifications like ACLS/PALS/EKG/IV? Does this indicate commitment or a desperate attempt to gain attention? Are there certain certifications that put a resume on the radar? Are they perceived as a sign that someone is active in pursing education or as a jump on the alphabet cart bandwagon to try to get me noticed?

    6) Take a walk......(or a hike)

    This is a sensitive one with two major camps who seem to be certain about their side. Is walking in a resume a way to ensure that it gets there, or are people who attempt this told to "take a hike?" How about cold calling and asking about positions? (uhhh look on our website we don't have time for this)

    5) So does someone actually go through all the resumes or what?

    Is every resume submitted into cyberspace picked up, or do some unfortunate ones end up in the intergalactic black hole of the waste basket? Are there any "code words" in a resume that send it straight to a shredder (ie: new grad)

    4) What's the magic word?

    There are so many ways to format a resume. Some people say to add generic skills like time management, customer service and quality and safe care to make up for a lack of technical experience, while others call that filler that's likely to send your resume into the abyss. Is there something(s) in particular that recruiters LOVE to see? Or is the magic formula for new grad resumes akin to the fountain of youth and other such myths. Sometimes those who have jobs claim that it's because of XYZ on their resume. Is it a "total picture" or a specific detail?

    3) The ideal candidate?

    So let's say someone graduated summa cum laude, was president of their school's SNA, as well as the national chapter, worked as a nursing tech throughout school, volunteered for several organizations, did an externship, and belongs to several professional organizations. Does this make them an ideal candidate? These are things that nursing instructors stressed as being of particular importance during school, yet in the real world don't seem to matter at all. What makes an ideal candidate on a resume, BEFORE an interview is even attained?

    2) So it's all about who you know?

    What percentage of new grads are hired due to connections? Are there times that more qualified applicants are passed up in favor of those who somehow have an inside advantage? Or is it an "all things being equal" we are going to hire the one who has some sort of" pull."

    1) What's the real reason new grads are not being hired now and is there REALLY a nursing shortage?

    The economy? Budget Cuts? Uncertainty about the Affordable Care Act? The cost of training new grads who are likely to move on? The lack of retiring nurses? Surplus VS. shortage. Propaganda by nursing schools to churn out more grads? All of the above? None of the above. Select all that apply!
    Last edit by Joe V on Sep 24, '14
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  3. by   Concerto_in_C
    I did not participate in any school organizations (and I didn't care), I did not volunteer anywhere (in my free time I like to sleep and chill, not to go to asinine meetings) and I didn't graduate Suma Cum Laude.

    I guess according to your criteria, that would make me the worst new grad ever. Still I had no problems finding work where I wanted to work, and I became a very successful nurse after a few years of experience.

    I guess timing is everything and also a location is everything.

    Graduating during the ObamaCare Experiments puts the new grads in uncharted territory where hospitals are fearful of the changes in the industry and don't want to expand and hire new people. It's just a bad time to look for work in healthcare, bad timing and bad luck. Bronco Bama is personally responsible, love him or hate him, that's the truth. We still don't know how this will work out at the end. Even the CEO of my hospital, Dr.Gorski, sends us emails saying he's not sure.

    By location I mean some cities, like Chicago, really suck, while other areas welcome new grads. In a large metropolitan area like Chicago where you have 30 nursing schools, even a BSN ain't much, but there are other areas of the country that are more disadvantaged economically and have a higher demand for nurses.

    In Chicago or LA or NYC, if you find a nursing job opening, it's something weird, like "Critical Care Nurse Educator". Nobody meets the criteria for that. For staff positions they demand 2 years of experience and they are not even hiring for common units, but for highly specialized units like...ugh...critical care cath lab. Also, what I noticed is the new scheme of hiring tons of registry nurses. University of Loyola Hospital in Chicago is a champion of this ripoff. Their idea is even if they hire you, they will still rip you off by not providing benefits in case you get sick or pregnant.

