Feature: The Four Factors for Figuring Out Recruiters
For most job seekers, recruiters are strange and distant people who act in odd and sometimes off-putting ways. They are responsible for acquiring the talent employers need to accomplish their mission, yet they often seem determined to make it difficult for candidates to apply and be fairly evaluated for their employer’s open positions. They tout their employer and its openings in their advertisements, and operate corporate Web-sites that leave job seekers feeling as if they just dropped their resume into a black hole.
So, what is it with recruiters? Why do they act the way they do? And, is there anything we can do to put ourselves in a better position when dealing with them?
There are no simple answers to those questions. Recruiters are as diverse a lot as any other group in the workforce. They do, however, share some common attributes that-once you understand them-will at least partially explain their behavior and help you to be more successful in your dealings with them. What follows, then, are the four factors for figuring out recruiters.
Factor #1: Recruiters are not experts in your occupation or profession.
Recruiters may recruit for Java programmers and salespeople and project managers, but they do not program in Java, sell products or services, or manage projects. With rare exceptions, they are experts in recruiting, not in the fields for which they recruit. As a consequence, they must rely on their customer-the hiring manager whose position they are trying to fill-to determine what qualifications are necessary to be considered for a position. They not only lack the expertise to work outside those guidelines, but it would be very risky for them to do so. If they convince a manager to accept someone with credentials other than those specified by the manager and that new hire doesn’t work out, the recruiter will be blamed for the cost of that mistake. And, in today’s highly competitive markets, those costs-in lost productivity, additional recruiting effort (to replace the “bad hire”) and increased workload for the manager-can be significant. Indeed, they can be so onerous as to cause the recruiter to be fired.
What should you do?> Make sure you present your qualifications so that recruiters can understand them. Use the same words and phrases that hiring managers typically use to describe your skills and experience. How can you uncover those terms? Look at recruiters’ job postings and classified ads; in most cases, they will use the exact terms they’ve been given by the hiring manager. In short, don’t use your vocabulary to promote yourself; use the employer’s.
Factor #2: Most recruiters listened to their mother.
What was the first lesson your mother taught you? That’s right … don’t speak to strangers. While recruiters always work hard to evaluate the applications they receive in response to their job advertisements, they also have a very real preference in the candidate selection process. They’d rather bet on someone they know (or on someone who is known by someone they know) than bet on a stranger. They firmly believe that the best candidates are those who are referred by other employees or are identified through their own networking. No less important, the research bears them out. On average, new hires sourced through a personal connection tend to perform better and stay longer than new employees who are recruited with other methods.
What should you do? Keep checking those job postings and classified ads, but also invest time and effort in networking. Learn and practice the skills of properly making and using connections, both in the real world and on the Internet (it’s done differently online and off). And remember, the word says exactly what it means; it’s netWORK, not netSitBackandRelax. Work at your networking every day.
Factor #3: Most recruiters are not intentionally rude or unpleasant to work with.
Recruiters have an incredibly demanding job. They must fill all of their employer’s open positions and do so quickly and with the best talent in the workforce. That mission would be hard enough, all by itself, but most employers’ recruiting organizations are chronically understaffed and under-funded. Indeed, it’s not unusual for a single recruiter to be working on ten or even fifteen different vacancies at the same time. The pace is frenetic; the pressure is intense. And, unfortunately, they sometimes take it out on candidates. There’s no excuse for such behavior, of course, but it is understandable. Moreover, the employer is also culpable as it is, at least in part, responsible for the stressful environment in which recruiters must work.
What should you do? First, if you come across an inconsiderate recruiter, ask yourself if you want to work for an organization that causes (or tolerates) such behavior by its recruiters. Second, try not to fall into the trap of “recruiter rage;” don’t respond in kind, but instead treat the recruiter as you would like to be treated. It is possible to change the way a recruiter deals with you, if you make the effort.
Factor #4: Recruiters are not responsible for job seekers’ success.
