10 Surprising Facts About Recruiters

Nov 13 2012 in Featured, reCareered Blog, Recruiters by Phil Rosenberg

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If you’re going through recruiters to help your job search, you’ve run into at least one frustrating recruiter experience.

It amazes me how many candidates think that a recruiter’s job is to find them a job – and how upset these job seekers get with recruiters who aren’t helping them find their next gig. If you pay that recruiter, you have the right to expect that they’ll assist and guide your job search – because they’re functioning as a career coach. But few candidates pay recruiters. Candidates who don’t pay a recruiter for coaching but who expect the recruiter to provide job search guidance and to find them a job are headed for disappointment.

The first step to success with recruiters is understanding. One of the leading reasons for candidate frustration with recruiters is a lack of understanding of recruiters. Until you understand what a recruiter’s real job is, how they view candidates, what motivates them and how recruiters spend their time, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

Here’s 10 surprising facts about recruiters:

  1. Recruiters Don’t Work For You: Recruiters work for employers and have no loyalty to you over other candidates. Recruiters owe the employers who pay them follow-up and status updates – Since they don’t work for you they don’t owe you any communication. If you want to get all bent out of shape because a recruiter didn’t follow up with you about a job you’re interested in – you’re wasting time better spent on researching employers or finding more opportunities.
  2. Smart Candidates Work For The Recruiter: One of the best ways to get a recruiter’s attention is to adopt the attitude that you work for them. The more you can help recruiters, the more they’ll remember and want to help you. Unfortunately, many job seekers have the misguided notion that they shouldn’t have to work for the recruiter, that it should be the other way around. Even during job markets with candidate shortages, working for the recruiter make most recruiters feel that they “owe you one”, which can get you submitted instead of overlooked.
  3. The Recruiter’s Job Is Finding Exact Fits For Employers: Their job is not finding you a job and it’s not helping you change careers. So if you’re trying to change careers or even industries during a time of job shortages, don’t expect recruiters to be of much help. Granted, when we had candidate shortages, recruiters had a bit more leeway, but not today.
  4. Recruiters Can’t Call Most Candidates Back … Or Even Email Them: Recruiters don’t want you to check in or call to follow up. If an employer is interested, recruiters will chase after you, because they’ve got money on the line. Recruiters can’t call most candidates back with status, only calling the one or two that the employer expressed interest in. Recruiters can’t call the others back because candidate follow-up cuts into employer calling time, needed to uncover new job opportunities. There’s a word for recruiters who spend much time giving candidate feedback and followup … and the word isn’t polite, it’s not professional. That word doesn’t start with a P, it starts with the letter F – Fired.
  5. Most Recruiters Don’t Specialize In Your Niche: Most recruiters specialize in a niche – a combination of job function, industry and skills. But most recruiters don’t specialize in your niche. Recruiters who specialize in your niche work on hundreds of job opportunities each year, while the ones who specialize in a different niche only work on the one (or two) jobs a year. So when a recruiter you find by answering an ad won’t stay in touch with you … it’s probably because they don’t represent many opportunities in your niche (so why invest time in you?). You want to find one of the few recruiters that do specialize in your niche – they might be in your metro area or they might be on the opposite end of the country.
  6. The Candidates At The Front Of Recruiters’ Minds Get Submitted Most Often: When recruiters choose which candidates to submit for opportunities, their first choices are the ones that are front of mind. Being front of mind won’t get you submitted if you don’t meet criteria, but the first candidates reviewed for criteria matches are the “front of mind” candidates. There aren’t enough hours to invest in being front of mind with more than one or two recruiters, so choose wisely which recruiters you’ll invest in.
  7. Recruiters View Most Candidates As Pests – Because Most Are Pests: And you never want to be viewed as a pest. Recruiters assume that if you’re a pest to the recruiter, you’ll be just as bad to the employer – referring a pest won’t win the recruiter any employer love. How can you avoid being a pest? Don’t contact the recruiter unless you’re returning the recruiter’s call or you have something of value for the recruiter. Hint: Checking in or following up do not provide value to employers.
  8. Some Recruiters Are No Closer To The Hiring Manager Than You Are: Don’t assume that the recruiter really knows any more details about the job than you do. Sure, some will, but many won’t – Many recruiters haven’t met with the hiring manager or have earned much time with the hiring manager. At the other end of the spectrum, recruiters that have exclusive contracts to work on many openings for Fortune 500-sized employers often have to give up the right to talk to hiring managers – Contacting hiring managers can violate the contract and risk termination. For these enterprise-level contracts, recruiters often have to promise they will run all questions through HR. These recruiters have no better information than you’d get by talking to a HR clerk.
  9. Few Candidates Give Recruiters A Reason To Call Back: Calling just to follow up doesn’t give a recruiter a reason to follow up. When you consider that it’s not the recruiter’s job to stay in touch with an individual candidate and you don’t give recruiters a reason to call you back … don’t be surprised when they don’t call back. You need to give recruiters a reason to call you back.
  10. Candidates Have Currency For Recruiters – But Few Realize It: Recruiters may not work for you, but you have leverage with recruiters that you probably don’t realize. When you’re searching for a job you have stuff that’s valuable to recruiters … information. You know companies who are hiring, you know (or know the names of) hiring managers and if you’re doing a good job of job search, you know the priority problems of hiring managers. This information puts food on the table of recruiters. I find that most candidates hold this information private, rather than using it as recruiter currency … which can place you at the front of recruiters’ minds, keep recruiters feeling like they owe you one, get submitted for more opportunities and get your calls returned.

Hey all you recruiters out there … what other surprising facts can you give candidates, to promote a better understanding and working relationships?

Job seekers – what surprising recruiter facts can you add?

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Author: Phil Rosenberg

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