How Recruiters Do It

Steve LevyI remember when I got into the job search earlier this year my uncle sent me an e-mail describing what headhunters are. It was kind of simple and kind of confusing at the same time.

During the next few months I would come to learn more about recruiters, and recently I’ve been following a blog where recruiters share their wisdom (I think mostly with one another). There are some that seem to do a lot of industry watching and blogging on the employment space, and others that write to the job seeker (like, advice for you). Some recruiters are excellent at developing relationships, and others must have lost their phone or keyboard.

Here are a few things I’ve learned about recruiters:

  1. Recruiters have a job. If you want them to help you, you must understand what their job is, what drives them professionally and what drives them personally. You really do need to get to know a few of them on a deeper level.
  2. Recruiters love people that are helpful. I was never on any recruiter’s radar screen when I was working, but I’ve heard stories about how they will call someone and ask if they are interested in a career move. If the person is not interested, they may ask if they know anyone that might be. For some reason that I don’t understand, these questions are usually met with rude response. Trust me, some of the best people to have in your corner in a time of need are these very people that you are being rude to! If you can give them the time of day, and even open up your network to them (when appropriate), they will remember that – and you can expect extra care when you need thier help!
  3. Recruiters have *gasp* turnover too. Again, these are just human beings with a job. And they get burned out, or make career changes just like you do. If you have a really crappy experience with a recruiter (or, a few recruiters), I’m betting that within 18 months that person has moved on – probably because they weren’t successful in their job! Of course newer recruiters can be effective, helpful and awesome. But those recruiters that have been around for a while are much more likely to understand the value of a relationship with you, the normal person, and treat you right.

So, about that extra care thing. I’ve seen this, where a recruiter has someone that they have some reason to go the extra mile for. Here’s an interesting write-up from a recruiter’s blog that I regularly follow – it practically dissects long-term professional recruiter Steve Levy. This is a very interesting read, and is quite helpful in understanding who Steve is. Here are some of my favorite parts:

  1. The picture. Not the shirt-and-tie guy you may expect, you can tell this is a real person with real interests (like gardening, cats and sand castles (?) – you just have to read the whole thing!)
  2. My favorite line (cuz I will eventually shave my head, when I get the courage up): “Yes, I’m older than you – do you really think I shave my head because it’s cool? It’s because I look stupid with hair.
  3. The kudos and continual dialogue. Dave quotes Shally and Stroud showing how effective endorsements can be in a LinkedIn profile. But check out the comments from Dennis (who is a recruiter for T-Mobile and has a good read on jobs and technology in that space) and the Recruiting Animal (probably more along the lines of the tazmanian devil than a carebear) – this post got some eyeballs and interest – all of which validates Steve’s strengths, and serves as more endorsements.

I’m not sure that Steve even knew this was being written, and am pretty sure that he didn’t know it would be such a complete endorsement. Steve is looking for a new opportunity (see his first comment on the original post). How cool is post? It is a perfect example of networking, and the power of relationships that are developed over time. And it shows just what kind of reach one great recruiter has, that goes far beyond your own reach. If Steve were to have written this it would have gotten a different reaction.

How can you get a recruiter to do this for you? I personally know one that has done this type of thing, and his reach and influence has helped a ton of people land jobs – and it is all because he is a relationship master.

I actually spent 1/2 hour on the phone with Steve on Wed afternoon during which time I’m wondering how I could open up my network to help him out – very nice guy, but obviously has a broad and deep skillset.

My recommendation? Get a few powerful recruiters in your corner – you can go to to find some blogs to follow and hopefully begin to develop some relationships, or at least begin to put together your list of favorites (mine has grown since that post).

4 thoughts on “How Recruiters Do It”

  1. [right now I’m sitting in a Starbucks – thanks Jason wearing Old Navy Shorts, an EMS technowick top, and Adidas flops]

    For those looking, there are so many great blogs to follow – for instance Steven Rotherberg’s one at (a must subscribe for all job seekers) or Dave Opton’s at

    I can’t think of a single great recruiter with a blog who won’t spend the time to answer your job seeking questions (yes, this implies that average recruiters might not spend time with you). Some blog about what it’s like to work at there company others about the more arcane elements of recruiting. Your challenge is to recognize that NO ONE other than YOU will manage your career – not the person in charge of HR, not your future boss, no one.

    So read blogs – if you have a question – ask; and use tools like those available here at

  2. Amen – NO ONE will manage your career except you. That’s what JibberJobber’s all about!

    Thanks Steve, on the recommended readings.

  3. Nice post and great advice. The four kinds of people we need in our corner:
    1. Plumbers
    2. Car dealers
    3. Jewelers
    4. Recruiters

    And you are a living example of how getting plugged in to the recruiting community can make such a big difference in a relatively short amount of time!


  4. 1. Plumber – check
    2. Car dealer – don’t have one yet 🙁
    3. Jeweler – my wife may wish I had one 🙁
    4. Recruiter – have some fav’s for me!

    Thanks for the comment Dennis – you have an EXCELLENT blog that caters very well to different demographics.

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