Archives for recruiters

How to Effectively Work with Recruiters

M11 Junction 8-9 Scheme by Highwaysengland on Flickr

M11 Junction 8-9 Scheme by Highwaysengland on Flickr

Under the right circumstances working with a recruiter to land your next job can be extremely beneficial. If you have a position or ideal firm in mind and meet the requirements, a recruiter can aid your job search. In my previous article “Why Recruiters Won’t Get You a Job” I wrote about the pros and cons of working with recruiters. While it is true that recruiters work for the employer, not the job seeker, I fear I may have scared some people away from ever working with recruiters. Recruiters are like any other tool in your job-search arsenal.

There are times when you’ll need the help of a recruiter, such as needing to place your résumé directly in front of a hiring manager. In this case, building a relationship with a recruiter can be highly beneficial. Other times, you may need advice on making a transition into a completely different industry, or résumé advice. In these situations recruiters aren’t in a great position to help you. Think of it this way: you wouldn’t hang a picture using a hacksaw, you would use a hammer. In the same manner, recruiters can’t meet all of your job search needs, but can vouch for you when you’re a good fit for a certain job.

 

Just to be clear, I’m focusing exclusively on external recruiters. External recruiters are third-party firms who submit candidates to hiring companies and compete against other firms to place candidates. They work with employers, but aren’t part of the staff. Their placement fees are paid by the hiring company.

 

Do your research

Before consulting with a recruiter, have a clear idea of what you want from a position, including your compensation/salary. Evaluate a company and if you determine it meets 80% of your criteria, move forward. Make sure you’re also a good match for a job description. If you don’t have 80% of the skills required for the job, don’t make a recruiter try to pass you off with more skills than you actually have. The 80% rule comes straight from the employer’s rules-of-thumb. For example, a job may require 10 years of experience as an IT project manager and someone applies knowing they only have 5 years of experience as a retail manager. Recruiters are expected to find candidates that match a position’s requirements as closely as possible. In most cases, they’re competing against other recruiters who will also be sending candidates to employers who closely match the requirements. Recruiters remain competitive by finding job seekers who match as many requirements as possible. This isn’t to say that the job always goes to the candidate who best fits a job description and requirements.

Recruiters also want you to be as marketable for as many positions as possible, as they are sales people. They may even advise you to be presented for an opportunity outside of what you have decided to consider, if you have the needed skills and qualifications. A recruiter can give you advice about how to get placed, but they are not career management advisors or career coaches. Use your discretion when making these types of decisions and maintain control of your career direction. Don’t waste your time if you know a position outside of your comfort zone will be a lifestyle burden or a huge step backward. However, be open-minded about everything else and remain truthful about what you ultimately want throughout interview process. Sometimes, you can’t see the path to what you want from what’s being offered, but once you get in the door and establish your value and inspire excitement, you may be able to create the path you want.

If you’re working with a third-party recruiter, be honest about your compensation. External recruiters are compensated for a successfully-placed candidate and their fee is usually 20% to 30% of a candidate’s first year salary. The higher your starting salary is, the more a recruiter is paid. That said, the process of negotiation with a recruiter is very different from negotiating with a potential employer. In the employer’s case, the process involves a direct discussion. An external recruiter is the advocate who will negotiate in your best interest to land a position at the highest rate possible. There are times when an employer will give the job to the cheapest candidate. However, better employers understand the value of greater experience that a potential hire can bring. A higher salary is a justifiable business expense, but it must be ultimately approved by finance. The sky isn’t the limit when it comes to company budgets.

 

Be courteous

Recruiters are people too. This is a golden rule that some professionals overlook. When I was just starting out in recruiting I spoke with professionals who treated me as though I was a peon. They insulted me for not knowing enough about what they did. If I asked them about their skills, they would tell me my questions didn’t really matter. I should have known they possessed particular skills because they were experienced experts. They did not enable me to validate the depth of their knowledge by providing answers to my questions.  They were the type of candidates who, in their show of bravado, failed to impress me! As I gained more experience, I would continue to ask questions about their technical skills to validate them, especially after I learned (the hard way) that some candidates are very good at pretending they are skilled. A lack of respect and an over-exaggeration of skills make these types of candidates very difficult to place and risky to present. If they were condescending toward a recruiter, imagine how they might treat a potential employer.

Take a recruiter’s unsolicited calls even when you’re not looking. I often hear many people complaining about how recruiters only want you when they need you. However, I can say the same was mirrored back to me when I was a recruiter. Certainly, I made hundreds of calls per day and some days only received 10 return calls. Granted, if I’m a recruiter and I’m trying to fill a position, talking on the phone with a candidate who’s not actively looking doesn’t seem like the best investment of my time. Nevertheless, building a relationship is a very wise investment of time for both sides. Even if you’re not actively seeking a position, hear what a recruiter has to say, learn about the open position and refer a friend. Someday, if that friend is placed, they could be your internal sponsor for a position you’re interested in. Chances are, you’ll be looking for a new position in three to five years. Plus, some recruiters have a referral program and you could earn a one-time bonus when a friend is placed.

Perhaps you are sick of getting calls from screeners who seem to be very far removed from the recruiting process. Refute your bias, as my old vice president used to say. You don’t really know as much as you think you know about people on the other side. You certainly don’t know who they might be some day. A recruiter could someday become a valued ally, an industry leader, or even your next boss. A screener may seem like an extra gatekeeper, but if the gate opens for you, it’s one step closer to your potential next job.

 

Follow-up after an interview and keep in touch

Follow-up with your recruiter after a company interview and let them know how it went. Be honest, relay anything concerning that may have occurred during the interview. Recruiters can sometimes go to bat for you and can make all the difference. For example, if you had a rough morning and when you walked into the interview, you may have been flustered and nervous. Let your recruiter know about difficulties you had and he or she may be able to talk to HR and keep your name in the candidate pool.

Keep in touch with your recruiter by using patient persistence. This means sending e-mails and phone calls if you don’t hear back from them immediately. Ask about any relevant information regarding the position. Start your follow-up within a week of submitting your résumé and within a few days of an interview. Weekly check-ins are reasonable if your recruiter has submitted you. Always confirm the submission; they do owe it to you to let you know whether or not they have submitted you for the open position. If you haven’t been submitted, ask why. You may not have been a good match or a better candidate may have received the job.

