This recruiter’s input made me do a double-take

Dave is one of my fav recruiters in the Salt Lake City area even though he doesn’t blog (I know, non-bloggers are cool to ;)). He changed my job search when he told me “Jason, you will find a job for yourself faster than I’ll find a job for you.” It was then that I realized that I didn’t know how recruiters worked, and thought I could depend on them to find me a job. Thankfully I stopped chasing the 30 recruiters that I had initiated contact with and began to devise a different strategy.

In yesterday’s post one of my readers made a comment about whether they should deactivate their Monster profile… since I’m no expert I threw it to the recruiters. I got two great replies, one from Carl Chapman (in two parts – check the comments) and an e-mail from Dave. Here’s his e-mail, it is very very very interesting (I learned a lot from this e-mail)… I bolded what I wanted to and my comments are in red:


Jason has asked me to comment on the “leave it on Monster” take it off approach. A good recruiter extracts the best of the best. Their value, to the companies looking for people, is to find people the companies can not find on their own. In my opinion some of the best recruiters are not going to Monster or other boards because any company can hire an internal recruiter to do that kind of work for much less money than outside recruiters charge. Instead, many recruiters choose to work their network (hm, sounds like a good strategy for everyone – even job seekers!). On the other hand, not every company out there can fork out the subscription prices to get into the Monster resume databases, so recruiters can pluck candidates off of Monster and the companies have no idea that is where they found them. Lots of what I call ‘internet recruiters‘ do this!

I hate to talk down about ‘internet recruiters’. After all, they fill lots of positions. Many are slinging resumes as fast as they can and are hoping that something will stick. I personally am not interested in playing with that crowd.

If I am working with you, and I know you are on Monster or other job boards, I am less inclined to work ‘for you’. Because I know that any other recruiter that has a Monster subscription can get to you just as easy and may have already shot your paperwork to who knows how many companies.

The absolute ideal situation is for a recruiter to find a candidate with very marketable skills (this was my prob, I think, in that I was kind of a dime-a-dozen guy here in Salt Lake — it wasn’t until May 15 when JibberJobber went live that people said “wow, that’s what you know how to do? You need to talk to … ” And that’s when I started to get interviews!) that is just beginning to start their search. The recruiter asks for exclusivity (what??? I never would have guessed, and would have been very reluctant, but you can see in yesterday’s comments that Carl said the same thing!) to work with that candidate for a couple of weeks before they post anything on any job board or send their resume to any other recruiter. My committment to you is equal to your committment to me. If your resume is with every recruiter in town and on every job board out there, no thanks. Here is the reason why.

Now it becomes a horse race. Who can talk to you first, tell you about the company and position, and then get your permission to send your resume to the company. In many instances, large national staffing firms have quotas to hit. They need to send ‘x’ number of resumes to companies per week/day. (yep, and my worst recruiting experience was with a large staffing firm where I was definitely a number)

Not all get permission from the candidates to send in the resumes. On many occasions I have talked to a candidate, described the company, position, needs, told them who the company is if qualified and interested etc. Received permission to send over the resume, done so, only to find out from the company that ‘xyz’ recruiting firm sent the same resume in a week ago. Candidate didn’t know that, I didn’t know that, everyone is now surprised etc. (so, no big deal you think, right? WRONG. Whether you hate or love recruiters and their function in this world, they have busted their butts to get this far and have put forth a serious, professional effort – and this is a slap in the face to them.) Often companies are less inclined to interview the candidate too if they have received the same candidate from several different recruiters. (luckily most of the 30 recruiters that I sent my resume to were losers, so that wasn’t an issue for me!) They don’t want to have to deal with whose candidate it really is. This kind of scenario does not happen nearly as often with non-job-board resumes/candidate.

Thus, my preference is to make committments to the candidates to call ‘x’ number of companies in my network, talk to my contacts about that particular candidate, if they will remove their resume from all job boards, give me 10-15 days to work what magic I can with my network and then put it back out on the boards if they want to. (I haven’t heard that this is a common practice but hey, if you are in need I guarantee you want someone like Dave to tap into his huge network for you. What power recruiter do you have a relationship with? None? Better get one! Just don’t forget the part about “highly marketable talent”)

Always keep in mind that candidates do not pay the recruiters a dime. The recruiters are making their money from the companies looking for us to fill a certain position. I want to get my companies the best candidates possible and often times companies, like people, want what they can’t have. Follow me here. If they know you are on every job board known to man and that you are on file with numerous recruiters, the companies then will worry about how long you will stay employed by them. They may feel as though the next job that comes around that pays a little more, has a little stronger benefits package and you will be out the door, onto your next gig.

If I have a candidate that I am presenting I may say to my client that ‘Mr. Smith’ is working with me confidentially, he has not posted his resume anywhere, he is gainfully employed and been with his current employer for ‘x’ years, he does not want his current company to know he is looking and has asked me to confidentially approach my network in his behalf. Let me take a couple of minutes and tell you about his background and also what his confidential references have told me about him. (People want what they can’t have.) That goes much further then presenting a candidate who is on file with every recruiter in town, and is posted on every board out there. Or has already had their resume submitted to the same company by a half a dozen recruiters working the same position.

Develop a relationship with a recruiter. Find out how long they have been in the business. Ask them how many people with your kind of skills they have placed. Exchange committments with them if you believe in them. Follow up and hold the recruiter accountable if they are making calls in your behalf (… don’t wait for them to follow up with you – you need to be on top of this). They are more than likely only going to make a number of calls in your behalf if you are not out there ‘on Monster’ for the whole world to see.”

Wow… this was quite different than the response I thought I’d get. Thanks Tim for bringing up the issue, and thanks Dave and Carl for great responses.

3 thoughts on “This recruiter’s input made me do a double-take”

  1. Very interesting conversation from two different viewpoints. The net from both sides for me is that Monster, et. al. are not doing my search any favors so it’s best to be off of all them. So I’m now focusing on the handful of recruiters I know in my first wave of networking, then I will open up to others once I determine if any have interest in representing me or better, have a good fit for me. I have no problem with exclusivity over a set period of time if I can close the gap of finding a great job sooner. I am also reaching out to my professional network, which I think will bear the most fruit.

    Thanks for hosting the discussion, Jason.

  2. Tim, I have to disagree with you. If you are working with a recruiter who is actively marketing you, then it is OK to be removed from Monster, otherwise, it won’t hurt a bit. In fact, it may help.

  3. Jason,

    This is such an important post! As a career coach, I meet many people who quickly become frustrated by the recruiter/job seeker dynamic because they are not familiar with the needs of the recruiter or the relationship the recruiter has with the hiring manager. Job seekers need to offer recruiters their unique selling proposition, so the recruiter can become an advocate for the candidate. It’s hard to appear unique when you’re resume is posted on multiple boards. Whether you’re making connections through your network or through recruiters, the relationship is key. Candidates will get a lot more mileage out of their recruiters if the relationship is authentic, built on trust, and somewhat exclusive.

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