It would be nice if a recruiter’s job was to find a job for every candidate who applies to their organization, but that’s not the way the world works. The job market is a very competitive environment. Jobs don’t go to those who simply show up; they go to those who work at selling themselves as the best candidate for an opening. In other words, jobs are won, not awarded. And, in many organizations, the recruiter isn’t even the final judge; the hiring manger is. Recruiters, however, can and do influence the manager’s decision, so they too have to be persuaded that a particular candidate is the best prospect for a position. For job seekers, that means they have a job even when they’re looking for one: they have to work at making themselves the best prospect for the opening they want.
What should you do? Don’t look for jobs, go after them. Be the best you can be in your profession, craft or trade and in your ability to articulate and prove the value you can contribute to a prospective employer (remember, “it ain’t braggin’ if ya’ done it”).
Recruiters are people too. And, like you and me, they have their peculiarities, their foibles and their imperfections. Also, like you and me, however, they want to do the best they can at their job. So, when you’re looking for an employment opportunity, see yourself as someone who’s working to make the recruiter successful. Adopt that perspective in your interactions with recruiters, and you may just find that they return the favor.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. Please tell your friends and colleagues about WEDDLE’s newsletter. They’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness and benefit from your recommendation.
Section Two: Site News You Can Use
CareerJournal.com and TheLadders.com formed an exclusive two-year partnership recently. Under the agreement, CareerJournal.com readers will now be able to subscribe to TheLadders.com and its unadvertised job postings through an exclusive offer, while Theladders.com will feature the content of CareerJournal.com from The Wall Street Journal on its site and in its weekly newsletters.
Landed.fm and its host Peter Clayton interviewed WEDDLE’s CEO and Publisher Peter Weddle recently. The interview covers a wide range of current topics including WEDDLE’s recently announced 2006 User’s Choice Award winners, the creation of a “Good Housekeeping seal of approval” for job boards through a trade organization called the International Association of Employment Web Sites and more. You can hear the interview at the Internet radio’s Web-site.
Pharmaopportunities announced its launch as a employment portal for the life science and healthcare industries. The site is a partnership with Mediwire, a syndicated online resource for healthcare professionals that publishes information from such journals as Medical Economics, Drug Topics, and Managed Healthcare Executive.
Sony has added a new twist to having your dog fetch your newspaper. Now, it can fetch you a new job, as well. The latest breed of the company’s robotic pooch, AIBO, can wirelessly access RSS feeds from the Internet. With a growing number of job boards now providing job agent results by RSS, you can get your job listings from your mechanical best friend. It reads the postings aloud, using an English vocabulary of 1,000 words and with a voice that is adjustable to your taste. What’s the only drawback? AIBO will run you $2,000 or more. Now, that’s a pedigree!
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employment is expected to increase by 1.8 million jobs between 2004 and 2014. Eight of the fastest growing occupational fields will be in healthcare, with demand for home health aides expected to grow a whopping 56%. The second fastest growing career is fields expected to be network systems and data communications analysis, which is projected to grow by 55%. Not surprisingly, the occupations projected to show the largest decreases in hiring are in manufacturing. While manufacturing employment will probably dip by 5% over the period, however, that decline is substantially less than the 16% drop between 1994 and 2004.
Section Three: Site Profiles
Site Insite … how well do you know the Web’s 40,000+ job boards?
1. You’re a seasoned logistics manager looking for an employer that will make better use of your talents. Which of the following sites would supply you with an inventory of great employment opportunities?
2. You’ve just moved to the Philadelphia area and are looking for a meteorologist position in the private sector. Which of the following sites would bring sunshine to your search?
3. You’re a licensed private investigator who doesn’t want the hassle of running your own business. Where could you look online to uncover a stash of employment opportunities with private and public sector organizations?
Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2005/6 Guides and Directories
A WEDDLE’s 2006 User’s Choice Award Winner
Post full time jobs: Yes
Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes – All
Distribution of jobs: International
Number of jobs: 2,000+
Salary levels of jobs: Up to $1 million/yr
Offer a job agent: Yes
Resume database: Yes
How long are resumes stored: Indefinitely
Restrictions on who can post: Members only
Other services for job seekers: Listserv or discussion board, Assessment instruments, Career information, Links to career information at other sites
`Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: Yes
Answers to Site Insite
1. All but Logstock.com, an online stock photography company.
2. All but WeatherPeople.com, a “weather consultancy” based in the United Kingdom.
3. Only IPIU.org, the site of the International Private Investigators Union.