"Tru Dat"

A blog about the realities, challenges, victories, comedies, and truths of recruiting


Often times informational or first round interviews are conducted via phone. While giving a great phone interview seems to be a no brainer, it can actually be more challenging than an in person meeting with a prospective employer. See below for some useful tips to ace that phone screen with the goal of proceeding to an in person meeting—

- KEEP THE ENERGY UP! It is very easy to get distracted or sound monotone on a phone call. It is of utmost importance to keep your energy up. Sound enthusiastic, eager, and alert. Be mindful of keeping this energy up throughout the entire phone call as you do not want to lose the interest of the person on the other end for even a moment. As soon as they start checking their email or scouring the deli menu, you’ve lost it.

The sound of your voice and the energy behind your words will surely influence the client when a decision is made regarding your candidacy. The end goal is to have such a great phone call that the next step is an in person interview. Remember also you are not able to express yourself via body language so you must rely on your voice and tone to convey personality and dynamism.

 - GET DRESSED FOR THE CALL! Phone screens can be appealing because you can take the call from anywhere and do not have to worry about your appearance. However, I strongly suggest getting out of bed, showering and getting dressed before the call. This will get you in the right mindset for the interview and prevent you from sounding like you’re still under the covers! It really does make a difference to look the part and feel like you are in a formal, official interview. You don’t have to wear a suit and tie, but you get the point.

 - BE CONCISE AND SUCCINCT. Often phone interviews are a bit shorter than in person meetings so make sure you get to the point and do not lose the attention of the prospective employer with very lengthy replies. The more concise you can be, the better. Remember again that your goal is to keep the attention of the person on the other line which can be difficult to do via phone so hit them with the most compelling information in a timely manner.

- CLOSE IT. You are in essence selling yourself as a candidate during the call. Without sounding desperate, express your interest in and enthusiasm for the role before you get off the phone and make it clear that you would like to pursue next steps. It is always a great thing for a prospective employer to hear and will end the call on a very positive note.


For more advice and information regarding the offer process and realistic timing, please email jodi@trurecruitment.com.









Career choices can be incredibly difficult to make, and I do not take them lightly as a recruiter. These choices can certainly change the course of someone’s life so it is not always easy to make a quick decision in light of an offer. HOWEVER, candidates must realize the impact of taking TOO LONG to make a decision.

While there can be exceptions to the rule depending on a particular scenario (i.e. A client is patient and gives a candidate more time to make a decision about an offer), my rule of thumb is that a “yes or no” decision should be made regarding an offer in 24-48 hours. Given that the interview process has likely been going on for a few weeks if not longer, candidates have plenty of time to reflect, evaluate, and assess. The good ole’ excuses of “this has all happened so quickly” or “I have barely had any time to think about this in a real way” can only serve to hurt candidates if they ultimately want to pursue the agency or company. The longer candidates wait to accept an offer, the more concern clients have regarding the candidate interest level. A recruiter can only do so much to keep a client at bay… eventually the client is going to either demand an answer or withdraw the offer— and typically the latter occurs when too much time has passed. 

My advice to candidates would be the following-

-Be realistic and mindful in terms of timing of acceptance or decline of an offer once it is made. A client is not going to wait forever even if they absolutely adore you.

-Take the time to reflect and assess as soon as the interview process begins so you do not feel as if you have to make a hasty decision once an official offer is made.

-Take the process seriously. Even if you are merely exploring new roles casually, realize that the client is actually seeking to make an hire so an offer is a very likely result of interviewing.

-Be cordial and gracious throughout the process and once the offer is made. I suggest writing a note to the client directly, thanking them for the offer and letting them know you are honored it was made in the first place.

-Review the offer and ask questions immediately so answers can be gathered and the offer assessed in totality- do not wait days before asking questions.

-Decline the offer sooner rather than later. If you know in your gut this is not the right opportunity for you, do not delay in informing the client/recruiter. There could be other candidates in the pipeline that the client does not want to lose should you decline.

-Realize the offer can be withdrawn at any time so your behavior post-offer is still being evaluated by the client.

I never intend to rush candidates or make them feel pressured. The end goal is of course a match between candidate and client, but it is also important to not burn any bridges and to respect timing throughout the process so both parties feel comfortable and happy.

For more advice and information regarding the offer process and realistic timing, please email jodi@trurecruitment.com.



