Monday Author: Susanne Skinner
The internet makes it easier to search for a job, but harder to find one. Searching for a job usually starts by looking online. Indeed.com, LinkUP and SimplyHired are the top three search engines; allowing you to create a profile for positions that match your skills. That’s the good news.
Applying online is also easy but your resume quickly joins hundreds of other resumes in some generic company mail box. Even if you are the perfect candidate you can be overlooked if the wrong person is doing the screening. That’s the bad news.
Working with a recruiter is an incremental strategy, but it is not one size fits all. The role of a recruiter is to place you in a job. They are not career counselors and will not intuitively understand where you should work or which career path you should choose.
If you have strong credentials in a high-demand field, recruiters find you.
The Role of a Recruiter
A recruiter is part of your strategy, not the entire game plan. They work for employers, looking for successful individuals on the same career path who have already done the job.
Just as there is more than one candidate, there is more than one type of recruiter.
Corporate or in-house Recruiter: employee of the employer they represent
Their job is to fill vacancies within their company. They are well informed and have spent time with the hiring manager to develop the candidate profile. Often (but not always) these positions are at the executive level, highly technical or sales focused. Although not the decision maker, an internal recruiter is a valued member of the hiring process and can influence the decision. You connect through specific openings posted by the company.
External Recruiter or Agency: representing clients and companies
Also known as staffing firms, agencies represent a wide variety of clients and companies. Many specialize in locations, industries and specific job levels. Some specialize in temporary or contract placement. You both have the same goal—getting you placed.
Just as there are A, B and C candidates, there are also A, B and C companies, and a good agency knows how to match them up.
Job seekers often make the mistake of submitting their resume through multiple recruiters believing it will increase visibility. Agencies draw from the same candidate pool; you won’t be hard to find if you’ve got what they’re looking for.
Be selective. If you are represented by multiple recruiters, it could put the hiring company in an uncomfortable situation. Rather than picking one recruiter and applicant, they will overlook you completely to avoid competing agency fees.
Not all agencies are equal. Align yourself with a recruiter that has a vested interest in getting to know you and will work hard at finding the right placement. One or two are better than many.
Ask questions that will guide your confidence in their ability to place you:
• How long have you have been in business?
• What is your placement success record?
• Do you specialize in in my field?
• What kind of companies do you represent?
• Can I speak with some of your clients?
Recruiters seek candidates that stand out from the crowd. You must do the same when choosing who represents you. A good relationship with a recruiter is an asset to your career.
Start Out Strong
Begin with a solidly written resume and strong LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is the pool all recruiters swim in and your online presence is important. Make sure it is up to date, with recommendations from executives and higher-level colleagues. Peer reviews are not as relevant.
A well-written summary of your skills and accomplishments attracts attention. So will samples of your work, articles and posts that mention you, and awards you have received. These speak to your success. Include professional alliances and memberships.
Social media matters. Google yourself and see what comes up—that is exactly what a recruiter will do once they find your resume. Make sure there are no surprises. Protect your social media accounts so they are invisible to those not connected to you.
Consider a Career Coach
A recruiter’s interest is in the open job market, with the goal of placing people in jobs. A career coach is interested in you personally. When a job loss occurs, especially after years of employment (often in one company) many job seekers do not know how to position themselves in the current market.
If you are out of practice or contemplating a career change consider working with a career coach. They help clarify the value you offer; skills and strengths that attract potential employers as well as gaps and how to manage them.
A career coach’s skills and objectivity build a profile that reflects your accomplishments and polishes your networking and interviewing skills. You must research them just as you would any professional.
If you are unsure where to start, check out Positive Workplace Partners. Susan is one of the most accomplished coaches in the business.
A recruiter will do their best work for you when you are clear about what you are looking for.
Know your worth. One of the most important discussions will be salary. Knowing your worth is critical to getting what you want. Pick the hill you are prepared to die on and be able to back up your numbers.
Know yourself. A recruiter will ask lots of questions, but only you know you. Be organized; with specific details about your skills and the kind of company and culture you need to be successful. You and the recruiter must work together for tangible results.
If the recruiter tries to talk you out of any of these, it’s not a good fit and you should move on.
Next Monday: Working with a Recruiter: Part 2