Have you ever been contacted for multiple recruiters about the same company? That’s what I wrote about on US News and Word Report this week. Here’s the excerpt:
For job seekers, working with a third-party recruiter often raises questions. Who exactly do they work for? What’s the best way to use their connections to your advantage? And more specifically, what should you do if you’re contacted by more than one recruiter who represents the same company?
Unlike internal recruiters, who work directly for a company that’s looking to hire, third-party recruiters work for an employment agency that’s contracted by a company to find talent.
Say Recruiter Joe contacts you about a position for a software company. He collects your resume, says you’re qualified and indicates that he’ll talk to the software company about your candidacy. A few days after that conversation, Recruiter Jane calls you about another position with the same software company. You’re really interested in this second opportunity, but you haven’t heard back yet from Recruiter Joe. Should you pursue the position with Recruiter Jane?
On last week’s US News & World Report On Careers post, I wrote about how recruiters work. Adjusting your expectations and knowing exactly what we can and can’t do will save you a lot of time and frustration as a job seeker.
Social media has not only shaken up job-seekers′ lives — it′s also changed the way staffing and recruiting firms operate. Perhaps you linked to this blog from Twitter, or Facebook. Do you also interact with recruiters or staffing firms on those social media platforms?
There are two general ways that staffing firms use social media:
To build their brand and position themselves as thought-leaders by passing along news, links to articles, etc that are industry-related
To post open job opportunities
Boston-based temporary staffing firm Hollister is one of the most social media-savvy firms in the industry. Earlier this year, Hollister partnered with 451 Marketing, a Boston-based new media communications agency, and launched its "Recruiting 2.0" for using social media to recruit candidates. The effort includes building more than 30 online communities across LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. The communities are for both active and passive job seekers and are organized by profession to mirror Hollister′s service lines, including Accounting and Finance, Administrative, Creative and Marketing, Technology, and Human Resources.
For example, on LinkedIn the Hollister/451 Marketing team manages groups called Boston HR Leaders, Boston Accounting & Finance Professionals, Boston Creative Group and Boston Technology Hub.
On Twitter, Hollister posts job openings with links to longer descriptions on the Hollister web site and provides links to articles with tips for job seekers. Hollister has several identities on Twitter, including @JobsBoston, @BostonHiring, @BostonTechHub, @AccountingMA, @CreativeBoston and @BostonMarketing.
Hollister also provides content via two different blogs — one for hiring managers (http://bostonhiringblog.comShadowheart movie ) and one for job seekers (http://bostonjobsblog.com). Hollister uses its social media communities to position clients′ job opportunities and identify more qualified candidates for job openings, including passive seekers who are more likely to engage with a professional community than visit a job board. Hollister also instructs its recruiters on best practices for creating and using personal accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, enabling them to get a more complete picture of job candidates and build relationships. According to Hollister′s Director of Marketing, Meg Toland, the communities, which have more than 1,000 members, are a strategic way to break through the clutter of job boards and home in on qualified candidates by using technology to interact more effectively.
Adecco Group NA, part of one of the largest staffing conglomerates in the world, has also built a presence on Twitter. Its @adeccoGroup, with more than 2,000 followers, tweets insights on the job market and economy, shares links to relevant news and promotes company news or executive opinions. In addition, Adecco has created separate Twitter identities for promoting job openings in specific fields, e.g. @jobs_accounting, @clerical_job, @jobs_callcenter, @jobs_CS, @jobs_engineers, @jobs_finance, @jobs_healthcare, @jobs_industrial, @job_marketing, @job_scientific, @jobs_operations, @jobs_payroll, @jobs_warehouse, @jobs_technology and @searchandapply (the last is a listing of all Adecco jobs). Regional Adecco offices also tweet under their own identities and post local job openings.
Staffing firms with the heft of a big brand, like Adecco, or those who are first to act, like Hollister, are staking their claims in social media. They′ve identified that the way to recruit candidates and promote job openings is by enabling interaction and sharing content via online communities.
is an independent PR practitioner with more than 15 years of PR consulting experience. She is based on Boston′s North Shore and has worked with organizations in the technology, professional services and consumer industries. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recruiter A put me in for Position 1 at Company X. I met with Recruiter B to discuss a potential Position 2 at Company X (although I didn't realize it until our meeting that the job was for Company X). I explained to Recruiter B that Recruiter A had already put me in for Position 1 at Company X, so we decided I should try to confirm with Recruiter A that Position 2 was NOT the same job as Position 1.
