Using Recruiters – Part 2

 The second part in my series on how job seekers can use third party recruiters more effectively

Getting a meeting

A good recruiter is aware that having a great resume is not necessarily an indicator of placeability. As long as your resume looks moderately okay, i.e. doesn’t make you look crazy or completely incompetent, a recruiter will generally meet you if he/she thinks you look like you might be ‘placeable’ . You can refer to my earlier post on placeability, but it is essentially a function of how attractive you are to their client employers, and how likely you are to accept an offer if you get one. You will be a lot more placeable to a recruiter who specialises in your area of expertise, so if you have sent an unsolicited resume, try and make sure you have sent it to someone who is knowledgable and respected as a recruiter in your area of expertise.

After you have sent in your resume, it will not hurt at all to follow up with a phone call…and then another phone call, and another if necessary. If you appear super-keen, that tells the recruiter that you are more likely to accept an offer if you get one, so your placeability increases. You shouldn’t give the impression that you are dealing with multiple recruitment firms – that makes you a much less attractive candidate to invest time in, as you may end up getting a job through someone else.

There are a couple of things to watch out for when meeting recruiters. Many larger recruitment firms have very strict KPIs (key performance indicators) which recruiters have to hit on a weekly basis. This is how large firms guarantee a certain level of performance per head of staff. A very common KPI is number of candidate meetings. If you get a call on a Thursday from a recruiter who is very keen to meet with you the next day, even though he doesn’t seem to have the perfect job in mind for you, it may be that you are just making up the numbers on his weekly candidate meeting KPI target.

Some firms have candidate ‘ownership’. A recruiter may just want to meet you so that they ‘own’ you, and get a portion of the fee if you happen to get placed. The problem with this is that it will make you a less attractive candidate for any job, because if that job is ‘owned’ by a different recruiter within the firm, he/she will have to share the fee with the recruiter who ‘owns’ you the candidate. The job-owning recruiter will prefer to place one of their own candidates.

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Using recruiters – Part 1

Recruiters are a fantastic resource for job-seekers…they spend much of their time developing and maintaining relationships with hiring managers…meaning they often know about requirements before the internal HR people do, and can use their credibility with that manager to get candidates they represent interviewed for jobs.

Every professional should work on building relationships with recruiters in their area of specialisation. But don’t be naive…recruiters work for you only as long it is in their best interests. You should go into the relationship understanding exactly what is motivating your recruiter.

The first thing to understand is how recruiters are remunerated. Most recruiters are extrinsically $$. A candidate who interviews to work at a recruitment firm, and says they want to be a recruiter because they “want to help people”, will be laughed out of the room.

 Most recruiters are payed a large commission on top of a relatively small base salary, so their results really make a difference to their take-home pay. Some firms pay bonuses based on group performance, and others on individual performance. In some firms the recruitment fee is split between the person who found the candidate, and the person who deals with the client. Some recruitment firms will work mostly on “retained” assignments, where the client pays a portion of the fee up-front…others work on a 100% success fee basis. Sometimes one recruitment firms works exclusively on a role , other times multiple recruitment firms work on one role.

The relationship with the client, and the way they are remunerated, will impact how the recruiter behaves during the screening, interviewing and offer processes.

Ask the recruiter what their relationship with the client is, and how they get paid…this will help you understand how they are motivated…and how you can use them, to help you.

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