I felt compelled to write a blog today about a candidate who followed his career objectives and did not give up until he landed his dream job (TODAY!). He faced major odds. When he first approached me, he was working in fashion sales and dreamed of starting a career in advertising account management at a fashion focused agency. Fashion is his passion, and he wanted to take his skillset to an advertising agency. Fashion focused advertising agencies tend to be insanely selective (as they should be), and the odds of him breaking into one of them– 1) without having to take a major pay cut and begin at entry level and 2) without typically required production experience– were bleak. I was lucky to meet him because he is such a stellar candidate, but I warned him that this would be a challenging journey. I am happy I took it with him as a source of guidance and constant support and was able to experience the joy of the end result.

Career transitions of any kind can be very challenging. Ultimately you have to knock on a ton of doors and face a handful of rejections before someone gives you a chance because they see something in you beyond the job description and direct skillset. They see potential, cultural fit, personality, drive, and determination. A candidate seeking a career transition will likely also face rejections from recruiters because a recruiter does not want to and often cannot represent candidates seeking career transitions. Instead they must present only those candidates who “fit the brief.” Rejections can surely lead to loss of hope and giving up over time, but some people have the guts to keep on.

This particular candidate knocked on a lot of doors and, as suspected, he did face a few rejections. However, he persevered and was given an offer today at what is literally his dream agency and an amazing fashion advertising agency. And he was offered an increase in salary as well. The agency saw his potential and felt he was a natural fit… all of the production skills could be taught over time!

Morale of the story: Go for your dream job, even it is in another industry or causes you to completely switch career gears. You might have to face a lot of rejections before landing it, but if you have determination you will ultimately succeed. Keep in mind that attitude, presentation, and confidence have so much to do with impressing a prospective employer, and there are employers out there who can see beyond a resume and evaluate a candidate on the total package and the value that they will surely add as they settle into the role.


As a recruiter, I deal with counteroffer situations from time to time. There is always the possibility that a company/agency will make a counteroffer in order to keep a candidate. Sometimes the candidate will accept, and sometimes decline. Sometimes candidates will even use new opportunities as ways to get a counteroffer from their current employer. From my experience, I firmly believe that it is a mistake to accept a counteroffer. This may seem biased as I am the recruiter working on the role and ultimately I want my candidate to accept the offer from my client. However, I have seen many counteroffer situations turn bad. See below for reasons why you should be fearful of that good ole’ counteroffer and really question/avoid it—

**BEING LURED BACK IN—The counteroffer is appealing because it is more $$$ and who would turn down more $$$? It is human nature to want more than we have already. However, you must take a step back and remember WHY YOU WANTED TO LEAVE YOUR CURRENT ROLE IN THE FIRST PLACE. The boss is a nightmare; the culture is the wrong fit; there is limited growth opportunity. One or more reasons led you to actively explore new opportunities. Once that counteroffer is dangled in front of you, you tend to forget why you wanted to leave. However, I urge you to refresh your memory and stick to your initial guns. That boss, that culture, that limited growth potential will still be there after you accept that counteroffer. Ultimately more money will not buy professional happiness. And professional happiness directly affects personal happiness.

**WHY WEREN’T YOU RECOGNIZED AND REWARDED FOR YOUR VALUE PREVIOUSLY- In the excitement of getting that counteroffer, you tend to forget that you have been hoping for and even pushing for that promotion and raise internally without any success. Your desires and needs have in fact fallen upon dead ears for months. Senior management has offered the promotion and raise in what is a desperate attempt to retain you. A company/agency that really valued you would have proactively promoted or given a raise without this type of provocation. It definitely begs the question of why you weren’t rewarded and recognized before you threatened to resign.

**DISTRUST WILL SURELY ENSUE- Let’s be honest here. You have told your boss that you received another offer so now your boss knows that those long lunches and frequent doctor’s appointments (during which you missed a good amount of work!) were actually interviews. Your boss knows YOU LIED. This inevitably will result in distrust on the part of your superior and senior management. They may fight to keep you because they cannot stand to lose you at this point, but you will be one of the first people they get rid of when the going gets tough and they need to make layoffs. And there will be major awkwardness as well. Every time you have a dermatology appointment or lunch with an old friend runs over, you will get suspecting stares and perhaps accusations! And they will have no problem lying to you also as they meet candidates to replace you during their lunch hour.

