Written by Nanette Hebdige
In a world where recruitment companies abound – not all recruiters are created equal.
The internet is loaded with articles on interviewing, what recruiters look for, their mindset and how they operate. Working with placement agencies seems like a good avenue, if you are looking for a career change or need a new job, however the chances of you getting placed by them is pretty unlikely.
With organizations focusing on Human Capital Management (HCM), many avail themselves of recruiting sources, because retention in the marketplace is dicey and numerous employees think the grass is always greener over yonder. Many will incentivize their employees with set practices for keeping their talent and value them, as they are the Human Capital bringing about the success of the company or any household and they need recruiters to bring in new talent.
The same methodology “should” apply to the recruiting world, with untold placement agencies tackling their own specialized fields, recruiters should realize the importance of HCM and most don’t.
Even if you’re not applying for the corporate world, this behavior is even more of a conundrum in the private service sector, which now is becoming vastly popular, as these positions are coming into high demand.
Recruiters – Are they for you or against you?
Recruiters are at the mercy of the client, who makes the ultimate decision for the hire, and many variables are out of their control. Still, more professionalism should be awarded to the applicants and not be treated like a number at the deli counter.
There’s very little human decency and a tremendous lack of professional follow through. You’re just a means to an end. Without you, placement agencies don’t exist.
A posting is most likely vetted out to several recruiting agencies, as the employer has several sources trying to find the right fit. Since the client only pays a fee when the candidate is placed, they have no skin in the game and many times the client will back out of paying the exorbitant fee to find you. And yes the fee is usually anywhere between 10% – 20% of the salary offered.
If the client decides on a candidate, one thing recruiters will ensure of is that all agreements and proper documentation is drafted before signing on the dotted line to ensure both entities are covered in the employment contract.
But really, how is talent acquired?
It takes a shrewd but personable individual to be crowned a recruiter. The best have many years of tenure under their belt, evaluating a person’s capabilities for the job match, being an extremely good judge of character with a phenomenal BS odometer. Some have even worked in the industry and have gravitated to recruit talent.
Most will blood-hound sites such as LinkedIn (matching your CV with your social persona is crucial, so ensure you have a solid, engaging presence on LinkedIn) and other sites, searching for key talent prior to posting publicly.
You’ve been noticed!
After passing through the software algorithm gauntlet, you’re part of the trillion other worker bees trying to partake of the nectar. If by some miracle your credentials look remotely good enough to match the position, you “may” be contacted and the laborious process of proving yourself to the gatekeepers starts.
Then, you’ve finally secured that much waited call and you’re doing cartwheels around your house. No need to get excited. That’s just part and parcel of the massive screening evaluation process to see if you’re even a fit. After that, you’re placed into that vast, recruiting black waiting hole to see if your candidacy will even be considered.
And then you’re told you’re a great fit and your qualifications are stellar. You’ve secured various worthwhile interviews for different roles, so you are pretty confident that one will surely stick. NOPE. There is zero response from the recruiters because it’s rare any feedback is supplied.
Oh, the variables
It’s a dog eat dog world out there so don’t think for a minute there isn’t a certain look and feel required. Even though discrimination seems to be at an all-time low, there’s still a vast amount of racial, ageist and gender discrimination.
Sometimes recruiting agencies have hired young rookies with hardly, if any experience. You’ll know you’re working with a pro when you aren’t asked the proverbial, bland and inane cookie-cut questions out of a printout sheet.
Why did you answer the posting and why do you feel you are qualified?
Why was your reason for leaving other positions?
What are your salary expectations?
Where do you want to be in 5 years?
What’s your management style?
A seasoned recruiter will be grant you a more agreeable interview. Your skillset and experience is delineated on paper (your CV and letters of reference) and the inquiry revolves around you and what you bring to the table, with your level of maturity, mental quotient, moxie and tenure.
Not your BFF
The recruiter is NOT your BFF; far from it. They are there to look for key behavioral patterns and innuendos in the tone of your voice, your assertiveness and knowledge.
Don’t be overly chatty, ramble, stay to the point and don’t interrupt.
Pay attention to them (you need to read them as much as they are reading you).
Listen, pause before you answer, don’t be too loud or overly excitable.
Be brief and concise with your responses. Take loads of notes.
Be one with your resume – know your dates of employment like you know your SSN and why you transitioned.
Have solid questions regarding the position and don’t ask how much it pays. That’s the last part of the process.
If you’re asked what your salary expectations are – the best answer is “It depends on what the whole package offers.”
Familiarize yourself with the pay rate in your areas, as salaries are commensurate to the cost of living where jobs are offered.
In my opinion, many times you’re better off woking with a headhunter, as the client has provided an upfront retainer and they’re serious in securing a candidate for the role.
It’s rare that a recruiter will remain in touch if you haven’t made the cut. If they’ve got integrity and follow through, they will place you on their “stellar candidate list” for any future jobs. If you’re given the usual blow off line – “will keep your CV on file”, rest assured, you’ve been tossed into the garbage pile like old leftovers.
No matter how good your rapport was with the recruiter, they aren’t really interested in you, as they have too many candidates. Their primary responsibility is filling a job, generating their commission and moving onto the next posting. Good luck out there!