In fact, most recruiters don’t mind you following up because they’re busy. They work on job requirements that are hot and tend to let follow-ups fall through the cracks. “Hot” is the sense of an urgent need, where the chances of getting a placement are high and the fees are desirable. That doesn’t mean recruiters don’t want to give you an update. If you take it upon yourself to ask for an update, and practice persistence, you can receive the information you need relatively painlessly.

 

Build a relationship

A steady flow of talent is the lifeblood of a recruiter and referrals can help immensely. If you don’t fit a position, refer someone who does. Better yet, refer a client to a recruiter. You may know a company with a particular problem that a friend or colleague may be able to solve. In this case, your colleague has new work and a company can resolve an issue. Not all recruiters work on business development, but you can imagine how great a recruiter looks when they’re able to place candidates AND bring in new business. Additionally, share news and resources. Recruiters are often so busy with work that they may have missed hearing about the latest trend. Candidates can be their eyes and ears, and help them keep abreast of new trends. A little information can go a long way in building a relationship.

Take your relationship with a recruiter to a new level by engaging them through social media. Try connecting with them through LinkedIn using customized invitations. Additionally, Twitter and Google+ are great places to connect, follow and keep in touch. Many recruiters have also mentioned through Tweet Chats that Google+ is a resource they use to find IT professionals. Tweet Chats are a good way to learn directly about hiring from employment thought leaders. (You can participate with me and other experts in a Tweet Chat this Friday at 3PM ET under #epicjobsearch.) Being connected on social media is also a great way to demonstrate your passion and expertise in an industry. Your résumé may state your skills and interests, but social media is a great way to illustrate those interests.

 

Working with a recruiter can help you land at a new job faster. If you’re a match for a position, a recruiter will do everything in his or her power to make sure you’re hired. A recruiter can bring momentum to your job search. Imagine being able to find open doors at a company because you took the time to establish a relationship with a recruiter. This relationship can enhance your own ability to create job security in the future.

 

The Dreaded Recruiter Blacklist: Does it exist and are you on it?

rejected by Sean MacEntee from Flickr

rejected by Sean MacEntee from Flickr

 

Have you been worried throughout your transition that “it” would catch up to you. You’ve been watching over your shoulder and trembling uncontrollably at every interview. You do your best to calm your jittery nerves, but you’re afraid the interviewer picked up on some of your unease. Why are you so nervous during the interview?

Did you exaggerate your experience on your résumé?

Did you tell a small white lie about your qualifications?

Did you change your birth date to make yourself seem younger?

Did you not research a company as well as you wanted to, and tried to wing-it throughout the interview?

These little white lies could cause a recruiter to blacklist you (yes, it exists), if he or she discovers you weren’t being completely truthful. Even a small faux pas during an interview could cause your name to be written down on a blacklist. No one wants to end up on such a list. Being blacklisted means recruiters will not work with you, and will ensure your résumé won’t end up in front of a hiring manager. In short, finding the next job or career opportunity becomes that much more difficult.

Allow me to paint you another scenario:

A woman desperately wants to land a job at her dream company. She enlists the aid of two recruiting firms to place her résumé in front of a hiring manager. Recruiting Firm B gets the credit for submitting her résumé to the company. Recruiting Firm A had no idea she was using another recruiter, and was furious when they didn’t get the credit, or their fee for her hire. The slighted firm swore they would never work with the woman again and blacklisted her. Later, the woman decided to take a counter-offer from her current employer. At the very last minute she turned down the position, leaving that employer in a bind. To further make a mess of the situation, Recruiting Firm B lost the fee they would have collected from the placement, and their relationship with their client was damaged. Firm B also blacklisted the woman.

Incredibly, the woman decided she wanted another shot at her dream company. She contacted one of the recruiting firms and was met with a chilly reception. She was never called back for an interview and her calls to other recruiters were ignored. She tried to apply for positions at other companies, but found it incredibly difficult to land a job. By burning both recruitment firms, the woman was branded as difficult to work with, deceptive, and unreliable.

In the recruiting world, this woman’s actions would be considered a huge “no-no.”

Why job seekers are blacklisted:

Potential job seekers can be blacklisted by recruiters for a variety of reasons, ranging from minor to major offenses. Perhaps you told a little white lie, or had a blow up with your old boss, who now serves as a bad reference. Being let go early from a contract you had through a consulting firm is also a reason that recruiters might blacklist you. These are actual scenarios I’ve encountered as a recruiter. The criteria for getting blacklisted generally fall into two categories:

  1. You make a recruiter look bad, or make them fear that you will make them look bad with a client.
  1. You waste a recruiter’s time.

Bullhorn Reach has a fantastic infographic on the major reasons why job seekers are blacklisted.

Lying and/or exaggerating experiences: Roughly 21% of job seekers lie or exaggerate their qualifications on their résumé. Lying about your qualifications, or the experience you have for a position can be detrimental to everyone in the long run. If someone lands a job based on skills they lied about, it would quickly become apparent they aren’t match for the job. The employee is out of a job and now has a black mark on their résumé for lying. The employer has to expend time, energy, and money to fill the position again. Additionally, the recruiter’s reputation takes a blow with their client, the employer. When a recruiter markets a candidate, they are using the information they were provided. If it turns out a candidate lied, then the candidate is perceived to be untrustworthy, and that information is passed along to other recruiters.

Lying can come back to haunt you. Be truthful about your experience and qualifications when applying to a job

Using different recruiters to apply for the same job: Last week I touched upon how recruiters collect fees for the successful hiring of a candidate. However, only one recruiter can collect a fee per candidate. In other words, if a job seeker uses two recruiters to land the same job, only one recruiter can collect a fee. If a recruiter works to market a candidate to a client, only to find out someone else did it first, they’ve just lost their pay. Employers don’t want to fight with recruiters over fees, nor do recruiters want to fight over fees. Think about it this way, if someone at your job caused you to lose a potential chunk of income, would you want to work with him or her ever again?

Too many résumé submissions: A job candidate who applies for too many open positions at one employer can find themselves blacklisted. You may think you’re increasing your chances of landing a job, but the opposite actually occurs. You come off as desperate, and more interested in simply having a job, versus seeking a career and being a good fit for the employer. Too many résumé submissions also make you look unfocused in the eyes of a recruiter. Desperate employees can be hard to motivate, are disinterested in the job, and tend to quickly move on once they find a better position. No recruiter wants to make extra work for themselves by trying to find a suitable position within the company for the candidate. Nor is it a recruiter’s job to do so. Their only job is to fill open positions, not to discover which job a potential employee would be a good match for.

