Are you harboring the love-hate relationship that many executives experience with recruiters? You love them when they call you about a job opportunity they are working on. And not so happy when they don’t return your calls or emails; seem aloof and uncaring. The thing to keep in mind is they are major players in the career services industry and with most major companies, they are an integral part of the hiring process.
Here are five helpful tips to understand the recruiter:
1. The recruiter doesn’t work for you. Forget the days when “headhunters” existed and worked to find jobs for candidates [I don’t remember this being the case.] In those relationships, the candidate paid the headhunter or negotiated with the hiring company to pay their fees. Recruiters are paid by the hiring company so that is where their allegiance lies. Their job is not to help you find a job, but to scout candidates to fit the hiring organization’s needs. The ultimate goal is to have recruiters see your value to the hiring company and work with you.
2. Recruiters have the all-important “insider information.” Ever have a recruiter ask you to tweak your resume or coach you on issues that might come up in an interview? Well, pay attention. They have the details on the job specifications and can provide clues and recommendations. Use that advantage to help you succeed in the hiring process.
3. Be respective of a recruiter’s time. One of the hardest things to do during the job search process is be patient. It is not even an issue of instant gratification, it is the unknown: will the recruiter call me back, what if he/she lost my contact information, whatever. With thousands of candidates looking for executive positions, a recruiter will only invest time in the people they think are the best matches for the jobs they are filling. So my advice is to ask a recruiter when they will follow up with you, so you have an approximate time frame to reconnect. Build flexibility into that time to allow for hiccups, vacations, anything that can delay the hiring process. And if you still haven’t heard anything, a call or email at that point would be justified.
4. Treat the meeting with the recruiter (whether in person or virtually) as a formal interview. I know, I know, you finally have their attention and want to tell them everything YOU think they need to know to get you in the door for an interview. Let them lead the conversation. They will ask the questions that will extract the information they are looking for. Don’t overly embellish your responses, they will ask for additional information if they think it is needed. Be professional at all times.
5. Build a relationship with a recruiter. Recruiters like to work with people who are professional, understand business etiquette, and are good resources. If you are not the perfect candidate for a current job opportunity, share names of others who might be a better match. They will not only appreciate the information, they will remember you for future positions they need to fill. It is one of the most effective forms of networking where eventually everyone comes out a winner.
Working with recruiters can be challenging. It’s almost guaranteed that you won’t get along with every recruiter that crosses your path. The same guarantee applies for the opposite situation; you are sure to encounter recruiters that are easy to work with and supportive during the hiring process. Hopefully, the above tips will help you establish and build the recruiter relationships that will result in getting your next executive position.