**YOU MIGHT BECOME TOO EXPENSIVE- I worked with a candidate who ultimately accepted a counteroffer because the counteroffer was ridiculously high. It put her well above and beyond the average salary for someone with her years of experience and made her “overpaid.” This is not necessarily a positive thing in the long term because she will likely be boxed out of opportunities when looking externally in the future. She has become too expensive because of a counteroffer. She is stuck at her current agency in many senses because of this.

THE MORALE OF THE STORY- Counteroffers are always a possibility, and some candidates even explore new roles and entertain other offers JUST TO GET A COUNTEROFFER (not cool.). I really urge candidates to think long and hard before accepting a counteroffer for the reasons above. Counteroffers understandably cause an emotional roller coaster and raise a lot of questions, but the smartest candidate is one who will stick to his or her guns and walk away from the lure of more money in order to pursue a better opportunity.


I am a huge proponent of crafting a succinct, compelling, and relevant story around your resume. When you think about it, your resume is a shortened version of your career’s life story. It wouldn’t be easy to tell your personal life story in a page or to explain it in a concise manner during an interview, so it is often a challenge to craft an impactful one page resume and to stay focused while walking someone thru it.

Some time ago, when I was having a lot of difficulty during my own job search in the advertising world, a mentor helped me immensely to revise my resume, craft a hard-hitting story around it, and eventually land a great job. Knowing how to work my resume made a world of difference because I walked into the interview feeling more confident about my presentation and my ability to field questions. It also kept me on point when answering questions as I was able to pull out the most relevant parts of my experience rather than give a long-winded version of events.

Below are some tips regarding how to work your resume for interview purposes:

-Revise your resume (refer to my “Spring Cleaning blog for helpful tips) so it is a strong one-page summary of your professional experience and highlights your relevant skillset and most impressive accomplishments.

-Practice walking thru your resume. Do it in front of a mirror or with a friend. Sit down and start from the bottom, working your way to the top. Of course do not be thrown off if an interviewer asks questions out of order, but get comfortable with talking about different roles, agencies, and companies. Please note you should not sound too rehearsed but rather come across naturally.

-Learn how to present your experience in a succinct and eloquent manner. I am not encouraging you to be curt or skim over important details. I am encouraging you to not be long-winded. One of the worst mistakes a candidate can make is going on and on about a topic that truly isn’t of interest to the interviewer. This can seriously be a deal breaker. Keep the interviewer engaged.

-Learn how to field questions you don’t understand or for which you don’t have a good answer. In other words, be able to think fast on your feet. For example, perhaps you have never written scopes of work. Instead of just saying “no, I have not written scopes of work” say “no, I have not written scopes of work, but I have done xyz which is quite similar and shows that I can easily learn how to perform this duty.”

-Know how to position your experience so it is relevant to the role at hand. The experience you highlight from your resume when pursuing an Account Director role at an advertising agency is going to be different from the experience you highlight when pursuing a Marketing Director role at a fashion house. Stay relevant throughout the interview and know which parts of your resume to speak to in order to impress the interviewer and relate to the job description.

-Have good reasons for why you have left each position. This is not something that is written on your resume, but it is surely a question you will be asked. Be prepared with reasons for your departure from each role, and know how to position them in a way that doesn’t make you look like a job hopper. If you were part of layoffs previously, don’t be afraid to be honest and remain confident despite this unfortunate circumstance.

-Like your resume. You have to feel good about your experience in order to present it in an appealing way. Learn to like every part of it, even that awful boss you had a few years ago. What did he or she teach you at the end of the day that you could craft into your professional story? Think these things thru before walking into the interview as negatives can often be turned into positives.

I hope this is helpful, especially to those candidates who feel like they are always bombing interviews. Interviewing is truly an art form that everyone can master, and it starts with learning how to work that piece of paper! It is easy to give up after a few bad interviews, but hopefully this blog will shake you into action and get you started on learning how to work your resume to its best advantage.