A better strategy is to boil your submissions down to three positions, max. The positions should closely match up with your qualifications, because you want to appear interested and focused.

Being difficult to reach: Making it difficult for a recruiter you’re working with to reach you by phone can be a huge turnoff. A recruiter may call you during working hours, or while you’re at home, but if you’re actively seeking to change employers you have to get back to them within a reasonable time. Recruiters are extremely busy with multiple candidates, and don’t have much patience for playing phone tag. If they make a reasonable effort to contact you, and their calls are never returned, they will move on to the next candidate. A good rule of thumb is to call a recruiter back within an hour (or less) of a missed call. They are more flexible with working candidates, but they’ll need to make sure that if they do the work of arranging an interview for you during work hours, that you’ll be able to make it. Reassure them by finding away to make a call work. Likewise, you may turn down too many jobs. It is your prerogative to pick and choose which opportunities to pursue, but if a recruiter believes that your criteria are unreasonable and you say no to 4 or 5 opportunities in a row that seem to be suitable, they won’t bother with you next time around.

Too many calls per week: You can be proactive, and follow up with a recruiter to show them you’re interested in the position. There is a “good” frequency and a “bad” frequency when it comes to calling recruiters. It is possible to be overly-eager or outright aggressive. The Bullhorn survey reveals that 11% of recruiters have had job seekers follow up with them about a position multiple times each week. According to the same survey, 43% of those recruiters have blacklisted a candidate because of those multiple calls. Getting numerous calls per day or week from a candidate is extremely annoying, especially if a recruiter has already responded to them about their status. It’s not much different from if you were disturbed each day at work by multiple calls from telemarketers. It can be a major turn off, and can make a person never want to work with you again.

Limiting your inquiries to once a week can fulfill the need to know about your status without annoying a recruiter. A little patience goes a long way.

Being unprepared for an interview: Your recruiter has finally gotten you in front of a hiring manager, and you’re completely unprepared for the interview. A failure to ask questions, not bringing more than one copy of a résumé, showing up late, being overly nervous, and not know much about the company are many factors that go into a bad interview. A bad interview is a waste of time for everyone involved. You don’t get the job, the hiring manager has wasted his or her time, and the recruiter potentially adds you to a blacklist if it was more than a fluke.

An interview is your time to shine. Thoroughly researching a company, practicing before an interview, and projecting self-confidence are good ways to conduct a great interview, and to leave a great impression on a hiring manager. Self-confidence may sound like something you manufacture, but it’s more like a byproduct of being prepared. This includes not only understanding the company’s needs, but how to articulate how your qualifications and skills fill their needs. Good impressions mean you’ll be able to obtain a referral from a recruiter or a hiring manager, or you may be considered for another job opening in the future.

Rejecting a job offer: You aced the interview, and you were offered the position within the company. You have the details of your salary, a contract, and a start date finalized. At the VERY last moment you decide to reject the job offer. Now the company that hired you is in a bind. They were expecting you to work for them, now that have to scramble and find a new candidate for the job. The recruiter who vouched for you is now out of a commission fee. Such a move makes a candidate unreliable, and is generally a major headache for all of the involved parties. A candidate who can’t commit to his or her obligations, or is indecisive at the very end of the hiring process is not the type of person a recruiter (or anyone for that matter) would want to work with in the future.

Being unprofessional and/or disrespectful: This last topic covers a broad range of issues. You could come off as unprofessional in an interview if you show up late. At the interview you may be dressed too casually, or you may be negative about your previous employer. Unprofessionalism could show up before you even get to the interview process. For example, a recruiter could look up your online presence and find less than savory information about you on your social media outlets. Or perhaps you talked to a recruiter at a job networking event, and a joke came off as unprofessional. Joann S. Lublin writes about a number of cases where job seekers have landed in the bad graces of recruiters in her Wall Street Journal article, “How a Black Mark Can Derail a Job Search.

You could have a genuine, but very emotional reaction to a job rejection, such as anger or sadness. That’s uncomfortable and a recruiter will fear you’ll break down in front of their client. They won’t consider submitting your résumé to hiring manager again. Even if you are rejected for a job, you can still build a relationship with a recruiter. This could come in the form of a future opening with the company, or even a good referral. Even if a recruiter is unprofessional to you, it is in your best interest to remain professional and calm. They still have the power to blacklist you, and word of mouth can travel quickly.

 

How recruiters blacklist job candidates:

Recruiters may or may not keep an actual blacklist for job candidates. The list can be in the form of an internal document, or red flag on a candidate’s profile. Other times, recruiters may simply make a mental note of a candidate they wish to never do business with again. Recruiters don’t live and work in a bubble. They connect and network with other recruiters, hiring managers and career coaches on a regular basis. Going back to Lublin’s Wall Street Journal piece, the opening anecdote is about a software developer who was well qualified for a position, but had terrible presentation skills. The recruiter pointed the software developer out to an HR official and a career coach. When the man inquired about relevant openings for a job, the recruiter replied he had been checking, but didn’t find any openings. The recruiter then quietly told the pair that he “would never submit him to any clients.” That day, the software developer landed on two blacklists. The recruiting world is especially small. Recruiters bump into their competition all the time. When recruiters want to advance their own career, they sometimes go to the competition, which means that the competition is rife with former colleagues.

The main point of blacklists is to raise red flags against the liars and misfits. Oof. It’s true, but it hurts, and this is also something that happens. Someone can show up on a blacklist for not presenting well, having a funny smell, wearing loud clothing, or an annoying laugh. Liars can damage the reputation of a recruiter, and can wreak havoc on an employer if they are not qualified for the position. Or a candidate can be unreliable or unprofessional. Sometimes candidates are put on blacklists for good reasons, such as lying about qualifications. Other times, seemingly small infractions can land a candidate on a blacklist, such as joke told in poor taste at an interview or networking event. Or perhaps a former boss doesn’t like you and adds you to a blacklist. Either way, being on a blacklist can negatively impact your career. It can make it more difficult to land a position, but we’ve helped good people through these things.

