Today I had a technical recruiter ask me what I think about recruiters.Â Hm.Â No one has ever asked before.Â I think he was asking me because of my experience working with recruiters as a job seeker, and then within the past few months as the owner of JibberJobber.Â I have been able to talk with recruiters about different stuff and see a different side of them.Â Well, it is such an interesting question that I figured I could blog about it today (with a Part 2 later).
When I first lost my job I knew about headhunters.Â I didn’t know much about them, but I knew they were out there.Â I called my uncle a few states away because he has worked with executive headhunters for years, and he gave me some info on how they work, how they get paid, etc.
I realized that headhunters/recruiters would be a big part of my job search. I found a few through the monster job board and contacted them.Â One (from an apparently huge, world-wide company) had me come in for an “interview” – we talked for about 45 minutes, he gave me some forms to fill out because I would be an employee of their company (if they could get a contract job for me), and I left feeling pretty good.Â I had someone that was going to go out and find me a job!Â That was pretty cool!
One week later I called him and said “hey, this is Jason, I’m just wondering if there is anything new on your end.“Â He said “Jason who?Â Huh?“Â he had to look through his files to find me, and read up on me.Â I was so mad because it was just a week later, and he had me no where on his radar screen.Â I realize I wasn’t his only client, and he was a busy guy, but this demonstration of his concern for me was way different compared to what it was a week earlier where he was asking for my SSN and asking me to sign on the dotted line.Â I realized this was going to suck.Â I think I called him one more time, and e-mailed 3 or 4 but NEVER got a reply back from him.Â [if you are a recruiter, I imagine you are grinning on one side because he is your competition, and he sucks – and scowling on the other side because he is representing your trade]
Shortly thereafter I met with another recruiter – I don’t remember how I came across him.Â I walked into his very small office which was full of energy.Â He was a one-man show but I could tell from his office, whiteboard, desk etc. that he was a mover and shaker.Â He had 2 or 3 rows of awards on his wall – you could just reach out and touch the success all over his office.Â This, by the way, was my fav recruiter.Â After I told him about myself (I had requested a face-to-face appointment with him) he said… and these words were golden for the rest of my job search… “Jason – you will find a job for yourself faster than I will find one for you.“Â I didn’t quite like the message, I still thought he was going to work hard for me, but the honesty really opened my eyes.
This helped me understand that the recruiter isn’t my best friend, and that finding me a job is NOT his job.Â That is the most important thing I’ve learned, in my job search, about recruiters.Â Basically, they are a resource to me.Â Early on I felt that I would have one, we’d have a great relationship, and I wouldn’t need any more.
In just a few weeks I went from the “sign on the dotted line” guy – who I felt would have me a job soon to the “I’ll see what I can do, but don’t hold your breath” guy – and about 27 other recruiters inbetween.
I have a lot of respect for recruiters, but I learned that:
- they don’t work for you
- you should not have just one recruiter (especially if you are looking really hard, and you have a high sense of urgency)
- you need to keep the relationship alive – I’ve found 2 that are the exception to that – very excellent and into the candidate – but many will call you when they have something
- they are professionals, and they have a job to do.Â They are not your counselor, and they don’t like to spend a lot of time prepping you (they hope that you are already prepped and going to make them look good) – they have a job to do and sitting around chatting with you may be contrary to their own needs
- its probably a good idea to find out who the really good recruiters are and then let them know who you are BEFORE YOU NEED THEM.Â It doesn’t hurt to have one call you at your office and ask you if you are interested in another opportunity. Just think of it as expanding your professional network 🙂
So my journey on how I feel about recruiters has changed from ideal to real – if you are a recruiter I hope you don’t feel slammed – this is just what my journey has been.Â I fully understand that I’m a desperate job seeker, and many recruiters actually spend time working with passive candidates (that is, those that already have a job) – and the stories there are probably pretty different.