Everyone is “connected” today. With the explosive expansion of the internet, social media feeds, cloud-based computing, and IoT (the Internet of Things), our world is shrinking rapidly. Desktop and laptop computers are headed toward obsolescence while smart phones and tablets are consuming more of our time, especially for work.
However, connectedness is not all about technology. There’s still the old fashioned use of the word, when two or more people initiate and maintain a relationship, whether as family, neighbors, or co-workers. And how we relate to one another, especially in business, can mean the difference between success and failure. For the job seeker, the connectedness of his or her recruiter could mean the difference between landing that plum job and getting back in line at the unemployment agency.
Good recruiters fill jobs for businesses. Great recruiters place exceptional talent in exceptional companies. Connectedness is the key to working with a great recruiter who will help you take your career to the next level. There are three key relationships that great recruiters maintain.
Great recruiters are connected to an industry.
Just because you’ve been contacted by a recruiter about a job doesn’t mean you should work with that recruiter. Not all staffing professionals are alike.
If you’re in marketing, for instance, wouldn’t you want someone representing you to a client who knows something about marketing? If you’re a .NET Developer, isn’t it important for you to have confidence in your recruiter’s ability to know the world of IT?
Is your recruiter connected to the industry they are trying to staff? How would you know? Ask them, and do your own research.
Are they designated in their firm as an industry-specific recruiter? Do they have any college or other training in your field? How long have they been placing candidates in your industry? What types of positions in your line of work have they previously placed? And with what companies?
Take a look at their LinkedIn profile, too, to see if they have training and/or experience recruiting in your field, and for how long. Look up the recruiting firm to understand how they present themselves to clients and candidates. Talk to colleagues to find out how others rate their experience with this firm.
If your recruiter is simply collecting resumes and submitting them as fast as possible, hoping for a win by sheer volume, it’s probably best to walk away and do some research to find a firm that specializes in your industry, that keeps up with industry trends, and that actually knows what a .Net is.
Great recruiters are connected to a client.
Let’s not be naïve about the staffing industry. Recruiters work on behalf of client companies who need help filling a position. They are paid by these client companies when they are successful. You, the job-seeker, are reaping the benefit of that company and their use of a staffing professional. However, there is a tendency by some in the staffing world to receive a job order, quickly find someone on a job board who seems to match the qualifications, and submit a resume before others can—and before you can. It’s the “one and done” syndrome, and you will probably never hear from that recruiter again. You’re not told much about the job or even the name of the company. You’re just in the system.
Is your recruiter actually connected with the company for which you want to work? Is there a relationship with key managers at the client company? If not, how would you know if your resume ever makes it to the right people?
Before signing on with a recruiting firm, find out if they know anybody at the company(s) you are interested in. Interview the recruiters who are asking for your resume. Based on the job postings you’ve seen in your own research, find out if they have worked with these companies before and for how long. Ask which jobs they have filled (not just submitted to) at the target companies. Can they pick up the phone and talk to the Manager of HR or the Director of IT or the VP of Sales? Exactly what is their relationship with these companies?
If they’ve never been successful at the company you are interested in, then these recruiters are probably not going to be successful with you. If they are not connected to their clients beyond a system-generated submittal form, then you might as well fold your resume into a paper airplane and hope it makes it to the HR department.
Take a look at the recruiters’ LinkedIn pages and see who they are connected to at the companies you are interested in, or if they are connected to any managers in your industry at any similar companies. If they don’t have the relationships you need to be successful in your job search, find someone who is connected and has the access.
Great recruiters are connected to a candidate.
Finally, and it’s been stated before, relationships are the key to great recruiting. If a recruiter doesn’t develop a working relationship with you, the job seeker, then you are wasting your time. Your job search will continue to be hit and miss, and you will become discouraged working with recruiters who simply don’t care.
The more a recruiter can connect with you—your background, your career goals, and even your preferences for location and schools, for instance—then the more likely you will find someone to be your champion at the client company. You will still be competing against other candidates, but at least you will have someone on your team who knows you, your industry, and who can pick up the phone and call the IT manager to present you with enthusiasm.
Anything less is second best—and second best will not win you that next step in your career.