 

The negative impacts on your job transition:

Again, it can be difficult to navigate a job transition with any strikes against you, but not impossible. Good people can recover from being blacklisted.

Being on a recruiter’s blacklist means that he or she won’t forward your résumé to a hiring manager. You may be highly qualified for a position, passionate about your job, and ready to make a difference at a company. None of that matters, if you’re labeled as unpresentable or unemployable. You won’t get interviews for positions, and you could find your career stalled. If you’re employed, you may be stuck at your current employer for much longer than you want to be. The inability to change jobs means that you won’t be able to improve your salary or compensation. Employees who change jobs can earn 10% to 20% more than someone who stays at their current job for more than two years.

If you’re currently unemployed, the results of being on a blacklist are even worse. It can take you much longer to land a new job. A task that could normally take weeks or a few months, could be delayed by years thanks to a black mark on your file, if you attempt to confront the job search by yourself. The continued loss of income is devastating for your personal and professional life. No one wants to have to burn through unemployment compensation, or savings just to survive.

 

Being on a blacklist doesn’t have to be a permanent predicament. First, you have to find out if you’re on a blacklist. A career coach could help you discover if you’ve been blacklisted, or a recruiter you have a relationship with could also help. Other times, you may immediately know if you’ve fallen into a recruiter’s bad graces.

Recruiters are reasonable people, and reaching out to make amends can go a long way in getting yourself removed from a blacklist. You can refer people in your network to recruiters as a favor to them. You can treat them to lunch, meet them in person, and apologize for the offense. The important part is to get off of a recruiter’s blacklist once you’re on it IF you can. If you can’t, you will have to land a job without recruiters, which people do all the time, especially with our help. Of course, the best way to avoid the blacklist is to be your best self at all times and understand the powerful impact your actions and words can have.

Why Recruiters Won’t Get You a Job

The Deal by Stavos from Flickr

The Deal by Stavos from Flickr

 

“I hate when I’m working with a recruiter on an opening and, after I go in for a round of interviews, I don’t get any feedback. E-mails and calls go unanswered. The recruiter falls off the face of the Earth until he gets another job in that could work for me.” This quote from iMedia Connection is one of many complaints that job seekers have about recruiters.  Many job seekers believe that recruiters are really failing at their job, and while we agree that there is a level of responsiveness and common courtesy sometimes lacking, most of job seekers’ frustrations stem from the fact that there are misconceptions between who recruiters actually work for and what recruiters should be doing for job seekers. An article written by Molly Triffin on LearnVest perfectly highlights these misconceptions:

Amethyst Polk was a NASA project analyst. Despite her outstanding performance reviews, she found herself laid off during furloughs. She acted quickly to find a new job. After exhausting job boards and job fairs, she turned to her LinkedIn account. She cleaned up her profile, and highlighted the ways she contributed to her industry. It wasn’t long before Polk started getting calls from recruiters. She admitted she had no idea how to work with them, and was under the impression they worked to help her find a job. Her misunderstanding meant that it took her longer to land a job because she was missing out on very fruitful alternate resources. Eventually, Polk did figure out how to work with the recruiters and found employment as a result.

Like Amethyst Polk, many job seekers search their networks, and polish up their LinkedIn profiles in the hopes of attracting a recruiter. In some cases recruiters contacts them, and they still don’t get the job. Why? Because in reality recruiters work for their clients, the employers, not the job seeker. Unfortunately, many job hunters are under the impression that a recruiter’s job is to find out what you want to do and then go out and find a job for you. This prolongs the job searching process because job hunters may end up wasting time pitching to recruiters for jobs they can’t help them land.

 

This brings up another common gripe – recruiters simply blast out job offers, regardless of if a job hunter is qualified or not. For example, if you’re an IT Manager, you certainly don’t want to hear about entry-level jobs. You are in a database and a keyword in your résumé popped up in a keyword search. You then became part of a mass mailing list. They didn’t even read your résumé. Should you waste your time letting the recruiter know that you don’t fit? No. Just ignore it if it’s nothing you would pursue. Whenever you can, though, pass it on! That’s what they’re hoping – that you’ll see the job posting and because you touched this technology or worked with this methodology that you know someone who would be interested in pass it on if you don’t want to pursue it. Misguided and inconvenient? It can certainly be perceived this way, but it is an opportunity. Referral bonuses are very common these days and nurturing your network is a great way to harvest more job leads from your contacts. If you want to avoid this altogether, don’t work with that recruiter. Find another one. Not all of them blast out inappropriate job postings. You also have the option of not using recruiters at all. There are certainly client who I advise not to work with recruiters because they are not what a recruiter would consider “presentable,” employable though they may be. However, if you are a presentable candidate, you would put potential limits on your future opportunity to shun recruiters. They can be the agent that moves the hiring process along on your behalf, if they feel you are their best chance at getting the placement.

You can form relationships with recruiters, while keeping in mind they work for the employer. After all, you both have a mutual interest. They are motivated by money earned from placements and they want to keep their job by filling open positions for their client. You want to be the one who lands that open position. A deeper understanding on how recruiters work can give you an edge during your job transition. More importantly, a better understanding of recruiters can reduce frustration, which causes friction. You will know better to make recruiters a supplemental part of your job search rather than depending on them. Also, if you depend too heavily on recruiters, you are limiting possible opportunity to those jobs that are filled by recruiters, which are NOT all jobs. According to a 2014 Jobvite survey, 40% of job seekers have found their best job through personal connections while about 10% found a job through recruiters.

 

The different types of recruiters

 

First of all, recruiters are NOT hiring managers with ultimate authority to hire you. They are responsible for locating suitable talent for a client, and getting qualified candidates in front of hiring managers. There are several types of recruiters, and they all have the same goal of helping a client fill open positions.  Knowing what type of recruiter you are working with is half the battle.

 

Internal recruiters are employees of the hiring company, and their sole job is to fill open positions. They work at their employer’s location, and also conduct interviews there. Success for an internal recruiter depends on how quickly they can fill an open position, how long those hires “stick” and how well they perform. Internal recruiters are usually in a hurry to fill a position for their employer, and don’t have a vested interest in helping you get a job. Their number one goal is to position their employer for optimal success by procuring the best candidates for the job. They often have a goal of narrowing the field of candidates down to one to three per open position, and only one candidate will get the job.