I was inspired to write this blog today based upon a recent conversation I had with a strong account management candidate. He was an Account Executive with 3 years of experience and had an appealing integrated background at a couple of reputable agencies. I loved his LinkedIn profile and was very excited to connect with him as he looked perfect for one of my roles. When we spoke, I was taken aback by his high salary. He was earning over $70k with a little under 3 years of experience! Frankly, he was the most expensive Account Executive I had ever spoken to regarding new opportunities. My first inkling was to think perhaps he was not telling the truth regarding his salary, but he did walk me smoothly and confidently thru his compensation trajectory. He also was in a position where he was playing several roles at his current boutique agency so it sounded like the agency was overly compensating him to keep him happy in an often chaotic and demanding position. Clearly it was not this candidate’s fault that he was overly paid for his experience. HOWEVER, when discussing his targeted salary if he were to make a move, he expressed a desire for an increase. He had absolutely no concept of how well paid he was and clearly felt entitled to even more money. He also felt entitled to a title promotion to Account Supervisor and was going to push for this internally at his review.

Conversations along this line with candidates at this level have become pretty common. It makes me think back to when I was an Account Executive earning $40k and incredibly happy to be in the advertising industry and to be learning in an exciting and fast-paced environment. What happened to those days? Times have of course changed, and that is completely normal. Salaries have changed as well– a knowledge of and experience in emerging media and technology can surely demand higher compensation. The result is often inflated salaries for more junior candidates. I cannot help to feel that many of these younger candidates have become more concerned with salaries and titles than actually proving themselves on the job and truly learning. It is never a good sign when the first question they ask me revolves around compensation and has nothing to do with the actual agency or role.

I love a “go getter” just as much as the next recruiter, but I advise these younger candidates to take a step back and try to enjoy the journey more. Appreciate the lessons you are learning every day and be thankful for great career opportunities. Success will come in time. There is no need to rush it and push it because you’re really starting to miss the point. Part of my job is to ground candidates and help them to be more realistic in their expectations, but an even bigger part of my job is to help them to see the bigger picture and to slow down a bit and enjoy the ride. It can be an even better one if you don’t focus too much on the trajectory.


While I am not a self-proclaimed fashionista or the best dressed lady on the block, an important part of my job as a recruiter is to advise my candidates on what to wear and what not to wear to an interview. A great resume and relevant skillset are of utmost importance when meeting a hiring manager or HR professional. However, appearance also plays a critical role in making positive first impressions. Thus candidates must be mindful of choosing the appropriate attire for an interview setting. See below for some tips-

-Think about where you are interviewing when choosing an outfit. For example, if the interview is at a hip and innovative digital agency, do not wear a suit and tie as this will appear too corporate. If the interview is at a more corporate firm, avoid a funky look and wear a more buttoned up and polished ensemble. You don’t want to fake it, but try to fit in with the overall environment and culture appearance wise so as to not come off as “wrong” or “irrelevant”

-Cover up! You would be surprised at how many candidates show too much cleavage at an interview. Don’t get me wrong- cleavage can be attractive and very sexy. However, it can also be extremely distracting during an interview setting as well as send the wrong message. So button up as much as possible so as not to reveal too much.

-Show some personal style. While the more corporate agencies or companies will not care quite as much about how stylish candidates appear (i.e. wearing designer labels or pairing that funky Urban Outfitters skirt with your new LAMB heels), adding a hint of personal style is always a great idea and a smart way to stand out amongst the competition. For example, pair a beautiful necklace or earrings with that suit or wear a gorgeous purse to compliment your outfit. It is smart to accessorize to add some flair to your ensemble and make it more memorable.

-Don’t look sloppy! Wearing jeans and a ripped t-shirt to an interview (even if the agency is extremely casual) will never make a good first impression. Candidates should always take pride in their appearance for an interview so the hiring manager or HR professional feels that they care about making that great impression. Sloppy just won’t cut it.

-Be careful to not overdo it. If you’re interviewing at J. Crew, do not drape yourself in solely J. Crew fashions—that is just cheesy and forced. It might be a good idea to carry a J. Crew clutch or wear a nice pair of J. Crew flats as an ode to the company. However, candidates must still let their own personal style and taste shine thru rather than be a walking advertisement for the company with whom they are interviewing.

These are just a handful of helpful tips regarding interview attire. Believe it or not, an outfit can truly make or break an interview. So don’t be afraid to ask your recruiter for his or her opinion regarding the proper interview dress code, and again do your best to dress for success.


