THE RECRUITMENT CONSULTANT – FRIEND OR FOE?
Working with recruiters : Understand the best way to approach recruitment consultants, develop a mutually respectful relationship with them and the job seeking process will be smoother.
Yes, it’s time consuming to research and find the right recruitment consultants to work with, deciding on the best way to sell yourself, remembering all you’ve achieved in your career, perhaps explaining a bad situation, why you left or why you are thinking of leaving your current role, and so much more. However, being well prepared will help the recruiter to help you.
Should you write a thank you note or email, and if so, how to write one that hits the right points?
Here are a few tips to help – some are VERY basic tips and common sense, but you’ll be amazed at the number of people I’ve worked with who make simple mistakes just because they didn’t think!
How to choose a Recruiter to suit your needs
Not all recruiters have the same focus. There are generalist and specialist recruitment agencies. Some specialise in ‘C’ level roles (the Head Hunters) and work with top level executives only, others handle temporary assignments and contract roles, others focus on interim management roles, finance, or marketing roles, some only work within one particular industry, some handle roles within the not for profit sector, etc. Do your research to find the best fit for you.
To find recruiter who currently handle roles that may suit you, look for positions of interest on job board such as:
You will find job advertisements posted by recruitment consultants and by companies advertising themselves. If the ads mention a consultant name and provide a phone number or email address make a note of the contact details to make contact when the time is right.
Even if the role advertised is not one to which you would like to apply, it means that at least that recruiter works within your area and might be interested in your skills and experience. If no contact name is given, call the consultancy and ask who handles those types of roles.
Don’t be disappointed if you are told by the receptionist to simply email your resume to get on to their database. However, if you’re lucky you may be connected to a consultant who’s interested in what you have to offer. Ensure you have a strong positioning statement so that you present yourself well from the start. First impressions matter.
Taking the Screening Call
When you have successfully registered with a recruiter or a number of recruiters, you are now in the system and if there is a good match to a role that needs to be filled you may be contacted for a screening interview.
I’d suggested only answering your mobile phone if you are in a good position to talk. If you are still at work, obviously it wouldn’t be wise to speak to a recruitment consultant if your boss is within earshot – you won’t feel comfortable and your boss won’t be impressed either!
Take advantage of caller ID and let calls go to voice mail. Only return calls to recruiters when you are in a position to speak freely. Don’t go to a busy café to return the call – the background noise will be a distraction.
Call from your car (not while driving!) or find another quiet place to return the call. You don’t have to call back within the next five minutes, getting back to the recruiter by the end of the business day is perfectly acceptable.
Scheduling Interview Times
Give the recruiter blocks of time when you will be available to interview. The recruiter’s job is to move the process along. You, as the candidate, must give the recruiter windows of time that works for you to schedule these meetings. If you can offer consistent blocks of available time from week to week, it makes their job easier.
What about early morning or late evening time slots if those are the only times you can speak? Whenever possible recruiters will try their best to work with your availability, whether it’s at 8 a.m. or 6 p.m.
What if you are totally free and can interview anytime? Don’t be too available, work with reasonable and specific blocks of time to give the recruiter some structure.
Don’t claim to be in ‘all–day meetings’ constantly, recruiters want potential employees to be low–maintenance. Scheduling multiple managers and candidates can be difficult enough without having to battle with the unavailable job seeker.
Be realistic and respectful of employers’ and recruiters’ time. Knowing the demand level for your particular skill set and expertise can also help you. Professionals in mid–level positions with widely–available skills can expect less flexibility, but those coming from senior–level positions and specialty fields may experience a bit more freedom.
Based on that, you can gauge employers’ potential flexibility and willingness to accommodate your needs in the interview process.
What is your Value Proposition to the Potential Employer?
In order to secure that job, help the recruiter sell you to the employer. Help him or her build a best–case scenario for your candidacy. Articulate why the position is a good fit for you. Give them a good story about your experience and skill sets, your relevant qualifications, the projects you have managed.
Provide tangible results of your past efforts at work whenever possible. Give examples of positive performance, quotas, numbers, and results. Be prepared to discuss your resume in a succinct, concise manner.
Think about the Problems or Situations you have encountered at work, the specific Actions you took (as an individual or as part of a team effort) and then the quantifiable Results of your Actions. Be ready to discuss them to back up your claims of competence for any role to which you apply.
How open should you be regarding Personal Issues in the interview?
Don’t delve into the nitty-gritty of personal problems that have no bearing on your ability to perform in a role. Keep the information you present pertinent to the job. Focus on your relevant job skills.
Sometimes, divulging something personal that affects a job requirement is essential. For example, if driving is a requirement of a position and you do not have a drivers’ licence, you need to tell the recruiter upfront. Don’t waste his or her time. Stick to the facts.
Follow Up with a Thank You Email
This is business etiquette, polite and shows attention to detail. Thank you emails should be sent within 24 hours of the interview and highlight your suitability for the role discussed. It doesn’t have to be long – just acknowledge your appreciation of their time and point out your skills, and experience that make you the ideal candidate for the position.
Remember to check your grammar & spelling, and include your contact details in your signature line.
These suggestions can help you along in the interview process. To be honest, once you are in the running, recruiters and employers actually want you to be right candidate for a job – it means they can stop their search (and don’t forget this means commission for the recruiters!)
You must do your part and do the work to get in front of them and market yourself to show how you are the best person for the role.
These are a few simple suggestions – there are plenty more to help you market yourself effectively. If you’d like to discuss your approach with me, visit The Careers Academy and find out how I can support you each step of the job search process.
To secure your next job or gain that promotion, THE CAREERS ACADEMY is where I will guide you step by step to create the career of your dreams.