Working with internal recruiters can be advantageous for job seekers, as they have an inside perspective. They know how their organization works, and they know lots of important people in the hiring process, namely the hiring managers. If they feel you are best person for the open position, they may act as an advocate, and may even give you a heads up in terms of the employee culture. That said, internal recruiters are not your personal job advocates. Their loyalty is always with their employer.

 

External recruiters are third-party firms engaged by employers. Some work on contingency, meaning they only get paid if their candidate gets hired, and some are retained, or used exclusively by a company to deliver top-tier, usually passive, candidates. Retained recruiters are usually hired because they have demonstrated the ability to find the best candidates who get hired and produce. Also, there are external recruiters on-site at their clients managing the whole recruiting process (RPO – Recruiting Process Outsourcing.) This may or not be transparent to you, the candidate. They usually have a corporate e-mail address and are every bit as integrated into the hiring function as an internal recruiter would be. The fee they charge employers is usually a percentage of the first year’s annual salary for the job being filled, which is usually 20% to 30%, or more.

The big advantage of working with an contingent recruiter is that if they don’t find the winning candidate, they have no fee to collect. However, retained recruiters DO get a retainer fee and then a placement bonus;  they are expected to fill the job no matter what. The higher your starting salary is, the greater the fee they collect, so they have a vested interest in help you garner the best offer. The downside is that their fee raises the cost of an employer to hire you, and an employer may be tempted to pick an applicant willing to accept a lower salary, or a candidate who isn’t working with a recruiter. Referrals are the number one source for hire volume and the quality of hires, versus third party recruiting firms.

 

What recruiters actually do

 

No matter what type of recruiter you work for, they all have the goal of finding the best person for the position. The more effectively a recruiter matches top talent to job requirements, better they are at their job. They are not career coaches, and it is not their job to determine how you would fit into their or their clients’ organization. Don’t expect them to guide you during your job search, though some offer,  and you cannot hire them to work for you as a job seeker’s agent. They can get your résumé in front of a hiring manager, but they may not have any control of the hiring process. They can be relied upon as the experts to consult on hiring matters, however. It is expected that they know more about the market in terms of availability of talent and rates or salaries.

Also, recruiters will advise you to make changes to your résumé and consider jobs for which you are qualified that you might not want. They want you to be as marketable as possible. The better you present yourself, the more this will be true. They are sales people in this way. They may have to sell you on the opportunity, and then they have to sell you either to an account manager or the hiring manager directly. They also have little expertise or interest in teaching you how to look for a job outside of them. They wouldn’t want that because it makes you less of a source of their income AND the feedback that they get from hiring managers gives them a certain tunnel vision. Often, I was told that the candidate MUST have a certain experience, and they wound up hiring someone without it based on a recommendation. They expect recruiters to deliver a candidate that meets the requirements exactly, but that doesn’t mean they hire the most candidates who match the requirements best. Asking career advice of a recruiter will help you understand your best chance at landing generally, but not the optimal place you should look for a job when they can’t present or place you, especially if you are changing industries or roles, nor can they qualify what the best possible role would be for your skills, talents and professional goals. They must also be a career coach to offer this type of advice, and I know some are (like me.)

 

Communicating with a recruiter

 

Finding suitable talent for an employer is more time consuming than ever. Hundreds to thousands of candidates may apply to a single job opening. Recruiters have to prioritize their time, and the bulk of their time goes to strong candidates. If they feel you’re a good match for a job requirement or a role that has needs ongoingly, they will spend more time speaking to you. On the flipside, recruiters will spend very little to no time working with candidates they feel are a poor match for their clients. This includes not responding to e-mails or sending out rejection notices. Recruiters spend most of their day screening out candidates. This doesn’t mean they are routing against you. They want to believe that you are the candidate that their client will hire, but they are skeptical, and for good reason. Doug Horn writes about the various ways candidates have told lies to recruiters in his article “Résumé Fraud: How Recruiters and Businesses Can Know if Candidates are Lying.” It’s not even just deception, but the unpredictable nature of candidates. It can be very tricky, sometimes funny, often mind-boggling when people are your product. Taking the time to follow up with a recruiter, researching a company, and practicing for an interview can help ensure that you move on to the next stage of the hiring process. This takes persistence. Call them versus e-mailing them up to four times before giving up. The squeaky wheel, as they say. Check out my vlog “Do recruiters want you to call.” Own staying in communication with your recruiter, have regular check-ins and updates on interviewing activities. These early impressions matter, because how you do anything is how you do everything.

 

Why you should work with a recruiter

 

Job seeking and making career transitions are all about relationships. Getting a job without the right connections, i.e. your network connections, is extremely difficult. You can think of recruiters as another connection in your net”work” to work. As I said earlier, your interests are aligned. They want to find the best possible candidate for an employer, and you want to present yourself as the best possible candidate for an employer. If recruiters find you to be a good match for their client, they can introduce you to a hiring manager. They sometimes know about job openings before anyone else does, and they also know about job openings that aren’t advertised. These unadvertised positions are typically a firm’s highest paying and most senior positions. Recruiters can give you insight into the employer’s organization, and who the real hiring decision makers are. External recruiters are paid a contingency fee that is based on your starting salary, and they can help you obtain a higher salary.

 

Ways to optimize your success

 

How do you get a recruiter to successfully notice you? Have a strong online presence. That sends recruiters running toward you. Keyword optimization is important, but it has to be in context. A little ago I wrote about how to effectively use keywords. LinkedIn is the number one choice for recruiters to find talent. Make sure your other social networks are geared toward helping your job prospects, instead of hindering them. Your online presence is a great way to show how you’re an industry leader, and how you keep abreast of events. Use LinkedIn to connect with recruiters, both internal and external. This is mutually beneficial because recruiters can easily research you. Join industry-specific groups, college alumni, and corporate alumni groups within LinkedIn. Not only will you stand out among other users, but these are also places recruiters frequent on the service when they are searching for talent.