I am so excited that Spring is finally in the air after a long and dreary winter. The changing of the seasons is a beautiful time and one that typically evokes feelings of new beginnings and fresh starts. Just as we bring out our vacuums and windex to spring clean our apartments and homes, we too should use this time of new sunlight and warmth to dust off our resumes. Admit it- it has been a while and likely way too long since you’ve re-visted your resume and given it a nice update based upon your recent experience, new responsibilities, or even new role internally or externally. Even if you are not actively seeking a new opportunity, an updated resume is smart to have in your arsenal just in case you need it. For instance, your absolute dream job at Google pops up on LinkedIn, and you think “what the heck, I have nothing to lose by sending my resume!” The job has been active for two weeks, however, and likely the company is already meeting candidates. Wouldn’t it be great to have an updated resume to forward in a moment’s notice? Odds are it will take you a day or more to update, especially given how busy you are in your current role, so take some time over the weekend or after work hours to spring clean this document! See below for some helpful tips on updating your resume:

-Keep it one page, if possible. If you are more senior or your industry calls for more detail than most, the resume can be slightly over a page. However, the most attractive resumes are usually one page long. Human resources professionals, hiring manager, and recruiters alike will be turned off by a resume that is more than one page as they want a “quick take” of your experience. Most people do not have the time or the desire to read beyond one page.

-Cut out the fat. Include more detail in your current positions and less detail in your past positions. Your first position as a junior Marketing Manager in 2000 is not nearly as important as your current Senior Marketing Director role in 2014. If your roles from way back yonder are causing your resume to spill onto a second page, cut some of that fat and focus on your current positons as they are the most relevant. **Some candidates will think they are qualified for a role if they have relevant experience from 10 years ago. This is really not true so do not waste paper by expounding upon your first jobs too much. Also while your extracurricular collegiate activities are truly impressive, cut that fat out too if you need to make more room for recent experience.

-Be succinct and compelling throughout. Anyone reading your resume will be turned off by run on thoughts and sentences so keep it to the point. Also use hard-hitting language that will make your experience sound even stronger. There is a big dfference between “oversaw the team that launched this new product” and “led the team that launched this new product.” Do not speak passively and softly on your resume. Use words to signify leadership, confidence, and growth.

-Include your year of graduation. You can certainly confer with a professional for more advice on this topic. However, the general rule of thumb is to include your year of graduation because it either looks like you 1) didn’t graduate, 2) are extremely old, or 3) are hiding something if you don’t include it on your resume.

-Include an objective only if it is relevant and helpful. Objectives included at the top of the resume can be a differentiating factor, but they can also serve as unnecessary fluff. I advise candidates to use the objective strategically. For example, in the case of a desired career transition. Let’s say you are a project manager looking to transition into account management. Your resume likely screams “I am a project manager” and you will be targeted for project management positions. This is when a clear objective comes in handy… “I am a project management candidate seeking an account management position as my passion is to act as a liasion between the client and agency in a creative enviornment.”

-Position your experience according to the job at hand. If you are pursuing a role in strategy, highlight all of your strategy experience in each of your positions. If you are pursuing a role in graphic design, do the same. You may have diverse and vast experience, but do your best to position your skills and background to match the job to which you are applying.

-Keep the format clean and simple. Candidates can often get too creative when formatting their resumes. Unless you are a creative candidate who naturally adds some design flavor to the resume, you really should keep the layout clean, simple, and easy to read and navigate. It should not take the reader ten minutes to locate your work experience.

-Note your promotions to show growth. You should use your resume as a bragging ground for your success. For example, if you have worked at Ralph Lauren for 5 years, note the progression of your roles on your resume (you can even include corresponding dates). For example, note that you were an Account Coordinator from 2011-2012, Account Manager from 2012-2013, and an Account Supervisor from 2013-present. Prospective employers love seeing growth and development, so pat yourself on the back and include this. You run the risk of looking stagnant if you don’t show growth.

-Don’t lie. Be honest on your resume! Your statements and claims can easily be checked out so be sure to not take credit where credit isnt due and don’t embellish your experience in order to appear as something you are not. It is very easy to verify this information, so be truthful.

-Use correct grammar. This might seem like a given, but so many candidates use improper grammar on their resumes. This is a complete turn off and will jeopardize your chances of getting an initial interview. Not all of us are amazing writers or great with English grammar, so when in doubt have a second or third set of eyes review your resume and catch any glaring mistakes. It is better to be safe than sorry.

