Tag: working with recruiters

Executives: Should You Work with a Contingency Recruiter or Retained Recruiter?

When it comes to recruiters, retained vs. contingency could boil down to whether they have the company’s best interest in mind, or their own. Read Undercover Recruiter’s article, “Contingency vs. Retained Recruiters: What is the Difference?” for more insight into these two recruiting styles.

For more on how to best work with a recruiter, read my article, “Quick Tips for C-Level Executives on Working with Executive Recruiters.”

How to Find a Job When You Are Not Looking for One

Many executives I speak to share with me that they have never had to look for a job before – the jobs came to them. And even though in recent years the market is tougher, it is still quite possible to draw opportunities to you.

Here are a few things you can do now to set yourself up for success:

Connect With Recruiters
Back when I was a recruiter, there were some executives that would actually hang up on me when I called to pitch them a job – only to call me a year or two later asking about open jobs I was working on. Unbelievable! But I know YOU are not ever going to do this, right? Right! Because today it is all about being networked so everyone can help each other.

So first things first: find the recruiters in your industry. It makes no difference if they are close to you geographically, only that they work in your industry or specialty. Call them and let them know you are happy where you are, but that you would like to invite them to call to network with you, and to keep you in mind for any particular opportunities that might be a good fit. Remind them to keep this confidential and not to send your resume to any companies without your prior consent. Do this with 5 or 6 good recruiters and you will be in good shape!

Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
Did you know that your Linked In profile, done correctly, can dramatically increase your weekly visitor rate? You want to pull the right eyes to your profile so that you are top of mind for networking and potential opportunities with the people you most need and want to be connected to. There is a trick to this, but it is not hard to set up if you know how. I just took a large group of executives step-by-step through how to set up their LI profile and recorded it here. This is a “must-know” for every career-minded professional.

Become a Thought Leader
How do superstars attract opportunities? By being good at what they do, yes, but many times you will find them stepping into the fullness of their potential through leadership positions outside of their companies. This includes speaking at associations and trade conferences, writing articles for associations on their area of expertise or getting involved in their local chamber of commerce for their particular business function (such as being an ambassador for their cities local manufacturing sector). This attracts people, makes networking easy, and challenges you mentally to always be the best you can be – step out and try new things using your career expertise as your springboard. Years ago I stepped up to become a thought leader in my industry, especially on the topic of tapping the hidden job market. You just have to be willing to share what you know with others. Many people struggle with the “but who am I to do that?” syndrome. In fact, most everyone does. Those feelings are a normal and a part of the progression. Acknowledge those feelings, but continue on!

Have An Outstanding Resume
Are you really serious about the edge you want in the market? A professionally written resume will wow both recruiters and companies, set you well apart from your competition, and work to secure you more interviews and offers. There is just no getting around the ROI you can experience by investing in yourself in this area. Make sure your writer is certified with a top association and an experienced writer in your industry. You can see samples of professionally written executive resumes here. Put a reminder in your calendar every 90 days to keep track of your career accomplishments, no matter how small – and try to quantify them with %% and $$ whenever possible. This small effort has a direct effect on your future salary.

Do You Know How To Get a Recruiter’s Attention?

I lost count of how many clients have told me they hung their hat on one or two recruiter relationships but nothing ever panned out in terms of landing a great job. If you don’t know how to work with recruiters, you can easily be tempted to feel that you have been let down in your relationship with them.

Here are a few facts about recruiters to help you get a baseline perspective…

Recruiters work for (and are paid by) their client companies. They don’t work for you, have no real allegiance to you, and will only be interested in you if your career history is a match for their searches. Knowing that will help you establish relationships with recruiters with more objectivity.

Recruiters come in all shapes and sizes. I have met many of them and I was one of them for seven years. Some are good, some are nice, and some are neither.

When you send your resume to a big handful of recruiters that specialize in your industry or position, you will get a mixed bag of responses. Some will respond with interest, some will send you an automatic message to fill out their generic candidate form on their website, some will not respond at all, and some may even respond negatively. Be prepared for all of it – and take none of it personally.

And by all means don’t skip this step! Mass distribution is necessary in order to garner the interest of the smaller percentage of recruiters who may be able to help you! If you are considering sending your resume out to recruiters, I have a great distribution service.

Recruiters generally like straightforward resumes. They tend to prefer the right keywords and summary statements that highlight your main selling points on the first page. They look at a lot of resumes each week and they don’t like to have to scan through a resume to try and guess what you do.

If you have a functional resume (one that highlights skills rather than industry background and job history), don’t be surprised if you catch some terse comments from recruiting firms. Don’t worry – chances are your resume isn’t bad, nor have your done anything wrong; this is just a typical preference of recruiters.

Recruiters look for job histories that match their search criteria. If you are looking to make a slight shift into a parallel industry or a slight shift in terms of your position, then a recruiter may be able to help you. If you are looking to make a career transition into another industry, then you can skip connecting with recruiters all together. They are paid to find exactly what their clients have asked them to find.. and nothing more (or less). Other job search methods will work much better for you.

What is the definition of a recruiter’s “star” candidate? If you are looking to remain in your industry and have a solid and successful background in it, then you will be especially attractive to recruiters: a “star” candidate. Star candidates are also defined as those who have held no more than three jobs in the past ten years and those with a complimentary and impressive academic background. The more attractive you are to recruiters, the more negotiating power you have.