Once you have the attention of a recruiter there is more work to do to make sure you are placed in front of a hiring manager. A recruiter’s goal is to narrow job applicants down to one from three per job description in their quest to present the best candidate to their client. To avoid being cut during the screening process, demonstrate you did the research for an employer by presenting a recruiter with a T-table with the requirements against your qualifications, and a one to two-sentence blurb about something unique and valuable you offer above and beyond the requirements. Your résumé needs to be free of spelling and grammatical errors. Don’t include your references on your résumé, and this brings us to our next critical piece of advice on working with recruiters:

When it comes to qualifying recruiters, you need know that some will keep your references information in their sales database and try to reach out to offer recruiting services to them. Would your references appreciate that? Wouldn’t it be better if you offered to recommend the recruiter if they did a great job placing you? Give references to recruiters after you get their reassurance that they will use the information for references only. If they violate this, blacklist them. They’d do the same to you (stay tuned for a blog on how and why recruiters blacklist you.) In fact, there is a lot more you need to understand about a recruiter before you let them represent you.

Good recruiters limit their submittals, or candidates send, to one to three. The bad recruiters send too many and hiring managers stop giving their candidates attention. Ask the recruiter how many candidates they have presented already and how many are still in play.

Know your external recruiter’s vendor relationship and how it connects to the employer your interested in. Companies can ask external recruiting firms to go through a vendor approval and tiering process. Tier A vendors get priority. Tier B vendors are still approved, but their candidates are only consider if their Tier A didn’t send the match. The tier that your vendor is in can also impact whether the recruiter interfaces with hiring managers directly or not, although some vendor management systems forbid third-party interfacing with hiring managers regardless of tier, which makes it hard for them to influence the hiring decision. These are questions you can ask to better understand your best way in. – Another BIG warning – do not be submitted by multiple recruiters or try to go above your recruiter’s head or you may be eliminated from consideration! It can be perceived as deceptive AND companies avoid candidate ownership disputes at all costs. They probably will not see you as a good enough reason to go through that.

Disclose your criteria and salary requirements up front. Many people trained or coached to negotiate their salary will have been taught to keep their salary requirements private (we don’t coach that way!), but with a recruiter, you have to tell them up front or they won’t bother with you. They don’t always have the leverage to negotiate above the budgets they are given, which is also why some career coaches recommend you avoid them completely. I know this appeals to some job seekers, and if you can effectively leverage alternate job seeking resources, such as your network, then the limits on your future possibility diminish. However, if you cannot generate good JoMo (Job Momentum) without them, give them a try, but make sure you read the next section first.

A recruiter doesn’t always have all opening on their radar. If you see another job position open, ask them about other positions you see posted (but be careful not to apply to too much.) They may have already qualified you, and may be able to present you to a hiring manager faster. If you have already qualified them as a reputable professional, you may have a competitive advantage in working with them. Don’t apply for a position directly through a website; let your recruiter represent you. If they don’t get credit for a successful hire, they don’t get paid, especially if they are an external recruiter.

If you land a job because of a recruiter, thank them for their work by giving them great referrals for other candidates, use them when you hire people, and recommend them when your company is in need of talent.

For a full presentation on how to get interviews using recruiters, view my slide deck, “Get More Interviews: Partner with Recruiters.” (Now included on my LinkedIn profile.)

 

 

Recruiters are a vital part of the hiring process. They can make or break your job hunting prospects. Keep in mind they can help you get a job, but they work for their clients. There are many types of recruiters. There are internal recruiters and external recruiters who either work on contingency or are retained. They may work onsite or offsite. You may also have Tier A and Tier B external recruiters who are approved, or may have unapproved vendors. Knowing which type you’re working with will help you determine who you go to first when you see an open position and who your best shot is at getting the interview and the job offer.

Having a good relationship with a recruiter ensures that you know about high-level jobs that aren’t being advertised. Additionally, forming a connection with a recruiter can mean they consider you first when their client is hiring. Going through recruiters isn’t the only way to land a job, but working with them can make it easier land a position for the job you’re interested in. Better yet, a great relationship with a recruiter may mean they bring offers to you, while you’re passively looking for work. A recruiter works for the employer, and leveraging their position with a potential employer is great way to make moves in your career.

 

Why I do what I do (part III of my series on work attitudes)

Photo courtesy of koka_sexton on Flickr creative commons: http://bit.ly/1Apu1uz.

Photo courtesy of koka_sexton on Flickr creative commons: http://bit.ly/1Apu1uz.

My mom was underpaid and underappreciated. She looked at numbers all day so when she got home she didn’t want to play cards with me. One my favorite things to do was play (win) Rummy.

My dad afforded a nice lifestyle pre-divorce. He napped when he came home when I wanted to play catch. I remember being really little and begging to play “horsey.” Then, the divorce.  It was a long emotional and financial battle that decimated our standard of living for a while. My mom recovered more easily because she continued working and re-married while my dad was forced into early retirement, working odd jobs and surviving on a lesser pension and eventually social security. Now, his health insurance was eliminated as a retirement benefit just when he needs it most.

My brothers enjoyed a higher standard of living for much longer. For the most part, their financial blueprint (J. Harv Eker’s term) was set during better years. All I learned about work and money was that it was tiring and no matter how hard you worked, eventually, there would be no pay off or not the kind that I wanted. I wanted a lot. I dreamt of a BIG life. When I played monopoly with my friend, Julie, we would daydream about huge houses with rooms for all the animals we would rescue and adopt. When I dreamt of a big life, there were always big things I could do for other people at the forefront and at the same time provide exotic opportunities for my kids.

So, going into college, my idea of being a “successful” adult was that you get a degree so you’re not stuck for 20 years in a dead-end clerk job. But I didn’t want to be the boss, either, because then I’d hold down the little guy. Choosing radio as my career was an anti-corporate statement to all of my seemingly misguided advisors. Not until I started attempting to make a buck while I worked in radio that I got to see that not all companies operate like, well, almost every company depicted in every sit com and movie up until…. uh… Grandma’s Boy (circa 2006.)

Then, I realized as a recruiter I could place people in the “good jobs.” At least, that is what I thought I would like best about recruiting, and it was…when it happened. However, speaking with 500 candidates every week and placing maybe one of them is hardly a record of success given my mission.  Plus, for a good percentage of the jobs, my position on the vendor chain didn’t allow me to fully assess the suitability of a job for a candidate. When I was able to get the goods on a job straight from the hiring manager, their budget often prevented me from presenting the best candidate.  So, it was frustrating, but enlightening. Meanwhile, it was becoming clearer what career was going to give me the best chance at really making a difference to professionals seeking career stardom, or even simply career satisfaction – career coaching. Right alongside that was résumé writing. IT résumés appeared to be enigmas for other professional résumé writers. I could tell when a candidate had paid someone to write it, but, unfortunately, oftentimes had to tell them to add or change something.