    But once you move about a 100 miles from the big city, you find lots of openings for great units, like med-surg, ortho, ICU-stepdown all the things you want to do as a new grad. Also, there is nothing in the job description that says new grads are not welcome. It's a completely different picture. Different location, different picture.
    Last edit by Concerto_in_C on Oct 21, '13
  4. by   Cobweb
    I have always lived in smaller towns, and that makes a difference, but I have never gotten a job by going through human resources. I always make an appointment with the DON or nurse manager or whatever, and get my jobs that way. (I don't job-hop much, though.) Certs do matter, though, even if they are irrelevant to the job you are applying for. You just can't have too much paper.
  5. by   wannabecnl
    I enjoyed your list! As a not-so-new-grad (almost 2 years out), I remember well all of the advice we got from instructors, recruiters, etc., and we all tried the tricks you mentioned. I tried walking resumes into managers' offices, cold-calling, applying for flu clinics and school nurse sub jobs and everything requiring an RN, writing a killer resume with zero fluff, etc... but I got my first job with a standard online application (through the hospital's website), and I got my current job by having been a student in my unit and having several nurses tell the manager that he needed to hire and train me. I'm no fool; it did not hurt that I have an MSN and they are going for magnet, and it also didn't hurt to have nurses (who may be rethinking their position at this point! ) saying I'd be a good hire.

    You mentioned the alphabet cart bandwagon, and I'd like to address that. I paid for my own ACLS certification when I was looking for a PACU job because I figured it would make me a little more marketable, but it is also absolutely required for my job. I wouldn't waste time and money getting certs that won't apply to the types of jobs you want. They will train you to do what you need, and probably pay you for your time while you train! I've since gotten PALS through work and recerted on ACLS and BLS on their time.

    Seems from watching my classmates change jobs and move up the ladder that once you get over the hump of the first months in the first job, most of this stuff doesn't matter anymore anyway.
  6. by   Forest2
    I think a lot of your questions are pertinent to any nurse searching for a job. As a new graduate MSN but a nurse since 1983, I am having employment difficulties. It's just weird out there.
  7. by   Concerto_in_C
    Quote from Cobweb
    I have always lived in smaller towns, and that makes a difference, but I have never gotten a job by going through human resources. I always make an appointment with the DON or nurse manager or whatever, and get my jobs that way. (I don't job-hop much, though.) Certs do matter, though, even if they are irrelevant to the job you are applying for. You just can't have too much paper.
    If they are straight out of nursing school they need 1-2 years of med-surg experience before they do anything else. This is the priority because some people don't work out as bedside nurses. There will be plenty of opportunities for certifications later on.

    If the hospital expects them to get certified, spend money on nursing organization membership, etc, and other desperate steps, then I guarantee even if they manage to secure a position, they will regret working for that employers six months later.

