Fly with the Phoenix

Tips for working with job recruiters
June 30, 2009, 2:07 am
Filed under: Career Transitions | Tags: ,

Hotdogs and mustard. June and weddings. The Chicago Cubs and bad jokes about losing.  Some things just fit together naturally.

But what about job seekers and recruiters? Recently I’ve seen family members and friends lose and find jobs. Those who have included a recruiter in their job search have had mixed success and frustrating experiences.

Yet without job candidates, a recruiter has no job. It made me wonder how job hunters and recruiters can work at this symbiosis so that both sides might win. With so many people looking for a job or new career, chances are they will bump into a recruiter at least once.

I put the question, “How can job seekers work with recruiters” on LinkedIn to test the waters for this topic. Here are some of the interesting responses I received.

Suresh Billa is an assistant manager of recruiting for an information technology consulting company in India. He said recruiters play a prominent role in getting the right job for job seekers. They are contact points between the job seeker and many employers. 

“If a person wants to look for a job, instead of going to different employers …he present(s) himself in front of a recruiter and after that, the recruiter will take care of the next session. As recruiters will have access to many employers . . .they can fit the job seeker to the exact position,” Billa said.

Chuck Voyles, staff engineer for a defense and space company in Rockford, Ill., has used recruiters in the past and had good and bad experiences. He recommends job seekers use common sense when working with recruiters.

“One set me up with an 8 a.m. interview in Highland Park (Chicago suburbs) when I Iived in Highland. She had no clue where I lived and that the two locations were many hours’ drive apart. 

“Another called to see if I was interested in working in a particular city. That led to an interview and my present job where I have been working for the past 12 years,” Voyles said.

He suggests job seekers not be afraid to ask questions of the recruiter and get to know them as they acquaint themselves with you.

“Not all of them are looking out for your interests,” he said.

Karla Lynn Williams, a business consultant and career coach in the Chicago area, suggested job seekers can act as their own recruiters. 

“Recruiters are paid by organizations who pay them to pluck the best of the best out of current engagements and bring them in to their organizations. They work for the companies, not the candidates and unless you are in the top 1 or 2 percent of workers, and most of us aren’t, a recruiter can’t help you. You have a better chance of finding a job on your own,” Williams said.

When you are searching for a job, there are many tools available to you, and recruiters are just one of many. You can work with a career coach or join networking groups. But the most important tool you have is believing in yourself. You see, God gives each of us gifts, and if we can match our gift with our job search, trusting that God is with us every step, we’ll find the right position. Remember that Jesus told a a synagogue leader whose daughter had just died “Don’t be afraid; just believe” (Mark 5:36). Trust your instincts and your Creator during this time. The synagogue’s leader trusted and his daughter got out of bed and walked to him.

What are your thoughts, questions or tips concerning career recruiters? If you were looking for a job, how did a recruiter help. What were some disappointments or what would you have liked to have done differently? If you are a recruiter, what can job seekers reasonably expect from you? Are there steps a job seeker can take to give them an edge while working with you? Your posts and comments are welcome.




1 Comment so far
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Karla is spot on! I am an executive recruiter who in today’s economy has been doing a ton of coaching for job seekers who think I and my colleagues are the answer to their job search. We are not. And any recruiter who tells candidates to suspend their efforts to find a job on their own and to trust him is just using those candidates as tools for finding new clients. If one of them gets placed, great, but few recruiters care. Most of us are in it for the big payday of a placement. Now I know a lot of recruiters will resent this, so let me state that most of us does NOT include all of us.

Few recruiters can place someone who has a spotty job history, a long period of unemployment or who have not been in the workforce to make it worthwhile for an employer to pay a fee for them. While detriments, such as not being degreed, these are not, however, insurmountable obstacles . They just mean that the greater likelihood is that the next job they will find, they’ll find either on their own, or through their personal and professional network.

Here’s what you need to do if you are looking for a job in today’s market. Network like hell. Make yourself more attractive than your competition. Have a résumé that will catch attention, be read, and will want to make its reader meet the person whom it represents. Know as much about the company, the industry, the job and the person or people with whom you are interviewing as you can to level the playing field during an interview. Get coached for your interviews. If you can’t afford to get coached, there are tons of tips on line on the best ways to present yourself. I could go on with this list ad infinitum, but to jump to the end of it, be confident, but as much as you might want the job, don’t take everything so seriously that you step on your own feet during the interview process. It’s only a job and more will come along. The harsh reality of it is that it’s a numbers game, and in today’s market with the amount of talent that’s available, while the odds may not be in your favor, they’re not in anyone else’s either. Finally, maintain your sense of humor and remember, when you’re feeling the rejection and the frustration that can impair your self-image, there is a reason others have confidence in you. Trust them.

Comment by Hal Horowitz

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