Recruiters….Do We Really Need Them?

Originally published to LinkedIn on March 15, 2016

Of course we do…and here’s the best way to use them!

Most of you already know that you can take your resume, crumple it up into a ball, throw it into a roomful of recruiters, and 90% of the time you’ll hit one who hasn’t replied to your emails, dismisses your background, says you have no chance, or sounds as if they truly have no clue about the job they are recruiting for. Yes, I just said that, oh mighty 90%-ers.

But hold the phone everyone, that doesn’t really mean that those 90% are bad people. Yes, some of them have zero interest in worrying about your job search. After all, as a very blunt reminder to all of you out there wondering why we recruiters (oh, did I mention I’ve been a recruiter for 25 years?) are like this, the hiring firm is paying us a fee, not you. Let’s get things straight. I am a for-profit endeavor. Period. I am compensated for earning fees resulting from matching a candidate and an employer. My clients request that I use the most efficient way possible to find them their ideal candidate. Therefore we are beholden to our paying clients, and exist simply to service their needs, not yours. Ouch! But yeah, that’s the cold hard truth

So those 90%-ers? They’re simply trying to chase that fee, and satisfy their clients. If you are the one that gets the offer, great, then they’ve killed two birds, making you one happy placement at the same time. 

Wait! Mark, what about that other 10%?

Well, those are the smart ones. The truly exceptional recruiters. The ones who realize that the battle is won in the trenches, in which every conversation with a candidate can lead to a return on that investment of time. So how do you make sure that they remember you, and choose to represent you when speaking with hiring managers and key influencers?

You must convince the recruiter that you are:

  1. Truly knowledgeable of the products and processes of the position and industry you are interviewing for.
  2. Articulate, intelligent and to the point – How many times have I asked a specific question in an interview with a candidate, only to continue hearing twenty minutes later that his grandma was a major influence in his decision to learn how to type.
  3. Able to convince the employer of the benefits of hiring you over your competition.
  4. Able to listen, disseminate and use the recruiter’s advice – I remember a time when a candidate swore to me up and down that even though he was out of work, and used to make $300k, he would absolutely accept $200k to get back in the business. I made him promise he wouldn’t blurt out that he wanted $300k, but blurt he did! And no, he did not get the offer.
  5. Apply the education you have received, with much of it coming from Streetsmarts University.
  6. Did I mention your ability to listen? - You may be an expert in your field, but have the decency to expect that the recruiter may know a thing or two about the job market, interviewing, etc… 

Now you’ve convinced the recruiter to meet with you…where do you go from here? 

First, it’s critical to break the ice, relax a bit, etc…you’re both in this together, and you both have the same goal!

If I am sending you into an interview against five other candidates, I want YOU to get the job, not any of the other five! I will do everything I can to prepare you for that set of interviews, because I want you to beat the competition. And not barely – I want their selection of you to be a no-brainer!

In fact, throughout my career as an executive recruiter, I've been preparing professionals just like you for your interviews by demonstrating the proven techniques that will get you closer to an offer, allowing you to take control of how the interview progresses, and teaching you the 3 critical steps to take when preparing for your interviews

Once you understand and learn to master these steps, you will have much greater confidence heading into your interviews, not being worried about any question you will be asked (what, you mean "where do I see myself in 5 years"? ugh), and be much more comfortable showcasing what you truly bring to the table, allowing your interviewer to envision you in that position.

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