Don’t Ignore Recruiters! Good Ones Boost Your Career
> Recruiters can help you get the job you want and expand your reach
As another project hits your desk, it literally feels like it was placed on your shoulders.
And the weight on from all this pressure is starting to become much more literal than figurative.
At this rate, they should be giving out free massages in the staff room.
Except if you proposed that you would probably be the one having to give those too.
There is no way you can get this all done during your normal working hours.
So, you resort to staying late at work for the entire week again and multi-tasking the shit out of yourself to get as much done as you can.
You’re scrutinizing multiple excel workbooks, verifying the numbers so that you can export them into the Powerpoint presentation all while still staying on top of email requests and phone calls.
It’s during these high-pressure weeks that you always seem to get those annoying phone solicitations - either from recruiters or salespeople or both, the double whammy.
And, they come in at the worst possible moments during the day.
Usually, the caller ID on your desk phone helps to screen out the calls, but every now and then, a few sneak by and then, you’re trapped into a long call with a recruiter hyping up a dream job.
Some of these recruiters come across like a combination of a used car salesman and a late-night TV infomercial.
“Hi, my name is Dinah Mite and I have an explosive opportunity for you. I’m with National Executive Recruiters and saw your profile online and I must say, you have the perfect background and experience for an incredible six-figure senior level position I’m seeking to fill.”
Yeah...plus an unbelievable once-in-a-lifetime real estate opportunity too, right?
You can barely get a few words in conversation-wise - but just enough to say that you’re super busy and can’t talk.
You hang up the phone in frustration and get back to the grind.
As you’re toiling away, the thought of a better job does cross your mind.
You need to find a company that values who you are and gives you the support and resources you need.
There has never been a thank you from the company. No gratitude. No official recognition of your hard work.
The idea of putting the feelers out for a new job is growing.
You've been at the same company now for a few years. The benefits are okay, but nothing great.
The salary is decent but lately, with all the extra hours you’re putting in, you feel like you’re really netting minimum wage.
You want to start communicating more seriously with recruiters, but a lot of them don’t really “get you” and what you’re looking for.
So many of them just seem so scammy, but there are some legit good recruiters out there.
It just requires a bit of prep on your side to filter out the losers and keep the winners.
Not All Recruiters Are The Same - The Hidden Truths
On the surface, the world of recruiters seems pretty straightforward. Their job is to fill job openings at companies.
Some of these recruiters work as employees of the hiring company while others are part of independent agencies or groups.
There are a lot of finer points about recruiters that you should know about. It’ll give you a leg up in deciding who to work with, when and how.
Most recruiters are just regular everyday people like us trying to make a living as well.
And they do want you to succeed...at least until they get their commish. 😉
However, it is always a good idea to err on the side of caution.
So here are a few things to understand when working with potential recruiters.
1) Most Recruiters Are On Commission
Much like the infamous used car salesmen, independent agency recruiters need to “make the sale” to get paid.
This does 1 of 2 things:
1) They want you to get the job.
2) They want you to get the job... no matter what.
While this sometimes works in your favor, because they’ll choose jobs with higher wages, it may also mean that they are more likely to make a safe easy bet rather than fight for the perfect fit.
This is why you want to sit down in advance and share your goals, requirements, wants, needs and what you’re specifically looking for in your next position.
Don’t ever feel like you have to take a job. And whatever you do, don’t give in to pressure.
If a recruiter gets frustrated with you for not taking the job, ditch him or her and find a new one.
Internal or in-house recruiters are a bit different. They work for the company as employees and are typically salary based and part of the human resources department.
So, they aren’t incentivized by commissions and thus, usually aren’t as pushy.
2) The Recruiters #1 Priority Is The Company
As much as we’d like to think that the recruiter is on our side, the truth is that they work for the company, not for us.
Losing a potential candidate is not nearly as bad as losing a company client, or worse, their job.
Generally, recruiters want to find someone that is the perfect fit for the company, that way they retain them as a client for future work.
And in the most layman's terms… the company pays their bills.
3) Recruiters Aren’t All-Knowing
They are not some mythical job creating creatures. They’re human, just like us.
And they have many clients in many different industries and fields. So you can’t expect them to know every detail of every job.
They typically have the same amount of information as the job posting itself, plus a bit more “internal knowledge” from the company.
You may want to look into recruiters that specialize in your industry, as this will better your chances.
4) Recruiters Abide To Confidentiality Contracts
It’s quite common these days for companies to try to bring in more diversity to their workforce.
Whether it be female, male, ethnicities, veteran status etc.
This is not something that can be disclosed by your recruiter because everyone is supposed to have equal opportunity.
Not to mention there is a real grey area with all of this.
