How to Work with Recruiters and Avoid the Resume Black Hole

By Tricia Lucas | Career Tips

Jan 28
Candidate in Resume Black Hole

Applying online feels like entering a resume black hole. I have sent out endless resumes but I never hear back. Recruiters call and ask for my resume and I never hear from them again. Recruiters won’t return my calls. Recruiters won’t tell me the name of the company. I never get feedback from my interviews. These are just a few of the complaints I hear over and over from job seekers regarding their job search experience.

Job recruiters, headhunters, hiring consultants, talent seekers, and scouts, all have a common purpose-to find qualified top talent and connect them with the companies that want and need them the most. Conversations, making contacts, and grooming networks are some of the tools used to achieve that. In reality, job recruiters share and wear multiple hats that range from a matchmaker, researcher, trainer, sales pro, editor, writer, and coach. ManpowerGroup’s latest employment forecast for 2018 revealed that 21% of U.S. employers plan to increase staff in the first quarter, making it the strongest first-quarter hiring outlook since 2001. With so much hiring about to happen, it’s important to clearly understand the role of a recruiter and their talent management revenue model.

Role of Recruiters

First and most important is to recognize that recruiters don’t work for you. One of the primary mistakes many make with their job search is to assume recruiters are a job coach available for hire. Recruiting isn’t synonymous with Career Counseling. A recruiter’s role is to find the best, most qualified candidate for their client or employer. They are hired and paid by their client or employer to provide search services.

Types of Recruiters

Internal or External

Internal or in-house recruiters are employees in the Human Resources Department and are compensated by that employer.

External recruiters

External recruiters, headhunters, or search consultants work for recruiting or staffing firms or agencies and usually specialize in certain industries, professions, locations, and experience levels. Some know engineers, others know program coders, still, others look for salespeople and so on. Firms and recruiters may differ in focus that includes temp-to-perm, contract roles, or permanent hires.

Retained vs. Contingency

Recruiters may get a retainer (up-front fee) to perform a specific search. Typically, retained searches are exclusive and tend to be for hard to fill or for executive positions.

A contingency recruiter is different and only earns a fee only when the organization hires someone. This is important to remember. A contingent recruiter can work hard finding qualified candidates BUT they won’t get paid unless one of their candidates is hired. A company may work with more than one recruiter on a contingency arrangement, causing recruiters to compete against one another. A retained search consultant, on the other hand, is paid to conduct a search that usually results in a hire—but not always.

Bottom line is that a recruiter is paid by their client or employer and not by individual job seekers. Successful recruiting professionals must be wizards at time management and can’t afford to spend too much time on job seekers who are not ideal for their represented clients. They work hard and they do what they can so understand that it isn’t personal, it’s just business. While you may or may not be a fit for a recruiter’s specialized niche they can still be valuable. They can refer you to career counselors, resume writers, and other recruiters that may have a stronger network relevant to your industry experience or location. Respect their profession and their time and remember they aren’t resume writers or career counselors. So, while helping people is the most satisfying part of their work, it’s their job to put forth the strongest candidates. Hiring managers won’t pay search people to find candidates who don’t fit the spec exactly.

How to identify a good Recruiter

A good recruiter will ask you about your ideal job and your preferences on location, relocation, work-life balance, travel, goals, and culture requirements. A good recruiter will respect your time and keep to scheduled commitments, prepare you for the interview, and provide updates and feedback through the process. A good recruiter will provide insight and help you navigate through the process and through an employer’s organization to identify key issues and decision makers. A good recruiter will be concerned about the right fit for their client as well as for you.

How to work with a Recruiter

Understanding the recruiter’s role is critical for you as a job seeker. After you have identified a good recruiter it’s important to understand how to work with them. Be honest about your interests and experience. Clear communication regarding your goals and activity is the best way to maximize your relationship. They can help you with salary negotiation. Glassdoor statistics report that 68% of women accepted the salary they were first offered and did not negotiate. If you have gaps or other issues, they may be able to help you strategize a way to present yourself in the best light. Have a little trust. If they tell you that a company isn’t interested or it isn’t a good fit then go with it. There are things behind the scenes that can’t always be shared. They won’t waste your time pursuing something that won’t work.

Working with recruiters is a great way to add value to your job search and can be a great way to advance your career. Good recruiters are in the game for the long haul so nurture the relationship but don’t limit yourself to one tool. Massage your network constantly and develop your own personal brand. Don’t wait until you are unemployed. Learn how to stay relevant and marketable in my previous article Stay Hired Not Fired in Today’s Job Market.

You can also get some of my additional insight by checking out the interview with Co-Founder Tricia Lucas in Linking to Sales podcast How Sales Pros Sell Themselves to Sales Recruiters.

Don’t miss last Month’s See Who is Hiring For Sales and Marketing Jobs in January.

At Lucas Select, based in Raleigh, NC, we are passionate about technology startups and about sales and marketing as professions and have built extensive national networks of top-performing executives and managers. Unlike typical staffing agencies and headhunters, our recruiting services ensure that your company maintains a sustained growth model that is supported by strong sales management, talent recruitment at scale balanced by on-going people development while aligning with your Company’s core values.





About the Author

Tricia Lucas has over 25 years of demonstrated success in recruiting, marketing communications, and social media and helps technology companies recruit more efficiently by focusing on Recruiting Efficiencies, Employer Branding, and Social Media.

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