Being Realistic When Working with Recruiters

Woman waiting for phone call

On the Facebook page of The Job Quest, I posted a link to an article that talked about the fact that a recruiter is not on your “team” when you are looking for a job.

One person commented:

“[The recruiters] would bring me in to discuss a particular job and talk me up and tell me what I wanted to hear. Then they were impossible to get a hold of later… I did much better on my own!”

This can be hard for job seekers to reconcile because when they go in to talk to recruiters, they are so friendly! However, the hard fact is this: if the company, the entity that pays them, doesn’t like your résumé, you’re off their list. And more likely than not, they’re not going to call you back about it because you can’t help them do their job (i.e. make their client happy). One job seeker even got past the recruiter’s initial screen and had an interview with a company, but the interview didn’t go well. Think the job seeker heard back from the recruiter? Nope — not a peep.

Another commenter had this to say:

“Recruiters are not the best option, but should not be totally ignored as part of the job search… [Y]ou never hear from them when you are actively seeking a job. When you are employed and not looking, they call you to no end.”

There were a couple important points in this comment:

1. Diversifying your job hunt strategy is important. You shouldn’t go to the two extremes of relying on them solely or completely ignoring them. That will limit your opportunities. Instead, keep the reality of their situation in perspective and include them in your job search strategy accordingly.

2. There’s still a negative perception against being unemployed. I know, it’s a fallacy, and it drives me nuts that it still persists. But it all goes back to who’s in charge: the recruiter doesn’t call the shots. The company does. If they have told the recruiter that they don’t want to look at the résumés of candidates who are unemployed, then that will be one of the criteria that will help whittle down the pool of applicants. Of course, not all companies feel that way, so it’s a gamble to see if a recruiter will call you if you are in transition.

And then I read this post: Recruiting Myth #2: We Only Recruit When We Have an Immediate Need. This post is targeted at recruiters, but it holds important information for job seekers, too: recruiters are (or should be) recruiting all the time, not just when there is a need.

This is important for job seekers because there may be a time when you apply for a position with a recruiter that is filled by someone else, but that doesn’t mean all is lost. The recruiter may keep your résumé on file for a future position. You may, six months after your last conversation, get a call out of the blue from them. One job seeker I worked with had some back and forth with a recruiter, then nothing. Fifteen months later, another recruiter in the same office called him about a new opportunity. You never know what may happen.

What has been your experience with working with recruiters?

Image courtesy of Alan Cleaver

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