Look at Hooters, technically they shouldn’t be allowed to say no to hiring men, however, no one wants to see a fat guy with man-boobs in tight Daisy Dukes shirt and shorts.
So, don’t let it get you down if a company you had your heart set on doesn’t hire you.
There may be other factors at play that you don’t know about and that the recruiter can’t share.
How To Choose A Good Recruiter
It’s part of your normal food shopping routine - you hunt and peck for the best pieces of fruit, the most vibrant veggies, the best cuts of meat, etc.
We’re all looking for the best version of what’s out there to make sure that we don’t get stuck with a “bad apple” or some broken eggs.
We’ve gotta take the same approach with recruiters.
Some people will coordinate with every single recruiter that contacts them out of the blue - because why not? It’s not costing them any money, right?
And, the recruiters will distribute and get your resume in front of a lot of companies. It’s a free and easy way to expand your reach.
Well, the reality is that it’s not free, if you consider your time valuable.
When a recruiter doesn’t truly understand “you”, then every single email, phone call, or text message is just another annoying distraction that’s hijacking your focus and productivity.
It’s kinda like this guy in the video below. We bet you’ve heard one of these lines from a shady recruiter before.
VIDEO: S*** Recruiters Say
YOUTUBE: Betts Recruiting
> They forgot about marital status and sexual orientation
> Every company is a “work-hard, play-hard” kinda place
> Every opening is an incredible opportunity
While there are a few good questions in this video, most of them do tend to make us cringe.
Luckily, you don’t have to just go with whoever calls you. In fact, you shouldn’t.
With Google these days, you can find out what your moms’ friends husbands brother-in-law’s dog had for breakfast 3 days ago.
If you really wanted to.
Use this resource to your advantage to find out all you can about recruiters and the agency they work for. It’ll be that extra bit of information to help you decide.
It's important that your goals align and that you can trust one another.
As you interact with a new recruiter, keep a few of these points in mind:
- Is this someone you want representing you?
- Are they familiar with your industry?
- Do they specifically hire for the industry you want to be in?
- How long have they been recruiting in this industry?
Here are a few things to remember for yourself:
- Make sure to represent yourself accurately and honestly
- Ensure there is clear communication and no guessing
- Be positive and professional
- Be respectful and polite if a job you wanted doesn’t work out
- Give clear instructions
Be The Turtle, Not The Hare
Don’t jump on something without being sure.
Take time to really establish if the companies that you and your recruiter are looking into are really what you want.
And if they are, make sure to fully commit. No napping during the race as the hare did so to speak.
Be as involved as you need to be, and make sure when you agree to appointments and interviews, that you follow through.
Recruiters are there to help you. However, you need to help them help you.
Have More Than One “Good” Recruiter
By having more than one good recruiter working for you, you are able to broaden your horizon into the corporate world.
And furthermore, some recruiters have better relationships with certain companies than others.
Not to mention, if you let your recruiters know about the others, you can instill a little healthy competition to ensure you end up with the best of the best.
Don’t get cocky though. No one likes a cocky person.
We recommend having 2 or 3 good recruiters working for you - that’s enough really.
Why “Good” Recruiters Are Important For Your Career
It’s easy to overlook why recruiters are important for career development, but they honestly are one of the best things you could do for yourself.
Why you ask?
We are our own worst enemy. We all tend to short-change ourselves or sell ourselves too short of what we’re really capable of.
Next, we’re so often mired and bogged down in our own job that we don’t have the time nor the energy to go actively seek out other opportunities.
With another set of eyes looking around for you, great hidden opportunities can land in your lap when you least expect it.
1) Recruiters Have A Fresh Perspective And Can See Your Potential
Recruiters are trained in the art of career progression. Meaning, the good ones will really be able to find something that is a great fit for you in the right direction.
Also when you find a good recruiter, they’ll make sure not to bug you with bullshit job offers. They’ll value your time and theirs and have no interest in wasting any of it.
If they do find a great fit, it may even be something that you may have never even thought about before.
Something that is completely different from what you do now, or in a new industry you never thought about exploring.
As we mentioned, we can be our own worst enemies.
So, by working with someone that is able to look at your talents, experience, and education with an unclouded, non-judgemental look, you’ll be surprised what you’re capable of.
2) Recruiters Understand The Inner Workings Of HR
HR is an amazing thing to have in a company.
It allows us to have someone to go to that can really make sense of all our benefits, give us guidance on internal issues/conflicts, all the legal mumbo-jumbo etc.
But that’s about how far it goes for the average worker.
And that is the super small tip of the massive HR iceberg.
Recruiters are themselves a lot like those lovely people we find within human resources.
