Have you ever had a call from a professional recruiter?
Were you intrigued with the position, answered a few questions, and then waited and waited, and never heard another word?
Or maybe when you changed jobs a few years ago, you had several calls from recruiters, went on several interviews arranged by a recruiter, and a couple of them led to offers, which you declined, and you ultimately took a job in which your own network found you the position?
Or perhaps every job you have had in the last 20 years was because of a call from a recruiter, and if you ever make another change, you’ll start by contacting a recruiter?
I know people with each of these three results from recruiters. I’m a professional recruiter. And the employment world looks a little different when you are a professional recruiter.
Here are a few tips from a recruiter’s perspective:
- Consider a recruiter only if you have worked at least five years: If you are relatively new to your profession, it’s not as likely you’ll find recruiters helpful. With the ease of the internet at the finger tips of all, including hiring managers, junior-level positions are typically filled by employers themselves.
- Stay employed: Hiring managers today seem to have a pretty strong bias toward candidates who are already employed, so make your connection while you are still employed, if possible. If you are out of work, or underemployed, you’ll need a good story, and may want to consider employing yourself.
- Determine whether to call the company first or the recruiter: If you’re interested in a particular company, and you’ve networked to a decision-maker, go directly to the company. If you don’t know anyone at the company, and you talk with a recruiter who does have a personal relationship with the company and/or a hiring manager, utilize that relationship, and go through the recruiter.
- Target your niche recruiters, and cultivate. Begin by identifying niche recruiter agencies that pursue the types of jobs, the industries, and the areas of the country where you would like to work. Check the niche agency job postings on their website often, and when your experience fits a job well that is posted, pursue an acquaintance with someone in that agency. ‘I match the requirements well to a job you have posted’ is a good tactic to begin a productive conversation with a recruiter.
- Make yourself ‘findable’ when a recruiter does a search: Keep your on-line profiles (LinkedIn, Monster, CareerBuilder, etc.) up to date, and use as many ‘keywords’ in your niche as possible. You can add key words as you hear of positions that sound interesting. Recruiters look for candidates on these sites.
- Recruiters find people for jobs (not jobs for people): Although at times recruiters may offer to tweak your resume or suggest some interviewing tips, do not mistake the recruiter for your agent. Recruiters get paid by the client, and will take care of the client; that’s who’s paying them for their services.
- Communication with a recruiter may be helpful: Recruiters can provide you good information about what they see in the market place in a particular industry or type of job. They may (or may not) be courteous, generous in providing useful information, and prompt in getting back to you. Let me say it again: remember how the recruiter gets paid – when they fill a job; that’s what drives a recruiter’s interactions with you.
- Make the recruiter your friend: Try throwing the recruiter some business. Offer an introduction to somebody within your network who’s looking and who would welcome contact with a recruiter. The recruiter may return the favor by keeping you in mind for future jobs.
- Approach a recruiter like it’s a game of poker: You want to appear confident, poised, and with a bit of panache. Be aggressive and strategic, not intent on answering every job posting you can find. If you respond to jobs to which you are marginally qualified, you are creating a bad impression. A sense of desperation is a turn-off to recruiters, leery of wasting time on someone who has been turned down by a bunch of companies.
- Be prepared and know the right kind of questions to ask the recruiter when one calls you about a job.
Stay tuned for our next article which will share the Top 7 Questions to Ask a Recruiter when they call.
If handled correctly, recruiters are a resource and a potential avenue. Know how to approach them, and when; they may be the answer to finding your next interesting position.