    There was a great article at CNN or some other site that said if the employer expects you to jump through burning hoops to secure an entry-level position then something is wrong with the management and you will be sorry you accepted the position.
  8. by   Concerto_in_C
    Quote from Forest2
    I think a lot of your questions are pertinent to any nurse searching for a job. As a new graduate MSN but a nurse since 1983, I am having employment difficulties. It's just weird out there.
    Did you work in your nursing specialty since 1983? I've been a reading a lot of posts by people who apparently hated nursing when they first started, quit bedside nursing, now they're trying to return after an absence of like 10 years. This is bad position to be in, as a high risk candidate, I think that makes them even less desirable than new grads. Nobody wants to hire them.
  9. by   royhanosn
    what are tiny patients..if you mean kids, say so. Dont use buzz words of little or no meaning to others.
    For recruiters, turn OFF your cell. The only person that is important during your search is the recruiter. I am sure you IM or FB will do fine without you for 30 minutes. The world will not end.
    For jobs, look beyond your nose...overseas. Do not restrict your search area. Look to underdeveloped areas of USA & Canada. If your a kid looking for your first job, take a partime job. Or go to HR and ask
  10. by   Elite Nurse
    Keep what I am about to say in the back of your mind forever more. ITS ABOUT THE MONEY ITS ALWAYS ABOUT THE MONEY. I recommend all nursing students take some business courses and become business smart. It costs the hospitals a lot of money to hire, orient, precept a new grad. Once a new grad starts to see the reality of the situation, they move on hoping to find the perfect job. Your not the only group that is discriminated about. I know older very well trained nurses who move from one city to another and can't get a job. Why, hospitals aren't interested in what you know, but
    how much you will cost them. Older well trained nurses are at the top of the salary range and cost a lot of money. Schools and other groups like to say well older nurses aren't retiring as early, Now, now - many older nurses at the top of the salary range are harassed so severely they quit, which is what the hospital wants to happen. Hospitals across the country have dragged hundreds of thousands of poorly trained, poorly educated nurses from the slums of the Philipines and India to work their hospitals. Why, they can pay them less. Hospitals work them like dogs and these nurses are happy to do it because they probably haven't seen $500 a month in their entire lives and it gets them out of the slums of their countries. This is another reason new grads from America can't get jobs. Its not about being a straight A student, magna cum lauda, good grades, etc. It's about THE MONEY you cost the
    facility. They don't care what you know, how well your trained - its about what you will cost them. There is hope for nursing - it's called getting unionized and until that happens the hospitals and hospital nursing administration will do anything to protect their cushy jobs. I could go on for several pages about hospital nursing administration - the new term for them is 'corporate w----s' good luck . An old Chinese proverb says "keep going in the direction your going, you'll get there.'
  11. by   royhanosn
    Money...the root of all evil. Got to love it! If you enjoy nursing it will show in the interview. Remember you have to earn your nursing stripes. Good luck.
  12. by   merrywhiterose
    It's VERY hard to get a job in a hospital if you are an older (over 45) grad. This group is much more loyal & do less job jumping, so it really doesn't make much sense.
  13. by   chuckster
    Quote from merrywhiterose
    It's VERY hard to get a job in a hospital if you are an older (over 45) grad. This group is much more loyal & do less job jumping, so it really doesn't make much sense.
    There is a lot of truth to this.

    I'm a BSN who graduated summa cum laude, a BLS instructor, ACLS, PALS & stroke certified and have more than 15 years of experience as an EMT. Also have a BA and MBA and a stellar work history with essentially no job-hopping. I've had no success in finding a nursing position in the years since I graduated and in fact have had only a handful of interviews. I have to think that the biggest reason is my age, which is readily apparent from the graduation dates on my resume. I kept my non-nursing job throughout nursing school (was in an evening/weekend program) and simply continued in it after graduation, so not finding a nursing job did not present a financial hardship. What I feel bad about though is the waste of resources expended on my behalf in becoming an RN and I am troubled by the thought that I may have inadvertantly prevented someone younger from being able to establish a career in nursing in taking what amounts to a wasted education slot.
  14. by   sunmaidliz
    No one wants to hire a new grad because new grads are wild cards! You may get a diamond or a diamond in the rough or a lump of coal that cries all the time and is constantly making stupid mistakes. You never know with a new grad and it's too much of a risk. Nursing requires a certain attitude and personality and nursing school does not teach new nurses how to be the person that makes a great bedside nurse.

    I graduated nursing school two and a half years ago and on my first job, I cried all the time, had no confidence, got bullied by the other nurses who saw me as a weak liability and lost that job three months in. It took me a year to find another job and that job crapped out too. A lot of soul searching and realizing where I went wrong was not in my skill level, not in my knowlege level, but in the kind of nurse I projected to be. Managers want a confident nurse who can takle any problem with ease and grace, a leader who can play well with others, and someone who can figure things out on her own, instead of someone who needs to be "taught". You project that in your interview, you are hired in a flash.

    And I say this because once I figured out what managers wanted and how to portray that, i got hired like THAT.

    Some hospitals like cold calls and pushy broads. Some just want to pick you out of the pile. You gotta figure out what they want and then be that. Units hire based on if they can see themselves working with well you, not because you had a great GPA, was on the social committee in nursing school, or worked as a CNA. They want the "it" factor. And most new nurses don't have the "it" factor and those are the ones who have a hard time getting jobs.

    It's just part of the game. You just gotta know how to play it. And I have a feeling the game isn't going to change and is going to be here to stay. Once nursing schools start teaching their students how to win this game, THAT'S when it will change.