News & Blogs

23 March-2020

Why Job Seekers Should Work with a Recruiter — and How to Do it the Right Way

Job seekers who have worked with a recruiter don’t always have great things to say about the experience. And sometimes, that’s the recruiter’s fault. We’ve all encountered some not-so-great recruiters out there during our careers. But in other cases, the job seeker is the one to blame. So what’s going on in this dynamic? How do you work a successful recruiting relationship the right way?

Why Job Seekers Should Work with a Recruiter

First, should job seekers even work with a recruiter? The short answer is “yes.” If you’re a strategic job seeker, you’re not just submitting a resume or 10 online via Indeed or LinkedIn and then kicking back to binge-watch Netflix. Savvy job seekers are connectworking — taking local power connectors out for a coffee or a lunch, working their referral networks and asking friends and former colleagues for a connection to job opening decision-makers, and they’re out there hunting thoughtfully online and in-person for not just “any” job, but “the” job. 

Working with an internal or external recruiter has a lot of benefits for job seekers. 

  • Recruiters offer another avenue to pursue — and it’s free! If you’re job hunting, why not put multiple irons in the fire by leveraging a recruiter’s vast network of connections? A Talent Acquisition professional always has his or her ears to the ground for job opportunities and should have access to super valuable/helpful people and intel. 
  • External recruiters (agencies) frequently hear about jobs far before the general public. Oftentimes, these are jobs that will never get posted on job boards. If you want to have access to these “quiet job market” opportunities, connect with one or more external recruiters in your area. 
  • Internal recruiters — those directly employed by a company — almost always have the ear of internal influencers/hiring managers. If you apply for a job via the company website, you have a chance. But if you can find a way to access the appropriate internal recruiter directly through your network, your job search will likely be positively influenced by aligning with this internal champion. 

The Big Recruiting Flaw 

If working with recruiters is such a good idea, why do some people report dissatisfaction? The answer: they’re doing it wrong — but it’s not necessarily their fault. 

The thing about working with recruiters is that there’s a flaw in the relationship as it relates to candidates. External recruiters are engaged and paid by companies. Internal recruiters are compensated by their employers. Neither is paid by candidates. If you’re a candidate, and you fit the bill for the role a recruiter’s client/hiring manager is seeking, you’ll hear from your recruiter often and with great eagerness. But if/when you fall out of favor for that particular search, you’re going to stop hearing from your formerly very aggressive recruiter friend. 

Maybe you weren’t the top option for the job. Maybe the client found someone internally. Maybe the client decided not to make the hire at all. No matter what happened, if you don’t get the job, you’re probably going to stop hearing from your recruiter because he or she had to move on to either another candidate or to another search. Employment livelihood for both external and internal recruiters depends on filling jobs — either for clients or for internal stakeholders. As a result, communication on their side of things is driven by forces other than the needs of their candidates.

How to Work with a Recruiter 

Many job candidates assume that when a recruiter goes quiet, he or she is either a poor communicator or is just “ghosting.” But if the recruiter you’re communicating with doesn’t have anything else immediate that fits your needs/skill set, you should expect him/her to go quiet. Why?

Here’s the deal: communication is a two-way street. Let’s say you have a friend, and the only time you interact with them is when that person calls you. Do you then have the right to get mad at them when you haven’t spoken for a while? No! You can reach out too, right? Two-way street… it’s the same situation when working with a recruiter. Pick up the phone. Shoot over an email or a LinkedIn message. Own your half of the communication relationship. Let all of your recruiter connections know what you’re looking for, what you’re seeing out there, and what you’re open to. Help them help you. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, right? 

Ping a recruiter, and you rise to their recent memory. These people talk to dozens of candidates in any given week, and it’s virtually impossible for them to keep a running, accurate mental inventory of all of their connections and precisely what all of those folks are seeking career-wise. But, if you hit them up at just the right moment, they might say, “Oh yeah, I’ve got something coming in about 30 days that would be an ideal fit. Put a note on your calendar to follow up with me in two weeks.”

Help recruiters help you. Stay in touch on occasion and bring value. Build a mutually-beneficial, two-way relationship. You might just reach out at the perfect time for both sides!

Check out 2019’s recruiting and hiring statistics here.

If you’re looking for a new job, don’t give up on recruiters… Leverage them! And contact us if you’re ready to chat about a new job. We welcome your outreach!

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