-Have fun with it! Updating the resume can be a dreaded activity. You would be surprised at how many candidates miss out on applying for great positions because they do not want to take the time to make resume updates. I understand this is not the ideal activity on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon. However, just as you do when you dust off those shelves at the first sign of spring, crank up the music (maybe even pour a glass of wine) and update away! It might even turn into a bit of a walk down memory lane for you.


“The Good Old Thank You Note (or Email)”

I have admittedly written this blog before, but I cannot stress the importance of the thank you note enough times. Let’s face it… thank you notes can be time consuming and the last thing you want to do after a long day. However, they really serve some important purposes following a candidate’s interview with a potential employer. See below for why the thank you note is critical. Also note that while it is lovely to send a hand written letter to the interviewer, it is best to write an email so it is received before too much time passes.

-The thank you note makes you look better. Sending a note which thanks the interviewer for his or her time makes you look courteous and kind. Hopefully they already think you’re a gem, but this can only add to your allure. Plus honestly it truly is a common courtesy!

-The thank you note can address any issues or mistakes that may have occurred during the interview. For example, if you did not mention your experience on a particular account and this would be a very relevant and compelling piece of information, use the thank you note as the place to include it. You should obviously do your best to ace the interview and not have any regrets, but certain things can be made up for (if positioned correctly) in the thank you note.

-The thank you note can be a great way to stress again how excited you are about the role and the agency. Don’t be too over the top, but certainly say that the meeting amplified your enthusiasm about the role. Some candidates are not great at expressing their enthusiasm during an interview (this was part of a previous blog), so the thank you note can serve as a way to let the hiring manager know that you are psyched about the opportunity.

-The thank you note can make you stand apart from other candidates who do not send them. You’d be surprised at how many people forget to send thank yous, even though it is such an easy thing to do. Hiring managers do take note of this more than you think! I am not saying that the thank you note will get you the job. However, it does make you even more appealing if you’re already top of mind.

The moral of this story is take five minutes after an interview to write a thank you note. It can be short and sweet, but just write one! The thank you note plays into sealing the deal more than you realize and should be a common practice among candidates moving forward.


“The Benefits of Incorporating Team Members into the Interview Process”

Every agency and company has a different approach to the interview process. Some like to conduct initial phone interviews followed by in person; some prefer many rounds of in person interviews during which the candidate meets just about everyone at the company; and some prefer it short and sweet.

Whichever method is utilized, I strongly believe that there is a huge benefit for both client and candidate to incorporating a team member or team members into the interview process. I am not suggesting that the candidate needs to meet the entire team. However, the client should choose one or two key team members who the candidate can meet, even if this person just happens to “pop into the room” after the candidate meets with the hiring manager or other senior leaders. Integrating some of the team into the interview process can do the following-

1. Help to avoid a bad hire. If the team doesn’t feel a chemistry with the candidate, it likely is not an ideal fit and will not result in an optimal work environment for anyone. It makes sense to figure this out sooner rather than later.

2. Provide more insight to the candidate regarding the agency and the role. Meeting someone on the team- perhaps even a peer- can make the candidate feel more at ease and allow him or her to ask questions about the day to day and the realities of the position and culture. It also makes the candidate feel like the client is really invested in the process and has nothing to hide about the role!!

3. Help the client to gather even more information about the candidate. The candidate will likely reveal more and perhaps let a more personal side shine thru when meeting potential team members.

4. Act as a safeguard for the client as the candidate can never use the excuse that he or she did not get a clear or thorough sense of the opportunity.

The client must choose these team members very wisely and strategically or the end result can be disastrous. I have run into the issue of team members being too honest and maybe even a bit negative when speaking to potential hires. For example, they have scared a candidate away by venting about long hours and short vacations or they have gotten way too comfortable and revealed the loss of business or agency/company hardships.  A team member should position the agency in a positive light and tout its benefits rather than its downfalls.

It is not a deal breaker if a candidate doesn’t meet team members during the interview process. However, I have found that if executed properly it can actually affect the outcome in a very positive way.

After all, this role is hopefully the next long term step in the candidate’s career so meeting his or her new partners in crime is usually essential to assessing the opportunity in a more holistic way and hopefully becoming even more excited about it!