Executive recruiters (or headhunters) can be a useful part of your job search marketing plan. But be warned: Recruiters do not work for the job seeker! You are NOT a priority.
Recruiters want to hit homeruns with CLIENTS, the companies that pay recruiters when the recruiters recommend a talented person to fill a vacancy. Recruiters will NOT help you find a job unless they believe one of their clients could use your talents.
They have to talk to a lot of candidates (kiss a lot of frogs?) before they find the right combination of skills, abilities and behavior that will be a good match. Recruiters won’t spend a lot of time with you because they have to talk to so many people. You are lucky if you get one conversation. But a good recruiter who likes your background will put your resume aside in case they find an opportunity that might be a match for your skills. Don’t expect a callback unless that happens.
Recruiters are looking for candidates that interview well, and who can present star-like qualities. If you are prepared to be that kind of candidate, then connecting with good recruiter in your field can be one part (but not the only part) of your job search marketing plan.
Bottom line, a recruiter will not be your new best friend. I don’t want to hear you say, “This recruiter is helping me find a job.” Unless they need someone like you to fill and open opportunity. No worries. Consider organizing a recruiter campaign to reach out to recruiters, upload your resume, talk to someone if you are lucky, then move on to the next item on your job search marketing plan.
To add a recruiter relationship (or ten) to your job search plan, one directory lists recruiters in every industry and locale in the world – the Kennedy’s Online Recruiters Directory.
The Kennedy Directory is a convenient way of researching recruiters that you may want to approach. Recruiters are sorted by professional specialty such as manufacturing engineer, information technology leadership or human resource management.
As you open this link, click on “For All Job Hunters”. Then select your Industry and state. Consider leaving “State” blank since recruiters often work across state lines.
Use the resulting list to research recruiters who might be useful to you. Or rather, recruiters who might find you useful in a search they are handling. If you are in a sought-after specialty, it might be likely that a recruiter will lead you to an attractive opportunity.
Working with a Recruiter.
Remember that recruiters expect you to answer their questions directly, with candor, honesty, and a positive focus on where your career has been and is headed.
The money question must be answered for recruiters to work with you. I’ve heard recruiters advise candidates, “Tell me exactly what you were making or I will hang up immediately.” Answer with clarity and honesty. Lying, if discovered (at any time) is a deal-breaker. You can offer a range to the question of how much you will need to make a change. If you are not clear about the answer, however, you may be wasting your time. Recruiters know what their client will pay. Is it a fit? Is it a match? Be clear in your own mind what you need, and what you want. That’s a secret to a good relationship with a recruiter.
Build a relationship with some recruiters in your field. Recommend people if they ask. Give insight into a company if they ask. Consider doing some recruiters a favor. They remember who helps them and who does not return their calls. It might come back to help you in the future.
Recruiters are not paid to follow Emily Post etiquette rules on keeping you up to date on what’s going on. They will be brief, almost abrupt. They will not hold your hand. They will only talk to you when it is convenient or in their own best interests. Recruiters talk to between 20 and 60 people for a job. They are on the phone all the time so a recruiter will not typically have the time to email or return every call. If you don’t hear from them, they have moved on, and so should you. If you hear back from a recruiter, that means you are still in the hunt, and that is the objective of every interview – continue the conversation.
Executive recruiters or headhunters are not the primary way to find a job. It is one part of a complex, multi-faceted job search marketing plan. But if they find you and you are a great fit, your search may be finished.
What success have you had with recruiters? How have you utilized recruiters as part of your job search marketing plan? Share your comments below!
Check out The Interview Doctor’s “Tell Me About Yourself” worksheet to be better prepared to answer the question that can stump so many people in job interviews!