Excerpted from article by Perry Newmann.
In addition to my current practice as a resume writer, career transition coach and social media strategist, I have spent 20+ years as an independent talent acquisition specialist, the 21st century name for "head-hunter." So I am qualified to say that relying on recruiters should not be at the top of your list of ways to find a new position. The reasons, of which there are many, we can discuss at another time. The most obvious being recruiters get paid by and therefore owe their allegiance to the client and not the candidate.
However recruiters – generalists, job or industry specific, technical, executive or retained – can help you in many ways and it is important to understand what they are and how to behave when dealing with a recruiter in order to get results.
First off, just like you most recruiters are in business for the long haul; and just like you they live or die based on the quality of the network they establish.
You want to build a network of people to keep you in the loop regarding unadvertised job opportunities and good recruiters are always looking to network with people who can refer candidates their way for new assignments. And who knows, when you least expect it they may call you and tell you they have the perfect job for you. So even if a recruiter can’t help you today it pays to establish a relationship with recruitment professionals who have a sterling track record of integrity and some longevity in the business.
What can a recruiter do for you?
Recruiters are a great source of information about companies, what careers are in vogue, which are on the upswing and which are fading, and what the salary parameters are in different occupational sectors etc. Even if you are not a potential placement for a recruitment firm at this time, recruiters are willing to share information with you if you are willing to share information back with them, even if you are not a highly skilled or sought after candidate.
So here are some do and don’ts about dealing with recruiters from their side of the table-
Many people see recruiters only as middlemen who can open doors, and think recruiters only want perfection in a candidate, which is true to a great extent on both counts.
Therefore many candidates will outright lie to a recruiter and embellish who they are, what they have done and what they are looking for in terms of a job and salary with the thought in mind that if and when they meet the recruiter’s client they will come clean and tell the truth. This does not work.
- Recruiters are for the most part great judges of talent and character, and their clients do not react well when the person they meet does not live up to the recruiter’s hype.
- Many candidates act differently in an interview with a recruiter than they do during an interview with an employer. For instance, when asked if they have any questions most will say no. This is bad etiquette and bad business. When you want someone to help you treat them with the respect they deserve.
- Also remember that how you interview with them is how they will see you interviewing with their client.
- If you fail to relate or show enthusiasm with them a recruiter will blow you off in a minute even if you are a qualified candidate. There reputation to the client means much more than any one candidate.
- Recruiters need to know your real weaknesses as well as your strengths. Being dishonest with a recruiter is the same as being dishonest with yourself.
- Recruiters may call you about one job, but the chance of your getting that job is at BEST 15% in most cases. However if a recruiter likes you he or she will keep you in mind for other positions and let others in their firm and with firms they network with know about you. This can increase your network by as much as 100%.
- However this will only pay long term dividends if the recruiter has the whole picture and can make an honest assessment of who you really are and where you will fit.
- A phone interview is not a casual chat. A recruiter wants to get a sense of your personality to determine if a face-to-face or more in-depth interview is warranted, so treat this as a real interview not an informal phone chat with a casual friend. Don't put on airs and change your personality because you can’t be seen. Be business like but also be you. Most important do not take a phone interview in a casual position, a place where there is outside distraction or on a poor phone connection.
- Last but not least, follow up with recruiters but don’t be too persistent or demanding of answers. Some candidates have known to come across become obnoxiously aggressive—and, in doing so, kill their chances at being called when the right job does come along.