Ask a Recruiter: Adrian Russo, Equip Consulting

Vladimir Popovic
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Adrian Russo, recruiter
Adrian Russo

Q: Tell me something about yourself and your business. How did you start?

A: I am a seasoned Technical Recruiter with over 10 years of industry experience.  I’ve held every position including Recruiter, Branch Manager, and Recruiting Consultant, however, my background in information technology is what sets me apart from my peers.  I am a Microsoft Certified Professional and Graduate Candidate in Information Systems.  Beyond an academic background, I also develop functional, working solutions to solve recruiting problems.  I developed a solution to capture and serialize application data from disparate social media sources. This type of technical experience is a game-changer in the recruiting process and helps to bring added value to clients.  There are few individuals in staffing that can match this level of expertise. 

As an independent consultant, my clients expect a different recruiting experience from our partnership. My expertise is offered exclusively through “fee for service”, so hiring managers expect results and they are rarely disappointed. I’ve found that I can save clients time and money by operating under this model.  They know that the candidates they receive will be adequately screened, fully-qualified and technically relevant prior to reaching their desk.  The average placement fee for a Web Developer is $20,000, yet my clients typically spend 90% less through my company.  Anyone with questions is encouraged to reach out via the links provided below.

Twitter – @adrianrusso82

LinkedIn –

Consulting –

Email –

Q: What are the three most common mistakes applicants make with their resumes?

A: The three most common errors that I notice are spelling, incorrect contact information, and grammar.  Everyone makes mistakes however it is of vital importance to ensure your email and phone number are correct.  I can overlook spelling and grammar mistakes for a strong candidate, but it is nearly impossible for me to contact you if there is inaccurate information listed. 

Q: How much time do you spend on one resume at first glance?

A: The length of time that I look at a resume depends on several factors.  The objective of screening a resume is to discern whether or not the applicant is a good fit for the position.  If I see that they are missing critical experience required for the position or they do not meet the education/ certification requirement, then the review can be very short. 

Q: What is the first thing you look at in resume?

A: This is another question that does not have a straight answer.  In the world of information technology application architecture, infrastructure, methodologies, and granular programming techniques differ greatly from enterprise to enterprise.  As such, employers will dictate firm requirements of applicants for the position.  In reviewing applicants, the first thing I do is ensure they meet the minimum requirements set forth by the hiring managers.

Q: What are the three main eliminating factors for you when you review resumes?

A: Experience, education, and certifications.

Q: What are 3 main attributes of a resume of a candidate that will be called for an interview?

A: The experience listed on the resume must reflect the duties espoused on the job description.  If I am seeking a Front End Developer for a job that requires responsive design experience, I need to see that he or she has the requisite skills required for the position.  I would expect that the candidate would include links to websites that they developed in the past.  From there I will check the source for CSS mixins (@media) or browser sniffing techniques.  Candidates should expect that someone on the hiring team will validate their experience prior to receiving a call. A good recruiter will do their homework and prepare specific questions based on a review of code/source.  My job as a Technical Recruiter is to ensure that my hiring managers or clients only receive candidates that are fully qualified for the position. 

Q: What do you think of graphic and video resumes?

A: I’m not a fan of graphic resumes.  I think they detract from the actual content and really do not serve a meaningful purpose in the application process. 

Q: What do you think of a functional resume format and what do you do when you see one?

A: Functional formats can be a red flag.  I want to know what a person has done in each position they held.  I look to see a progression of responsibilities or consistency in performance from one employer to the next.  A candidate can convey a much more accurate picture of their brand in a chronological format.  When I see a functional resume, it is usually because the individual held many positions in a short period of time.  The one caveat to this is independent contractors.  In this case, it can be acceptable to use a functional resume to express experience relevant to the position.

Q: Can you share up to five quick tips for applicants in order to pass screening?

  1. Answer all questions honestly
  2. Provide enough information to accurately and fully answer the question
  3. Understand that it is incumbent upon the candidate to complete the screen prior to receiving a call. Do not expect a call if you fail to complete the screen.

Q: What is your position on photos on resumes?

A: Don’t do it. 

Q: What is your opinion regarding resume length?

A: The length of a resume can vary anywhere from 1-7 pages depending on the environment.  Resumes for federal positions in the United States are expected to be five-plus pages (single space).  Employers in academia expect faculty to list all of their published work and presentations, which can span upwards of seven-plus pages.  I think the length of a resume depends on the candidate, type of employer and experience.  With that said, a typical resume should be anywhere between one and three pages.

Q: What are the three main issues undergraduates or fresh graduates usually have in their resume?

  1. No bullets explaining their experience.
  2. Over-stating academic experience.
  3. Not tailoring their resume to the job description.

Q: Do you check references? What is your experience?

A: I always check references.  I’ve only uncovered “red flags” from references on a few occasions, but it is still a necessary step.

Q: Do you read cover letters?

A: Rarely.

Q: What is your advice on making employment gaps less prominent on a resume?

A: I wouldn’t address gaps in employment unless it was considerably more than 6 months.  Given the current fiscal climate, it is common for individuals to be unemployed after a layoff.  The unemployment rate in the US is 5.7% however when you take into account the people who have stopped looking for work, that number jumps to nearly 12%.  We’ve experienced a global recession over the last six years, so it is not uncommon to see lengthy periods of time between jobs.

Q: What would you like to see in resumes more often?

A: I’d like to see technical resumes include a short bullet about their production environment for each job.  A simple bullet like the one below goes a long way in screening resumes.

  • Apache Struts 2, JBoss, Oracle 11g, Toad for Oracle SQL Tuning & Database Development, Eclipse, SVN, HP Quality Center

This short bullet succinctly conveyed the web framework, RDBMS, IDE, version control and testing environment of their shop. 

Q: What are the most irrelevant parts of a resume for you?

A: Activities, personal interests, hobbies, sports and religious/political affiliations.

Q: Do you check online presence of a candidate exclusively through links provided on a resume or you dig deeper?

A: It really depends on the situation.  When I check the source of previous work, it is always with the job description in mind.  If the duties call prior experience wrapping JavaScript callback functions and that is in the code provided, then there is no need to dig deeper. If the granular coding techniques listed in the description are not present in the links provided, then I will work with the individual and dig a little bit deeper. 

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