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Demystifying the Recruiter

hughcard3040 Demystifying the Recruiter

Cartoon credit: Hugh MacLeod

Job seekers often think recruiters can be the solution to finding new employment or making a career change. While it is very true a recruiter can be incredibly helpful in a job search, it is important to understand a few key points in order to avoid a disappointing outcome.

Understand how recruiters work
Recruiters are compensated by their client companies - not by candidates. Recruiters do not work for you, they work with you. A recruiter's time is spent where it will best serve the client since compensation is based on a successful candidate placement. Unfortunately, that means most recruiters can't interview everyone who sends a resume or expresses interest unless there is a good chance he or she fits a current job specification.

Recruiters don't work with career changers

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Recruiters are expected by their clients to find people who are an exact match for the position and who are currently working in their field. If you are looking to make a career transition (i.e. sales to PR), then skip connecting with recruiters. Ditto if you are seeking an entry-level job.

If you are looking to make a slight shift into a parallel industry (i.e. tech PR to consumer PR) or a different type of position in the same industry, then a recruiter may be able to help you.

Recruiters are not resume writers or career consultants
It is not appropriate to ask a recruiter to help you write your resume, critique it, give you individual career coaching, or "put in a good word" with their contacts, especially if you are not currently working on an engagement with them.

It's not to say though recruiters won't give you advice. I'm more than willing to give appropriate career advice to candidates who respect my time and expertise. Building a long-term relationship with a recruiter can be a definite career booster, just be careful not to abuse the relationship.

Treat recruiters the same as you would treat a potential employer This means timely follow-up and honesty throughout the process. It also means being respectful of their time. If you wouldn't ask an employer to interview you at 8:00 PM, don't ask it of a recruiter.

Be honest and open throughout the process. download Metoroporisu A good recruiter doesn't want to make a bad match. Nobody wins when an employer and employee break up too soon and there isn't a recruiter on the planet who wants to do a replacement search for free. Make your career goals, questions, and concerns heard throughout the process.

Build a long-term relationship with a recruiter in your industry. If you are not a fit or not in a position to make a move, recruiters will appreciate your referrals. An appreciative recruiter will remember your generosity and professionalism when you fit the bill for future opportunities. The first thing I do when I get a search is write down the top five people I know who would be a good fit for the search before checking my database, posting to my network, or reaching out for referrals. Being on the short list is a good place to be.

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7 Comments - Add yours!

Jacob Share from JobMob (February 3rd, 2009)

Refreshing, Lindsay. I wish that I’d known all this when I began my first job searches years ago, would have saved a lot of frustration.

Tweeted and Stumbled this for you:

Andrea (February 3rd, 2009)

It is refreshing to see someone putting this information out there. I work as an Office Coordinator in a Recruting company, and you understand how often people say that they can’t find any information about Job Searching online…Thank you for taking the time to help educate. I know I had a lot of questions like this when I first started looking for work.

Apolinaras "Apollo" Sinkevicius (February 3rd, 2009)

In my experience I have found that as you climb the “ladder”, you must get a lot more selective with recruiters you choose to allow close to yourself. This business is full of very unprofessional practitioners. I have my list of recruiters I consider the best and have a very good relationship. Not only do I connect them with people in my network, but I also have sent some leads. Unfortunately those recruiters are in absolute minority. Sad fact, but I hope things will improve just like in realestate where people who joined the ranks for wrong reasons self-selected out.

Lindsay Olson (February 3rd, 2009)

Jacob – thank you!

Apollo – I definitely agree with you. Every industry has their share of unscrupulous practitioners and recruiting is definitely among them. In order to evaluate a “good” recruiter from a “bad” recruiter though its important that candidates understand how third party firms work to make sure they are judging with reasonable expectations. It’s equally important that candidates feel comfortable with the recruiter(s) with whom they choose to work, share their information and develop a long-term relationship.

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