Before I could call Recruiter A, I received a voicemail from her telling me that she knew of another potential position at Company X (it was Position 2).
So, the "original" recruiter ended up asking me if I wanted to also be put in for Position 2, AFTER I'd already met with Recruiter B to discuss it. Recruiter B has not yet sent my information to the client.
What do I do? Recruiter A has already been talking to Company X about me for Position 1, so I am already in the running there. Recruiter B hasn't even gotten to that point yet and the two positions are very similar.
This is a tricky and uncomfortable situation for all involved, but the best way to avoid any problems is to be honest with Recruiter B and tell her you have already been submitted to the company by Recruiter A. When companies utilize the services of search firms, the service agreements usually state that once a recruiter submits a candidate for a position, the recruiter is entitled to receive credit for the introduction, no matter which position the candidate is hired for a period of six months to one year.
In this situation, Recruiter A clearly discussed opportunities at the company with you first and deserves credit (he's likely to be compensated anyways for the placement). Do not allow Recruiter B to submit your information to the company. Just kindly let her know that you clarified the situation and you have already been presented to the company. Keep the door open to hear about opportunities with her other clients. She should be understanding to the situation. It's part of being in the recruiting business.
Problems arise when the same candidate is presented by two different search firms to the same company. Some candidates believe it is to their advantage to hide previous applications, past interviews, or discussions about the company with another third-party recruiter, so they deliberately omit this pertinent information. I imagine it's because many candidates are not well-versed on how the recruiter/company relationships works and they probably think the more people who put them in front of the company, the better.
This is not the case when working with recruiters.
The consequences of being introduced by more than one recruiter for a position will never result in a happy ending. It damages the relationship between the candidate and the recruiters. Most hiring companies will do whatever necessary to not be involved in a battle between two recruiting firms claiming credit for the candidate. The company will question the candidate's integrity or possibly decide that hiring the candidate will cause issues it prefers to avoid.
These situations can be easily avoided by keeping a few things in mind:
Keep detailed notes of the companies and positions for which you have applied, including conversations with recruiters and the positions/companies they have presented. Include position and dates of initial introduction and follow through interviews.
Be honest with a recruiter if you have sent your information directly to a company or if you have been presented an opportunity at the company by another recruiter. We don't like surprises.
Not all recruiters adhere to the same standards of confidentiality. Make it clear to the recruiters you choose to work with that your information should not be sent to any company without your permission.
I have been in PR for the past two years. I have pitched stories to radio and TV producers and hosts, written press releases, and devised story angles. While I have not worked for an "agency," the clients I worked with were mostly large, well-known agencies. I also have seven years of TV producing experience under my belt. Yet, I still seem to get (from recruiters) that they will not even consider me because their clients want "agency" experience. I have the right experience and know I can do the job, but how do I get over that hurdle?
Remember how recruiters are typically compensated - contingency-based recruiters are only paid if they make a successful placement. A company gives a recruiter specific requirements for screening candidates prior to engaging in a search. These skills are not just based on specific work experience, but also soft skills and cultural fit. By submitting candidates who do not meet all of their qualifications, the recruiter puts his relationship with the client at risk. Too many interview rejections is a sign that a recruiter isn't evaluating his candidates properly.
Companies choose to use recruiting services because they have either exhausted their own resources or realize the time and monetary value engaging with a specialized recruiter to fill an open, urgent position. These services are not cheap (although in comparison to the cost of not filling a position quickly, it's a steal!), so the companies hold a recruiting firm to high presentation standards. If the recruiter can source three or four candidates who have the exact experience, he isn't going to gamble on someone who doesn't meet all the specifications.
Recruiters are also careful about how many candidates they present to a client for a position. A recruiter will choose his top candidates to present for the position - the candidates with the highest chances of landing the position. Providing too many candidates to select from causes the company to delay the hiring decisions and results in losing qualified candidates who have already interviewed in the process.
