Few candidates maximize the potential of working with recruiters.
Often it’s just because the candidate doesn’t really understand best practices of working with recruiters.
By understanding how recruiters work, what they care about and what they ignore, it provides you with a superior model to gain recruiter attention and employer submission.
But when you ignore recruiters’ needs (or don’t understand them), you lessen the chances that you’ll be front of mind, which reduces the number of times your resume is submitted to hiring managers.
Many times, candidates blame recruiters for their own failures, calling them impolite or unprofessional … rather than gaining an understanding why recruiters aren’t providing the communication you want.
You’ll gain far better results from recruiters when you understand these best practices:
- Don’t think that recruiters work for you: They don’t. They work for the employer. You’re inventory … get used to it. Unless you want to never hear from that recruiter again, keep the attitude at bay. Sure there are lots of recruiters, but why burn the bridge that might have your perfect opportunity?
- Reply quickly: The first candidate recruiters submit is often the first candidate spoken to about the job. Recruiters typically only have a limited number of submissions they can make to hiring managers, without giving their client the impression that they’re throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks … a waste of the employer’s time.
- Recruiters rarely help career changers: A recruiter’s job is to find an exact match for the employer. Employers rarely contract with recruiters to find career changers – they work with recruiters to find someone from the same industry and job function. When you first talk to a recruiter, if you outline your goals as changing careers, don’t expect the recruiter to stay in touch.
- Recruiters communicate with the candidates they have the best chance of placing: It has nothing to do with how professional or polite the recruiter is. If recruiters don’t feel they have (or will likely have) a good match for you, where you’ll be viewed as a superior candidate, you’re not going to hear from them. It’s not a recruiter’s job to stay in touch with you … a recruiter’s job to stay in touch with hiring managers and with the candidates most likely to be placed. If a recruiter isn’t trying to place you, he/she won’t have time to call you back.
- Recruiters don’t need any more candidates: When there were candidate shortages, recruiters had plenty of jobs to fill, but had difficulty finding qualified candidates. In today’s job market of job shortages, recruiters don’t need more candidates. Your offer to refer another candidate makes additional work for the recruiter, out of obligation to talk to that candidate, with little chance of the candidate being a likely match for future job orders.
- Recruiters don’t work for promises of potential business: Even when placing executives, recruiters rarely let promises of potential business influence them. Depending on the company where that executive lands, that executive may not have the authority to bring on a new recruiter. Some companies make recruiter decisions in HR, others in procurement, and some work with a single recruiting firm in efforts to secure lower placement fees. Even a new CEO may be reluctant to override recruiter decisions made by managers – sure the CEO could, but it would be a lousy way to build support.
- You’re probably working with the wrong recruiter: Nearly every recruiter specializes, in a specific niche – the intersection of an industry, job function and skills. A recruiter who specialized in your industry, job function and skill could easily hire hundreds of people each year for dozens of companies. Since many work nationally, they might not be located in your city, but they are the best recruiters for you to work with, due to the sheer volume of jobs they fill – that you are likely qualified for. But you’re probably not working with the right recruiters, the ones who specialize in your niche. Because you’re finding recruiters by applying to ads on job boards, you are lost likely trying to work with recruiters that only fill one or two jobs in your niche per year – those are the wrong recruiters for you.
- You have something recruiters want: You have currency for recruiters, but few candidates realize what that currency is or the power it holds. Your currency is the information you develop when searching for a job – information about hiring managers and job openings. When you give recruiters information about job openings, you put food on their table. If you do it consistently, it puts you in a power position with that recruiter, who now depends on you as a source of valuable job market information. When you train a recruiter that you always provide value to them, he/she will always return your call.
Most candidates miss the boat entirely, calling a recruiter just to check in (reminding the recruiter the candidate’s still out there), rather than calling to provide the recruiter with your currency. Many candidates take a naive view about confidentiality – with how public job information is via the internet, the information you’re providing is already public, but the recruiter just doesn’t have enough time to find it.
So now that you better understand how recruiters work, who they refer, who they call back, who they don’t and why, you’ve got the ability to influence whether you’re the candidate who gets the call or the candidate who’s ignored.
Will you learn how to provide what recruiters need and be first on their list, or will you continue to work with recruiters the same way you always have and continue being frustrated with recruiters?-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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