What else does a recruiter look for? A good personality, tact, diplomacy, and promptness when returning phone calls and emails are often major components to a successful match. Remember, when a recruiter sends you to one of their clients, their reputation is on the line. They are acutely aware of this, and you should be too.

And one last valuable tip! A recruiter is somewhat limited in his or her ability to bring you your “dream job”. They can and will only offer you positions they are working on for their clients, and only if you are a potential match for the position.

Additionally, you will probably not be the only candidate they send to interview for the position. Generally, recruiters send in two to four qualified candidates for each position they are paid to fill.

If you want to build good relationships with recruiters – both short and long term – you should:

  • Find either paid or free lists of recruiters who specialize in your position or industry. You can search on LinkedIn for recruiters in your industry and ask them to connect. Generally the recruiter’s geographical location is of little importance – they often have many clients outside of their physical location. I have a recruiter distribution service that emails to 1,000+ recruiters.
  • Follow up with courtesy phone calls to the best recruiters on your list based on your needs and how they measure up. You will look more professional and get on their radar screen.
  • Always be pleasant, positive and diplomatic.
  • Treat the recruiter just the same as you would a potential employer in an interview.
  • If you are really attached to your industry, then building long term relationships with recruiters isn’t a bad idea. Recruiters are heavily networked, appreciate referrals and the good ones will remember your generosity, kindness and professionalism. They will go out of their way to contact you with five-star positions they may have down the road.

Recruiters can be extremely helpful to you and your career. Knowing the best ways to find them and also build positive relationships with them will not only save you time but serve to flush out additional job opportunities!

Do You Know To Get a Recruiters Attention?

I lost count of how many clients have told me they hung their hat on one or two recruiter relationships but nothing ever panned out in terms of landing a great job. If you don’t know how to work with recruiters you can easily be tempted to feel that you have been let down in your relationship with them.

Here are a few facts about recruiters to help you get a baseline of perspective:

A recruiter works for (and are paid by) their client companies. They don’t work for you, have no real allegiance to you and will only be interested in you if your career history is a match for their searches.

Knowing that will help you go into establishing relationships with recruiters with more objectivity.

Recruiters come in all shapes and sizes. I have met many of them and I was one of them for seven years. Some are good, some are nice, and some are not.

When you send your resume to a big handful of recruiters that specialize in your industry or position you will get a mixed bag of responses. Some will respond with interest, some will send you an automatic message to fill out their generic candidate forms on their websites, some will not respond at all and some may even respond negatively. Be prepared for all of it – and take none of it personally.

And by all means don’t skip this step! It’s a necessary step you must play out in order to garner the interest of the smaller percentage of recruiters who may be able to help you!

Recruiters generally like straightforward, chronological resumes. They tend to prefer your academic background be listed somewhere on the first page. They look at a lot of resumes each week and they don’t like to have to scan through a resume to try and guess what you do.

If you have a functional resume (one that highlights skills, rather than industry background and job history) don’t be surprised if you catch a couple terse comments from recruiting firms. But don’t worry, chances are your resume isn’t bad, nor have your done anything wrong. It’s just a typical preference for recruiters.

Recruiters look for career backgrounds that match their search criteria. If you are looking to make a slight shift into a parallel industry or a slight shift in terms of your position, then a recruiter may be able to help you. If you are looking to make a career transition into another industry, then you can skip connecting with recruiters all together. They are paid to find exactly what their clients have asked them to find…and nothing less. Other job search methods will work much better for you.

What is the definition of a recruiter’s “star” candidate? If you are looking to remain in your industry and have a solid and successful background in it, then you will be especially attractive to recruiters…a “star” candidate. “Star” candidates are also defined as those who have held no more than three jobs in the past ten years and those with a complimentary and impressive academic background. The more attractive you are to recruiters, the more negotiating power you have.

What else does a recruiter look for? A good personality, tact, diplomacy, and promptness returning phone calls and emails are often major components to a successful match. Remember when a recruiter sends you to one of their clients; their reputation is on the line. They are acutely aware of this, and you should be too.

One last valuable tip: a recruiter is somewhat limited in his or her ability to bring you “your dream job”. They can and will only offer you positions they are working on for their clients, and only if you are a potential match for the position.

Additionally, you will probably not be the only candidate they send to interview for the position. Generally recruiters send in two to four qualified candidates for each position they are paid to fill.

If you want to build good relationships both short and long term with recruiters you should:

• Find either paid or free lists of recruiters who specialize in your position or industry. Generally the recruiter’s geographical location is of little importance, they often have many clients outside of their physical location.
• The paid lists I endorse are through Executive Agent (listed on my website). Their system is quick and easy to use and very affordable. Their reputation in the industry is excellent….as are the results they provide.
• Follow up with courtesy phone calls to the best recruiters on your list based on your needs and how they measure up. You will look more professional and get on their radar screen.
• Always be pleasant, positive and diplomatic.
• Treat the recruiter just the same as you would a potential employer in an interview.
• If you are really attached to your industry, then building long-term relationships with recruiters isn’t a bad idea. Recruiters are heavily networked, appreciate referrals and the good ones will remember your generosity, kindness and professionalism. They will go out of their way to contact you with five-star positions they may have down the road.

Recruiters can be extremely helpful to you and your career and knowing their hot buttons and the best ways to find them and build positive relationships with them will not only save you time but serve to flush out additional job opportunities!

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