Employment Tips Q&A with Toby Boeckman

2024 Employment Tips with Heitmeyer Director of Recruiting, Toby Boeckman


You have extensive experience in the recruiting industry- what does that look like?

I’ve been working in the recruiting industry for over thirteen years now, about a decade of that spent overseeing recruiting teams. Currently I act as the Director of Recruiting for Heitmeyer and it’s been one of the more exciting positions so far. The financial services industry moves fast and requires a lot of internal coordination for us to get the job done effectively.


This year’s job market has been notoriously difficult for jobseekers. What differences have you seen in 2024 than previous years?

In general, companies are taking much longer to make decisions with new hires and reducing their hiring pools. Uncertainties with regulations and the economy are pushing companies to be cautious with their next moves. Employees are likely used to the hiring frenzy from the past few years which is now cooling down.

We are seeing increased offshore movement for technical roles like application development and engineering. There is also an increase in returning to office, with both candidates and companies showing a desire to get back to working in person. That means you are going to see less postings for remote positions and are going to have to hunt for work locally, which can decrease availability.


Have you seen an increase in the use of AI tools to assess resumes prior to reaching a recruiter?

It’s certainly something that is increasing, but nothing we have felt is more useful than the human touch. Personal interaction is essential to understanding a candidate’s full picture. We want to pick up the phone and get to know you to ensure a great fit.

I spoke to a candidate recently who did an actual AI interview. Speaking to an actual AI bot and not a human. The bot has certain buzzwords that, if you don’t mention them, or mention the wrong ones, instantly cancel you out. He apparently didn’t answer a question correctly and the bot promptly shut off, ending the interview. That is going to freeze out so many good candidates.


Your team sorts through hundreds of interviews a day. What are you best tips to get a resume to really stand out?

First of all, make sure you tailor your resume to the position. I should be able to determine what you are applying for without looking at the job. If you are mentioning technical terms, I’ll know if you are applying to be a Business Analyst, Engineer, etc.

Focus on strong, specific keywords. For instance, a Data Analyst position likely needs experience with SQL, Software Engineers/Developers need Programming Languages. These skills will be listed in the description and need to be clearly laid out in your resume. But more or less, we try and speak to candidates to really understand them beyond what’s on paper. Your resume just opens the door, the rest is selling yourself.

As far as formatting, you can start with skills listed out or using a brief intro. It’s not paramount, it just needs to be easy to read. I’ve seen resumes are typically read for 6-10 seconds. That is a short window to grab attention. So stay away from paragraphs and long, 2-3 sentence bullet points.

When you’re reviewing your resume, ask yourself: Is it easy to read? Make sure you have the relevant keywords and skills listed. These are more important than your titles.


What are some instant turnoffs in an interview?

Don’t be too informal. Plan for a professional environment and represent yourself in the best way possible. First impressions matter. Certainly, we as recruiters will try and make you feel comfortable to allow you to deliver the best version of yourself. We do take notes on your presentation and relay that to our clients. There is an abundance of strong candidates right now, so clients are factoring in EQ along with skills and experience

Afterwords, urgency to follow up is important. Get back to us so we know you’re really interested. If we reach out to you, please respond quickly. We understand that it’s as important to employees as it is to clients to find the best position. But if we are making an offer, time is of the essence. Delaying to shop around can lead to losing multiple opportunities.


What hard skills are most in demand right now?

Just off the top of my head- titles and aspects surround data engineering, data analysis, database experience, visualization, machine learning. Banks take time to adopt to new technologies and operate on buying cycles for software. When those cycles come up, we see a huge uptick in these types of openings.


The job market has been especially difficult on recent college graduates. What advice can you give to them and current students?

Start early and don’t be picky. Get your foot in the door. I would likely pick someone who worked as a teller throughout college over a recent MBA grad with no experience, all things equal. Grab an internship if you can. If you’re a recent grad, don’t feel like taking an entry level position, or something below what you expected, is a failure. You’ll learn valuable skills and make great connections.

Right now, just stay the course. The market will correct itself and opportunities will increase.


How can job seekers work with Heitmeyer?

We are always looking to expand our network and have new positions regularly. Head to our resume page to create a profile, or you can email me personally at: