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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Recruiter

More in the continuing series of my job search experiences…

In my last post, I talked about searching for a new job.  I gave my experiences using the internet and networking.  Using either one of these methods, you will eventually experience The Recruiter.

Recruiters at a very high level come in two flavors, internal and external.  Internal recruiters are generally HR folks who work within a company; their job is to find skilled candidates to fill positions that the company needs to hire.  These recruiters often use other search mechanisms, such as job boards and external recruiters to find candidates.  Often your first contact with the actual company that is hiring is with the internal recruiter, although that may not be the first contact you make about the particular job.  Why?  Because some companies have external recruiters that vet candidates first, then pass them on to internal recruiters, who further narrow the field before passing on the resumes to the hiring manager.

External recruiters, on the other hand, don’t work for the company that is hiring.  They are paid by the company to find qualified candidates.  Their interests are two-fold: on one hand, they want to develop a long-term relationship with the hiring company, so they want to be picky about candidates to ensure that they’re adding value to the hiring chain.  On the other hand, they need to talk to a lot of candidates in order to find the right one for the jobs that they’re involved in searching.

This presents a dilemma.  And it’s one of the most frustrating parts of dealing with external recruiters.  Often, based on a resume that you’ve posted on a job board, you’ll hear from an external recruiter.  He or she will probably want to meet you in person, go over your experiences and skills, and talk about the job that they’re trying to fill.  On the other hand, they have to deal with thousands of candidates in order to find maybe three to five that qualify for the position.  What happens to the other 995 candidates?  Well, as much as the external recruiter promises that you’ll hear back from him later this week, if you’re not in that top five, you probably won’t.

And here’s the rub.  They might actually have been hired by the hiring company to find a candidate, or they may be trying to find and promote a candidate themselves – even though they might not have an existing relationship with the company.  They hope that they can present a candidate so compelling that the company will hire you, instead of someone else, and pay their finders fee.

What does all this mean?  For any given position you find on aggregators, job boards, and even company websites and networking, there is probably an external recruiter out there trying to fill that position too.  That means that you’ll run into them a lot.  And most times, that contact will consist of the following:

  • Initial email or phone call
  • In-person meeting
  • Maybe one follow-up phone call
  • Then, either:
    • Another call back because the hiring company likes your resume and wants to talk to you, or…
    • No call back ever.  Crickets chirping.

The last point is the most frustrating, because you’re inevitably going to have to deal with external recruiters, but you will inevitably not like dealing with them, because they never call you back.  In reality, the companies that they represent make that decision – and those companies would have also probably never called you back either.  But in the first meeting, the recruiter will make it sound like regardless of this job, he or she wants to work with you and establish a long-term relationship, and there will be more jobs if this one doesn’t work out.  A second call from a recruiter, offering a new Job B after Job A didn’t work out, rarely happens.

But it did happen to me.  I found a great external recruiter, and in fact he helped me get the job I have today.  He called me literally every day, and my interview pipeline was full to the brim every week while he was working with me.  (If you want a referral, contact me, but out of respect for his privacy I’m not going to post his name here.)  From the day that I found out that my last contract gig wasn’t going to be renewed, my “A” recruiter was on the job – and it was clear that he was not going to stop until we found a job that I liked.

In the end, he put two offers in front of me.  In the worst job recession in memory.  He was fabulous.  And, sadly, he was one in a million.

posted by Michael Humphries-Dolnick at 8:18 pm  

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