And there's certainly no exception to that line of thinking for the job seeker.
Finding a job can be difficult. Even with the internet making the job search a much easier process over the years, many job seekers realize that it often takes more than a few searches on a job board and a click of the mouse to actually secure a job.
This is where people enlist the help of an expert. Enter the recruiter -- and by recruiter, we’re referring to a third-party recruiter. This individual acts as the middle man between the candidate and the hiring company, introducing parties who are in search of each other and who might not have met through the traditional hiring process. Generally speaking, these recruiters find that rare ‘needle in the haystack’ candidate for a particular role at a company, make the introduction, and hopefully, the rest is history. They work with many clients and therefore, potentially have the ability to connect you with hiring people at all sorts of places looking for talent. While this might sound like a great way to find that job of your dreams, you should be ready to deal with a few realities when working with recruiters on your job search:
• You’re not the only candidate they’re working with. Working with recruiters can be a lot like dating. There are a lot of great people out there in the world, and the truth is, you’re not the only one. Recruiters make it their business to align themselves with those candidates who are stand-outs in their field. The more great candidates they meet, the higher the likelihood they are able to present many viable options to hiring companies for consideration.
• It’s important to remember whose interest they represent. Remember that your objectives don’t always align with what theirs are. Yes, introducing a fantastic candidate who might have had a patch of bad luck to a great up-and-coming company can seem to be a very altruistic gesture, making you feel warm and fuzzy about someone singling you out as a top candidate for the position. However, it’s all a part of the recruiter’s job. After all, she’s paid, more often than not, by the company. She’s required to identify, recruit, and present a bevy of top-notch candidates to the client - and not necessarily serve as your personal job-finding agent.
Why even work with recruiters, then? There are beneficial uses to this relationship as you conduct the job search, including:
• They have information that might not be readily available to you. Recruiters can provide ‘inside’ information about a role that you can’t find on a job posting, including reasons why the company opened up the new position or details about the personality types of the people on the hiring team. They may even share details pertaining to why previous candidates have not been successful in the interviewing process, so you can avoid making similar mistakes.
• They can provide you the coaching to ‘up’ your interview game. After you interview for a job, the hiring company shares feedback with the recruiter. In cases where you are not being hired, the recruiter hears first hand as to the reasons why. In the most productive relationships, the recruiter can share some insight on these reasons with the candidate for future development and improvement. This is often the case as it pertains to interviewing style and attitude. Sure, you may have answered all their questions and felt the interview went well, but perhaps did not know the way in which you conveyed your responses showed the lack enthusiasm and interest to be hired, for example. The recruiter can provide that window to such feedback -- you’d never receive that insight from a template rejection letter.
• In a right relationship, they can be your advocate. In an ideal situation, recruiters are there to not just assess your skills, but to get a solid understanding about your ‘story’ as a professional. They ask questions pertaining to the many layers of your professional career, ranging from learning about your preferred work style, your best accomplishments, what drives you crazy about previous managers, and what you’re missing out of your current situation.
In cases where you might be one of the finalists for that coveted position, your recruiter can nudge the hiring manager in your direction by sharing additional professional insight about you that they might not have gotten from the resume` or the face-to-face interview. For example, if there are doubts about your potential ability to lead a team of associates, your recruiter could, from your previous conversations, include specific information about the projects you volunteered for at your current work so that you could gain more hands-on experience guiding others. It may help to have an individual involved in the interview process provide an inside look to you.
Have you worked with a recruiter? What’s your experience been like? Share your thoughts below.