And the fact that they both work closely together benefits anyone working with a recruiter. You may be able to get a bit more internal insight from a recruiter than if you were just interacting directly yourself.
Have you ever got a call to interview, just to end up with more questions than you can find answers to?
Well with a recruiter you will have access to:
- Whether or not there are multiple interview stages
- Whether or not you are being interviewed by a panel
- Average interview turnaround time
- Average turn around rate for interviewees
And much more.
3) Recruiters Expand Your Plan B’s
Recruiters are great at Plan B’s, and C’s, D’s, E’s, and more.
We are constantly faced with the looming thoughts of layoffs or company reorganizations and recruiters understand that.
This is why they always have multiple options on the table to ensure that there’s peace of mind for you.
So, if you’ve heard a whisper through the grapevine about upcoming reorgs or noticed a trend of downsizing in the industry you’re in, get on board with a good recruiter and get some ideas cooking for plans B through Z.
4) You Can Ask Recruiters For Help & Advice
It’s a beautiful thing to have another person’s perspective and advice. A good recruiter can be that person to provide an outside perspective and even some advice.
You can ask your recruiter for constructive criticism because it will improve your overall hire-ability.
Ask for information on marketing, ask for interviewing tips and tricks.
Always ask for feedback after a meeting or an interview.
Try a few of these questions to get the ball rolling:
- Why do you think my background is a fit for this job?
- Are there any major challenges the company currently faces?
- What are the backgrounds of the other people that work in this company?
- Has this company hired a candidate from this recruitment agency before?
- Are there any big changes that the company is going to make in the next year, such as a merger?
This will up your overall game.
And if you’re still not convinced, take a look at this short 2-minute video.
VIDEO: Why Work With a Recruiter?
YOUTUBE: Randstad USA
> Good recruiters can compliment your job search efforts
> They may also have additional tips and inside information
> They want to see you and their client happy
However, keep in mind that recruiters are not your career counselors or coaches. They can’t and typically won’t provide you with long-term on-going career development plans - that’s on you or with a career coach.
Recruiters focus their time and effort on current client needs and how you as a potential candidate can fulfill those needs.
But, they can provide that alternate perspective on these new opportunities.
How To Share Your Current Status & Future Needs Quickly & Efficiently
You’re really busy at work and getting random phone calls or unsolicited emails from recruiters can be pretty disruptive to your workflow.
If you’re not careful, you could get sucked into a long conversation about an “incredible opportunity with a Fortune 500 company with amazing benefits and compensation” and there’s goes 30 minutes of your day.
The key tactic here is to pre-qualify the recruiter just like they are pre-qualifying you. This will filter out all the bullshit recruiters.
If you’re 100% certain that you’re not looking for or interested in other job opportunities, be clear and direct about it.
“Thanks for your call but I’m not interested. I’m happy where I am now. Goodbye.” Click.
However, if you’re interested and passively or actively searching for new opportunities, then here are a few guidelines to follow.
1) Sort Out Communication
You will want to start by letting your recruiter know what your preferred method of communication is so that you can keep things discreet.
It could be calls, text, email, LinkedIn, etc.
Work together to come up with the best way and when to communicate so neither of you misses each other's messages.
Email is the tried and true form of communication.
It allows for you to send and receive information in a professional manner.
When sending a text there is always the possibility of autocorrect accidents and it’s more of a pain in the ass to finger peck a long text reply on your phone.
Your personal email is the best way to communicate because it allows for all information to be in one place, easy file transfer, and cloud backup.
Since most first emails with a potential company or to a recruiter are very similar, you can create a pre-written “ready-to-go” email that will save you time in the future.
Include things such as:
- Current status
- Career direction/wants
- Salary range
- Full/part-time, etc.
With email, you are forced to sit down and think about what you’re writing.
Important Rule: Never use your work email to correspond with recruiters or potential companies. This is a huge faux-pas. Stick with and use your personal email account instead.
Calls are great because you can get straight to the point.
However, this won’t be your only outlet of communication as it is slightly more inconvenient.
If you do have to take phone calls from your recruiter, do so in the privacy of your home and not at work.
If you have to take a call at work, schedule it into your calendar and book a small conference room to take the call.
If it’s an impromptu call, it’s best to ask to schedule a time to talk. Otherwise, sneak outside the office or into your car.
Texting is the best thing since sliced bread and we all know that.
Some people have a pretty big dislike when it comes to actually talking to someone on the phone.
Texting is fine for exchanging small bits of info, getting quick questions answered, confirming things etc. However, don’t use it for your main form of communication.
You may find a recruiter that allows for texts, however, we still recommend using email so that everything is tracked and saved for easy reference.
2) Get Basic Job Info Up Front
You do not want to go in fully blind and just accept that your recruiter understands fully what you want.