Bottom line: If having public relations agency experience is important to the agency, the reality is that a recruiter is not going to present you for the position, even if you possess the transferable skills. Your best bet if you are looking for an agency position is to approach the agencies you are interested in directly and make them fall in love with you. Get your foot in the door through meeting agency reps at networking events, connecting through online networks, requesting an informational interview, or calling the hiring manager directly. Make sure you write an interesting cover letter explaining your desire to work in an agency environment and how you can help the agency and their clients reach their goals. Be able to spell out how your skills transfer and let your interest and passion in your industry compensate for the lack of experience.
Not every company or every position is going to be flexible in their requirements, but by doing a bit of research beforehand about the backgrounds of other people in the agency might give you some insight about the profiles of candidates the company usually hires. I would use LinkedIN as your research site and search by current company. If you find several people who work in the company with non-traditional backgrounds, your chances of landing the interview greatly increase.
This post is part of an on-going series featuring readers job search and hiring questions. If you have a question you would like answered in this blog, please send it to me here. Your information will be kept confidential.
How do I find the "best" (if there is such a way to tell) recruiters in a particular field or desired work location? I have just started my job search and am struggling to figure out which recruiting companies or recruiters I can target to contact or send my resume to. Or should one just use the buck shot method and hope for the best?
Recruiting firms are usually either generalists or specialists. Some work nationwide, while others may only work in a specific region or even a single city. Finding the "best" recruiter is really a matter of opinion and who you are comfortable dealing with
The best way to find a trusted recruiter in your industry is to ask around. Ask your college professors or work colleagues. You can also search LinkedIN for recruiters within your field as well — we′re all there. Most than likely, you'll have the best luck finding opportunities through recruiters who are specialists in your field.
Remember: A recruiter works for a client company, not the candidate. Recruiters do not always spend a lot of time with candidates until they have a matching position varies. Some recruiters will take a few minutes to get to know you better for upcoming opportunities, especially if they think there is a good chance of placing you in the near future, but there isn′t always time to speak to each candidate in detail when filling open searches is the priority.
Ensure the recruiting firm has the information it needs. When you present your details to give the recruiter the pertinent information about your background and your search. Your resume, career highlights, your interests, geographical preferences, and salary range are a good start.
Don′t use the buckshot method. You do not want just anyone with a copy of your resume in hand. Unfortunately, not all recruiters will treat your information in confidence. There are recruiters out there who will just float a resume around the industry to see if they can get any interest and an easy placement without even speaking to you. You don't want to be the spaghetti they are throwing against the wall to see if it sticks.
I′ve heard stories of people who are interviewing on their own with companies and all the sudden some unknown recruiter sends the person′s resume as if it were the firms referral without ever having contact with the candidate. It's an uncomfortable situation to be in - so protect your information. This is a unprofessional and unforgivable practice, but it happens — choose wisely!
This is part of an on-going series of candidate questions submitted through this blog. If you have a question you would like featured, please submit it here. Confidentiality is guaranteed.
My latest column on PRNewser is up. Here's an excerpt... or see the full article here.
Lately, I've been receiving a ton of calls from candidates who call to "enlist a recruiter" to help find them a new position. It makes me wonder if some of these people think that by speaking to an industry recruiter, their job search woes will be answered.
Recruiters work for their clients - the hiring company, not the other way around. I'm not saying job seekers shouldn't connect to a recruiter. Recruiters can and will bring opportunities to your attention you might never find otherwise, but it's important to keep the expectations realistic.
The job market in its worst condition in years. If you are actively job searching or unemployed, don't rely ONLY on job ads or a recruiter. These days it takes much more work to seek the opportunities out. Become your own headhunter and use some of our strategies to propel your search.
Have a plan A good recruiter tends to be very organized and an obsessive planner. Recruiters don't only rely on job postings they see on the internet to create new business. We target the top companies we want to represent in our industry and develop relationships with the decision makers, even when they are not hiring.. Make a list of the top 50 companies you want to work for and assume there are opportunities for you in each, even if there isn't an open position posted.
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
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.
I am seeking my first full time job. I'm new to the whole headhunter/recruiter thing. Do you have any tips for how to go about this? I'm in Dallas, but I'm up for new places and adventures. Should I look for a national or regional recruiter?
My degree is in communications and I have two internships worth of PR experience at boutique and corporate agencies. Some of my work is on my blog.