Eight years after I changed careers yet again, I cannot only say that I found my passion and my purpose, but I have embodied and developed a gift. Now that career fulfillment is something I can speak about first-hand, I want it for EVERYONE!  Thankfully, I have been able to dramatically impact people’s quality of life in a positive way, not that I deserve all of the credit – all of these people were already successful in many ways.  In fact, there is not ONE client that I would say was not BRILLIANT.

Looking forward, you will see an expanded offering of solutions that will fit virtually any budget, and they will generate superior results to anything else currently offered.  I vow to continue my own personal and professional development, and to expand my team in numbers and capacity to help you UNVEIL YOUR BRILLIANCE.

May 2015 bring you better opportunities, better income, and better quality of life!

Heavy D & The Boyz – Now That We Found Love ft. Aaron Hall

Music video by Heavy D & The Boyz performing Now That We Found Love. (C) 1991 Geffen Records

Stop Treating LinkedIn Like An Online Résumé

Photo courtesy of www.flazingo.com/creativecommons.

Photo courtesy of www.flazingo.com/creativecommons.

Are you using your LinkedIn profile as an online résumé?  In other words, does your profile reflect a personal brand you’ve carefully crafted, or does it just mirror your résumé? You know as a professional you need to have a presence on LinkedIn. You created an account, made a few connections, and copied a few items from your résumé to create your profile. In fact, you used so much material from your résumé that it is impossible to distinguish it from your LinkedIn profile. Your LinkedIn profile deserves to be so much more. A résumé is a document that reflects your past experiences and is meant to be seen by future employers. In contrast, a LinkedIn profile is a vital part of your online presence and is meant to be seen by a much wider audience. It should compliment your résumé in an exciting and engaging way.

Your LinkedIn profile is different from your résumé

Let’s imagine a scenario for just a moment. You have been using your LinkedIn profile as little more than an online résumé tool, and a hiring manager comes across your profile. You have already sent them your résumé as part of a job application, and they decided to Google you. Imagine their disappointment as your LinkedIn profile is exactly the same as your résumé. Or, on the flipside, they’ve seen your LinkedIn profile and ask for your résumé. Again, both your résumé and your profile are indistinguishable. This redundancy isn’t helpful because that potential employer won’t learn anything new about you, and you’ve done very little to set yourself apart from other job candidates. A redundant LinkedIn profile is also a major missed opportunity to show employers, connections, and others members of your online audience how unique and interesting you are as a professional. It’s a chance to allow people into the back story of who you are. Help them visualize what it’s like to speak and work with you.

Your résumé is concise, is customized for your potential employer, and is designed to show an employer how you are uniquely qualified for their opportunity. You can’t include all of your past work experiences, recommendations from others, or general interests. In short, your résumé needs to be laser-focused on a specific role, and on a specific employer. However, your LinkedIn profile can include all of your work experience, recommendations and interests. A good profile allows you to weave an engaging professional narrative that showcases your personal brand far beyond your résumé.

Use your LinkedIn Profile to dazzle your audience

LinkedIn should compliment your résumé by being a creative vehicle that illustrates your professional life. Every aspect of your profile should enhance your personal brand. If you’re using the default headline, ditch it. I previously wrote about the importance of strong headlines in my article titled “Increase views: Ditch the default LinkedIn headline.” The experiences section is an opportunity to list vital keywords that will attract the attention of job recruiters. I covered the importance of carefully using keywords in another article, “Use Keywords With Care or Beware.” The summary is where you can exercise the most creative freedom. In contrast to your résumé, you are allowed to talk about yourself in the first-person. Use this section of your LinkedIn profile to breathe life into your experiences, skills and professional achievements.

You don’t want your profile summary to come off as trite and uninteresting. These types of summaries are often subjective and vague. Just think of a profile summary filled with boring buzzwords shaken up in a bag, poured out into a pile, and arranged in the semblance of a paragraph. Here’s an example of a profile summary filed with cliché words pulled right out of a résumé:

“A dynamic individual with great leadership skills who is highly organized. A proven track record of accomplishments and great teamwork. An effective communicator with a strong business sense and a can-do attitude…”

Most career consultants and recruiters viewing this LinkedIn profile would be tempted to close the page quickly as they stifled a yawn. I believe a person with such a profile is capable of so much more than a lifeless summary. Don’t fall into the trap of creating a boring paragraph of buzzwords. Tell your audience a captivating story. Here’s an example of a more engaging profile summary:

“From a young age the phrase, ‘Shoot for the stars,’ has always caught my attention. It spoke to the core belief that I should never do anything half-heartedly. If I’m going to do something, whether it is professionally or personally, I’m going to go above and beyond anyone else.

‘I have over a decade of experience managing large IT projects, and leading large teams to success. Under my leadership, members of my team knew exactly what was expected of them. The results of our projects were some of the best in the industry…”

This type of profile summary captures a reader’s attention and gently invites them to learn more about you. In short, it compliments your actual résumé and adds a new level of distinction to your online presence. Earlier, I mentioned a hiring manager coming across your LinkedIn profile. Now imagine their delight as they read a captivating profile that brings a new dimension to your résumé.

The point is to captivate your audience and polish your personal brand to until it shines. Again, your résumé is a brief account of your job qualifications, while your LinkedIn profile is a living part of your online presence. It is a compliment to an already great résumé. Your audience should be entranced by your profile, and should want to connect with you. A redundant LinkedIn profile that mirrors your résumé is a wasted opportunity. Unveil your brilliance by showing your online audience just how creative and interesting your professional life is!

Daryl Hall & John Oates – Missed Opportunity

1988 Music Video for Missed Opportunity

Only 44% of unemployed job seekers have LinkedIn profiles and other staggering data

I’m surprised at how frequently a job seeker will ask me if recruiters are really looking for candidates on LinkedIn. I’m also surprised how many job seekers still don’t have a presence on LinkedIn. Even if you are not a job seeker, unless you are financially free, chances are good you will be in the next 3 years! What are you waiting for?

Here is some lovely data to back up my assertion.

Results of my 2012 Discussion posed: How much time do you spend on LinkedIn each week, and is it regimented or as needed? If as needed, what is the need that precipitates it?