You may have told them you want to move into a management role if at all possible, but you’re going to want to clarify that McDonald's is not where you want that to be.
So, make sure you have a few of the basics sent to you before you agree to an interview set up.
Ask for the following basic information:
- Company profile
- Job description with roles and responsibilities
- Salary range
- Job/office location
Some recruiters may be hesitant to share company details because they are worried that you may go around them and contact the company directly.
If the opportunity was brought to you by the recruiter, respect the arrangement that the recruiter may have with the company and work through the recruiter.
3) Pre-Written “Ready-To-Go” Job Wants/Needs & Career Goals
Having a preset list of the ins and outs of your career goals will help you and your recruiter be faster and more efficient at finding you a new job of your dreams.
Want to be the new boss?
Want to find yourself a sugar daddy, that doesn’t want anything in return except to pay all your bills and send you on vacations?
Want to win the lottery?
Well, recruiters can NOT do that for you.
Sadly you have to be realistic here, sorry to burst your bubble.
However, with a pre-written “all about you” information pack, they can filter out all the job postings that don’t meet your wants and needs or that aren’t a good fit in general.
Think to yourself:
- What parts of your job do you like?
- What parts do you dislike?
- What is something new you want to try?
- Is there a nice atmosphere you like?
- What is your dream position?
- Do you want a role that has room to grow?
- What range of salary are you aiming for?
- How far are you willing to commute?
- Are you willing to relocate out of state, internationally?
As well keep in mind the environment of the company you want to work for:
- What’s your ideal company culture like?
- Do you want to work in an office with cubicles or open concept?
- Do you want teamwork or individual competition?
- Do you want the fast pace of a start-up or an established company?
You spend an average of 50 weeks at work each year, you should strive to have a job that you enjoy most of the time. A dream job is what we all want but sometimes, it’s not 100% perfect. However, if we can get it to 80%, that’s pretty damn good.
4) Keep Resume Updated
Yes, we know you hate it. We do too.
It’s like MS Word is designed to make resume writing harder on purpose.
But don’t stress too much. It is not as hard as you remember.
You will want a current and up-to-date resume before contacting a recruiter.
This way you and your recruiter can go over it together and see if there is anything that needs to be changed. And keep in mind, it’s always best to be honest and up front.
If there are large gaps in your resume, let your recruiter know why.
Once you’ve updated your resume, keep a ready-to-go version saved in your personal email account. This way, when a recruiter contacts you, you can quickly send over the most updated resume to him or her.
5) Updated LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn is a great business networking resource. It’s also one of the main resources for companies and recruiters to find top talent.
On the platform, there are the abilities to:
> See posted jobs
> Get candidate recommendations
> Stay in touch with employers and colleagues
> Social networking
> Keep all your information in one place
Not only is LinkedIn a fabulous way to find work and connect with potential employers, but it is also a great messaging platform.
So firstly, you want to start by making sure your profile is up-to-date:
- Add a professional recent photo
- Ensure all contact information is correct
- Update your summary to reflect your latest status and skills
Next, it’s time to upload relevant documents:
- Upload latest resume
- Upload any certifications or degrees
- Upload reference letters, as long as they are up-to-date
Start networking, LinkedIn is like your social media of the corporate world:
- Add companies you like
- Add people you know
- Comment on statuses
In fact, you should use more than just your LinkedIn profile to gain a positive online presence.
You want to ensure that any online social sites you are part of are up-to-date and show you in a positive professional light.
These could be your:
- Professional Blog
- Other online job boards
Definitely Google yourself and see what comes up, and make sure that it is all good.
The last thing you want is that awful MySpace photo of you playing beer pong.
Unless you're applying to Budweiser, in that case, maybe that will help you out. 😉
Keep In Touch With Your Recruiter
It’s the same reason you go back to your trusted family doctor - comfort and reliability. Not to mention they know you, and your quirks, your wants, your needs.
It’s the same for a good recruiter.
You never know when you might be in search of a new job.
With our economy fluctuating as much as it does, you may find that reorgs or layoffs may be looming in the near future.
And the last thing you want to do is scramble at the last minute applying and interviewing for random jobs.
So why not send an email every six months or so to remain on their radar.
Or throw some referrals their way.
Send them a yearly Christmas card or email.
By making an attempt to stay in touch, you are giving yourself a one-up, just in case life throws you a curveball.
As we all know it loves to do!
So, next time you find yourself in that over-stressed and under-appreciated situation for the millionth time, it’s time to reach out and put the feelers out for a new job.
Be open to interacting with recruiters, filter out the bad ones and develop long-term relationships with the good ones.
Working together as a team, you’ll position yourself for the best opportunities to find your perfect next job.