Since you are seeking employment in a specific industry sector, you should consider working with a recruiter who specializes in the communications industry. While there are several online directories, I find the best referrals come through experienced colleagues or professors who have some industry contacts.
It is important to understand though how a recruiter works. Search firms are contracted by the employer to find candidates who best fit an open requisition. This means a recruiter is not focusing solely on a candidate's job search. It's the other way around - the recruiter selects you as a candidate for the search. Contingency recruiters are only paid for their efforts when they successfully fill a position, so the first priority is their current work load and finding the best candidates for the job.
Keep your expectations reasonable when working with a recruiter. Recruiters will have positions you would never hear about through other channels and will be an extremely valuable resource and relationship for you to have throughout your career. But realistically, the most your can expect is to get into their database and be considered for a matching position. You can secure your relationships more by taking their calls promptly, sharing information to help them recognize your talents, being cooperative, and representing their decision to put you forward well in an interview process.
You will find a mix of regional and national recruiters. Again, I think the most important criteria in selecting a firm to work with is its specialty area. I would look at both local and national firms.
By no means, especially this early in your career, should you base your entire job search strategy on one or two recruiter's leads. Unless the recruiter asks to represent you solely and that recruiter has taken quite a bit of time to understand you and your needs should you even consider it.
Companies and agencies usually come to my firm to introduce candidates with at least a year or two of relevant work experience (not including internships) and they invest in the relationship with a search firm to find candidates who have the exact experience they are looking for (from a competitor). At this point, you are looking for an entry-level job so a recruiter relationship should only be a small portion of your strategy.
You're contemplating your next career move. You've been collecting referrals to known recruiters in your field and find a firm that seems reputable.
Job searching is so time consuming! You think it'd be nice to find someone with connections to find those golden opportunities for you, so you introduce yourself to the recruiter and write something like this:
Dear Recruiter of my choice,
I was recommended to you by my colleague, John Doe, who thought you might be able to assist me in my job search. I'm looking for........
Please let me know if you are taking on new candidates and able to represent me in my search.
Wrong. This is the opposite of how a recruiter works and the wrong way to approach a recruiting specialist in your field.
Recruiters work for the client company and to reap the rewards of their hard efforts, they must always be searching and evaluating candidates for an exact match to their client's job specifications.
A recruiter may request a conversation with you to understand your background and career goals for a current or future searches and of course, to network, but it's a big mistake to think she's working around the clock to find your next position. It's not the model and there's simply not enough time to represent every candidate in a job search.
How can you help a recruiter help you? Phil Rosenberg at reCareered gives us these 11 tips:
Adopt the mentality that YOU work for the recruiter
Work for the Recruiter - Tell the recruiters you work with that you will work for them"¦and mean it. Back it up by giving them information about available jobs and candidates.
Be an exact match — Give FAST turnaround and customize your resume within hours to be an exact match for the job. The fastest matches get interviews.
Provide Value - Every time you speak to a recruiter, have something to give them that they find valuable, even if they call you - A job lead, a candidate referral, a web resource, a networking event.
Personalize — Not every recruiter goes to networking events, so provide value that′s important to THAT recruiter. Recruiters specialize, and most Technology recruiters can′t help your friend in Accounting. Ask the recruiter what information is valuable — what should you keep your eyes open for?
Be responsive — Call the recruiter back quickly. Recruiters win interviews by responding quickly. If you respond quickly, the recruiter has a better chance of getting you an interview.
Respect the recruiter′s time — email is an efficient communication for the recruiter.
Be a Fountain of Info — About your past employer, about current interviews, about jobs you′ve seen. Tell all — information is your best currency.
Help in matching — If you see a job that a recruiter lists, IF YOU ARE A MATCH — send an email with your resume attached (revised to match the job & keywords), and let them know why you are a match.
Provide introductions — Set up meetings with Hiring Managers and other candidates. If you can′t do in person, use emails and/or LinkedIN.
Be Positive and friendly — Be nice, make their day, tell a funny joke. Recruiters don′t like putting bitter people in front of clients.
For the record, I don't expect a candidate to work for me or expect someone to have gathered information to help me do my job better, but a little "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" never hurts. At the very least, it will assure you a long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationship with a specialist in your field and a priority seat for those opportunities you want to hear about.
This reminds me of the "Help me help you" scene in Jerry McGuire. Remember this?