Love your Recruiter

I came across a post about three weeks ago that talks about the relationship between a job seeker and a recruiter. I’ve blogged a few times on developing a relationship with some recruiters (whether you are looking for a job now or not), and most recently on understanding recruiters.

In this specific post veteran recruiter Rob Merrill talks about a tough week he had when either job seekers (aka, candidates) or the hiring HR basically didn’t work within the system – he was left out and lost money. He put in lots of work, did his job and facilitated meetings, but some shady things happened behind his back, which is uncool.

SO WHAT, you might ask, HE’S A RECRUITER AND HE’LL MAKE BANK FROM SOMEONE ELSE! Well, Rob is a nice guy (I know him personally, just saw him a few nights ago). If he feels that you have done something unethical, he is not going to be there for you next time. Whether you are HR or a job seeker, the trust is lost, and he isn’t going to work for you! You might not care now, but there will be a time when you need him (trust me ;))!

It is critical that you understand what recruiters are, how they work, what motivates them, etc. You may not need them now, but if you ever get in a serious job search you’ll want them in your corner, actively helping you.

In the first month that I was laid off I say that I developed relationships with 29 recuiters. Let me go into a little more detail. I sent my resume to and called 29 recruiters. I had, on my spreadsheet (pre-JibberJobber, of course) notes to follow up with them each week, or every two weeks.

Want to know the results? They stank. I was “just another guy” who was looking for a job. Even though I had a super-high sense of urgency to get a job, they didn’t have a high sense-of-urgency to help me. In fact, they had no sense of urgency for “Jason Alba,” and most didn’t even call or e-mail back. I don’t blame them for being lame, I just didn’t understand how it works.

You know that if I had a few that I had relationships with, they would have been hunting for a job for me on the day I called them. But that is based on developing those relationships!

Do me a favor… no, do yourself a favor. Go to and browse the posts there. Look for a recruiter that might fit you industry, or your personality. Or, google for a recruiter in your area. The time to begin this relationship is NOW, not when you need it! I’ve seen this relationship really pay off, but it was established before the job was lost.

9 thoughts on “Love your Recruiter”

  1. Always keep in mind that recruiters fill open positions for companies that have agreed to pay them a fee, they don’t get jobs for candidates… that is just a by-product. Check out my article on recruiting myths on my blog – Confessions of an Executive Restaurant Recruiter. Starting a relationship with a
    recruiter who specializes in your function and industry is a great idea, and sooner is better than later. Just keep the right perspective.
    CEC Search – Website | Restaurant Jobs Listing | Restaurant Recruiters Blog

  2. absolutely, that is the subject of some of my earlier posts – but Carl IS a recruiter and you can hear it right from his mouth!

    My point with the relationship is, if you can have strong relationships with great recruiters then when the time comes they might go looking for jobs specifically for you, based on your relationship. Don’t count on it, but if there is any chance of finding a job immediately for you, these recruiters are in the best position to find it.

    Thanks Carl!

  3. Jason, good recruiters will market a great candidate if they meet a set of criteria that we have established. Those criteria almost guarantee that we will gain from spending our time doing the marketing. Hopefully we will place the candidate. Candidates stand to gain a lot even if we don’t place them.

    Here is a list of my criteria for marketing a candidate:
    Must be relocatable (almost 100% of the time)
    Must have realistic salary expectations
    Must have outstanding skills and excellent resume
    Must work exclusively with me for a specified period
    Must cooperate on all levels (flexible to interview, always available for information exchange, follows MY program, must do the homework assigned)

    Not all candidates will meet those criteria, but ones that do can get effort from a recruiter on their behalf that would be valued at 10’s of thousands of dollars… all for free.

  4. Carl – thanks for the input. This is super-valuable information for my readers, as I think so many people do not understand the role of a recruiter (I expected mine to GET ME A JOB SOON!).

    I think that what you are laying out is “the system”… or, how it works. What if your best best best friend in the whole world, who met your criteria, called you and said he just got laid off? Wouldn’t you give him maybe an eensie bit more attention than the rest of your candidates? I understand that you respect and value all of your candidates…

    I know a couple of recruiters here locally that have found their friends in need and took extra time and extra attention to turn over some rocks that they otherwise might not have.

  5. Great post. Recruiting IS kind of a mystery, and it’s good to have some more insight on it. A plug for Rob, he is a great guy! 🙂 Though, since I don’t have any tech skills, I guess if I were job hunting, I’d have to find a different recruiter. 😉

  6. I realized that I left room for (mis)interpretation of one of my criterion, and that it was probably the most important one. AND it is probably the one that gives job seekers the most chance for disappointment and misunderstanding.

    “Must have outstanding skills and excellent resume”

    I’ll bet if we took a survey among job seekers and recruiters and asked what an “excellent resume” was, the answers would be as different as night and day. So I think I should explain it from the recruiter’s point of view.

    It is NOT about a technically well executed or constructed resume, at least not exclusively. It is more about the content. You see a candidate must have a skill set, background, history, experiences, and achievements that are well illustrated in the resume, and that will make him IN DEMAND. We are talking about a candidate that is at the top of his field. A ‘water walker’, someone who, when a CEO or VP hears about him or her, will drive them to action.

    There is a place for the B player, but that isn’t a person who will be marketed by a recruiter. That person is someone who will be presented for a job order that the recruiter already has, or gains through his marketing campaign.

    So don’t get confused about what an ‘excellent resume’ is, it is one that will generate an interview for a candidate because of the impressive nature of it’s content and the achievements of the candidate. It is NOT one that has a certain style, no spelling mistakes, and uses keywords. All of those things are important and good to have, but they won’t make you a superstar.

    CEC Search – Website | Restaurant Jobs Listing | Restaurant Recruiters Blog

Comments are closed.