Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Six Things You Should Understand About Recruiters

So often, about two weeks after I have seen a candidate, I get a call or email asking what I have found for them. I realize that there are tremendous misconceptions about what a a recruiter can do and will do. I thought I would spell out what anyone should expect when seeing a recruiter - any recruiter.

1) Most recruiters work on assignment; they do not market candidates
Recruiters won’t necessarily meet you and then call around trying to get you interviews.  This is one of the great misconceptions about headhunters. Think of it this way, if a recruiter sees ten or more people in a week, it would be impossible to market every good candidate.  The only time they will call someone about you is if they either have an assignment (in which case they should have contacted you to tell you about it), know of a position which may be appropriate or know that something with your background may be needed at a company.  

The best recruiters work on very specific assignments which carry specific job specifications.  If you know a recruiter is working on something which you think you are qualified for, but they do not send you, it is generally because there is something which their client is looking for that you may not have. (If you have not seen that recruiter for a while and your background or salary has changed - call them or email with an update.  It could be that you are now qualified for the job you heard he or she was working on, but the recruiter did not know.)

If a recruiter is industry specific, they probably cannot help people who are not in that particular industry.  Everyday I receive resumes from people who want to get in to advertising.  Because I work on assignment, it is almost impossible to get people an interview who lack experience in my field.

2) Recruiters will call you if they have something appropriate
I have written about this many times.  It is appropriate to follow up with a recruiter periodically, but not every week.  They will call you when they have something for you.  If you are appropriate for an assignment, it would be self-defeating not to call you.

If they don’t call you, it doesn’t mean they don’t like you. It means they don’t have an assignment appropriate for you.  Recruiting is like a jig-saw puzzle and the proper people have to be matched to each assignment.

3) It is up to you to keep recruiters up to date
It is frustrating for every recruiter to find out that you have taken a new job and now have credentials that would have been appropriate for other openings they are working on – if only they knew that you had, a) gotten a raise; b) gotten promoted; c) had a change of assignments; d) gotten a new job.  Mostly, they won’t know if you don’t tell them.

Candidates are forever sending me emails that say, “Thanks for your help. I have gotten a new job.  Let’s stay in touch.”  Period.  No details.  I have to write and ask for all the information I listed above so that I can keep my files up to date.

4) Every recruiter does not have every job
You should work with multiple recruiters.  You should find recruiters who you like and are comfortable with and who work with different companies so that you are covered over a wide range of potential employers.  It is self-defeating to put all your eggs in one basket.

5) Most jobs are obtained through networking
Recruiters, in the best of times, only account for about 20% of all jobs.  In this economy it may be an even lower percentage.  Before a company calls a recruiter and has to pay a fee, they will explore openings on their own.  It is important that you have an active and well-connected network and that you work hard to stay in touch with former clients and associates.

6) A recruiter can be a great friend, ally and mentor
When you find a recruiter who you like and trust, more than likely he or she will be delighted to help you in anyway possible, even if they don't have the perfect job for you.  An industry specific recruiter has great insights into people and places. They can often tell you what the history of a job is, even if they don't have the assignment.  They can tell you if your personality is a mesh for the company or the people who you might be working for. They often know what the specific issues are, both good and bad, at any given job.

And, of course, if you are at a company through a recruiter, they can be your best ally.  They can help solve problems, they can clarify and answer questions and, of course, can negotiate on your behalf.

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