Though this discussion did not garner significant participation, I feel I made a promise to share the results and I like to keep my promises.

I posted this discussion on 7 different LinkedIn recruiting and human resources groups and received responses from 7 people from 3 different groups (ERE.net, Global Recruiting Alliance, and Purple Squirrel Quest).

  • 2 were Certified Internet Recruiters
  • 1 was a C-level executive
  • 2 owned their own recruiting companies
  • 1 was an outsourced HR professional working onsite
  • 1 was just a super-savvy recruiter

The consensus was that LinkedIn was something they used daily for at least an hour a day.

Some interesting differences:

  • A CIR often used the LinkedIn profile as the primary profile of their candidates, rather than a résumé.
  • The savvy recruiter was very focused on using LinkedIn to build a proactive pipeline.
  • The C-level executive checked LinkedIn status updates hourly.
  • A CIR and one of the business owners cite using LinkedIn’s community features to stay connected to their industry.
  • The other business owner used LinkedIn 8-10 hours per day during the week and several hours over the weekend!

Since these results are interesting, but not significant, I wanted to share some data from a report with much more meaningful data. This data is from the Jobvite 2012 Social Recruiting Report

http://bit.ly/SRR13

“Social recruiting not only increases the number of applicants in the hiring pipeline, but also the quality of candidates.”

  • 92% of respondents use or plan to use social media for recruiting, an increase of almost ten percent from the 83% using social recruiting in 2010. In 2011 it was 89%.
  • 73% have successfully hired a candidate through social networks, making social recruiting a highly effective source of quality new hires. – up from 58% in 2010! 89% of the time, this was through LinkedIn!
  • A large majority of recruiters (71%) consider themselves savvy in social recruiting, having a sizeable understanding of what to look for in social profiles.
  • 49% of recruiters who implemented social recruiting saw an increase in the quantity of candidates, and 43% noted a surge in the quality of candidates.

So where are they on social media?

  • 93% have adopted LinkedIn – up from 78% in 2010!
  • 66% on Facebook – up from 55%
  • 54% are on Twitter – up fro 45%

That’s still more on Twitter than aren’t on Twitter!

What I would like to know is, what percentage of their time on social media, LinkedIn in particular, is dedicated to what part of the recruiting cycle. If I had to guess, based on how I used to use LinkedIn and train recruiters to use it, it would be broken down as such:

  • 10% to blast out job openings (since this doesn’t take much time now)
  • 40% to source candidates
  • 20% to qualify already sourced candidates
  • 20% to compare candidates for interview opportunities
  • 10% to compare candidates for offers

Can anyone out there confirm or dispute this?

Since they also do a job seeker report and I have so many job seekers apparently unaware of the frequency with which LinkedIn is depended upon, I wondered how many job seekers are actually hip to the trend.

Firstly, here’s a staggering number – 75%

  • 75% of the workforce is looking for a job!
  • 48% of those are employed. Both of these numbers are up from last year. 69% of the workforce was job-hunting then and only 35% were employed.
  • 61% of those job seekers say job seeking is much harder than it was in 2011.
  • 41% of job seekers are unemployed (sounds like a good topic for a vlog!)

So, here it is:

  • 44% of unemployed job seekers have a LinkedIn profile.  Say WHAT?!
  • 85% are on Facebook (no surprise)
  • 51% are on Twitter (that is surprising!)

Even more surprising

  • 31% of employed job seekers have a LinkedIn profile!
  • 75% are on Facebook
  • 31% are on Twitter

Of them all, Facebook was the most likely site to take a candidate out of the running!

Volunteering and organizational memberships were very highly weighted in a job seeker’s favor.

So, there is a meal for thought.

If you don’t know where to start, we have webinars available for this exact reason.

To at least get you going on LinkedIn, go here: http://bit.ly/7daysLI

To make sure that once you are up and running you can be in the right type of action that will help you land sooner based on how recruiters are actually searching, go here: http://bit.ly/3jobsecrets

And by the way – we write LinkedIn profiles that attract unsolicited job offers! Not all of our clients are job seekers, but they sure get sought out, and some even make career advancements they thought were years away! www.charesume.com

😉

Disclosing your salary

Let us All Apply for Our Stimulus by Robert Huffstutter of Flickr

Let us All Apply for Our Stimulus by Robert Huffstutter of Flickr

Recently, many employment professionals weighed in on whether or not they would work with a candidate who did not disclose his or her salary. This is a very important topic, I feel, because there are so many factors that should determine the answer and some outplacement firms and other career coaches seem to definitively advise their clients NOT to be the first to divulge. This can be dangerous advice. Read some of this feedback straight from employers’ mouths:

“It is important to know if you are pursuing a candidate that you can afford. I’m not going to pay them less than the range nor more. Candidates unwilling to give that basic information are likely going to be a problem child on other items as well.” – Corporate Recruiter

“I won’t waste my time, or the candidate’s for that matter, if I don’t know if we are even in the same ballpark. You are there to help him. You can’t do that if you don’t have all of the information.” – Internal Recruiter

“99% of your interviewees don’t have a problem with discussing salary. Why waste time with the 1%?” – President, Executive Staffing Firm

“During my twenty years of overseeing recruiting in almost every conceivable specialty there is one and ONLY one reason a candidate would not reveal salary- that reason quite simply is: He is embarrassed at how low his salary is compared to your opportunity (assuming you have revealed the figure for your search), and even if you did not reveal the figure for your search, he has come to the conclusion revealing his salary will hurt his bargaining position due to it being below market value.” – President, Executive Staffing Firm

 

The majority of these professionals understand the importance of earning a candidate’s trust. If they recognize that there is none or that it is unidirectional, they may decide that their time is better spent working with a candidate who is willing to share the information that they need to earn the trust of the hiring manager, which is much more valuable. Certainly it is recognized that power in negotiating can be gained by holding your cards close to your chest, but the gamble that you take to have the position of power is that you will be left out of the game completely.

 

Listen to how the question is formatted

There is a difference between a salary requirement and a salary history. At the very least, confidently state your salary requirement. It can be in a range, but be able to verbalize what would make you consider the lower end of the range versus the higher end. If salary history is requested and you are asking for more than 10% of what you had made, be prepared to justify your request without being defensive. Educate yourself on the market and the value of your skills. Remember that the process is a give and take, so ask them what you need to know as well.