Recruiters are an integral part of the employment process and, like most things in life, there are good one and not-so-good ones. However, it’s important to develop a strong relationship with a good recruiter who not only also has a good relationship with the employer but, because of that, they are trusted by them - and so can market you in a more effective way.
Creating this candidate/recruiter relationship can present challenges at first but, once made, can prove invaluable – both for you and for them.
Recruiters come in all shapes and sizes, but they can be categorised roughly as being either generalists or industry specific specialists. Their main function is to place the right candidate in the right job. So, the better they know and understand the candidate, the better job they’ll make of ‘selling’ that individual to the employer.
Because recruiters have such large databases of candidates’ CVs, you must make a meaningful impact with them if you’re not going to become, in their eyes, simply ‘Candidate No 3385’….
Research is vital and you must seek out a recruiter who is most likely to represent you in the best way. If you have the sort of experience and skill set that appears in their job ads, they’re more likely to want to meet you and, having done so, put you in the top section of their ‘live candidates’ list; which is where you need to be.
Of course, gaining a meeting with a recruiter can be a challenge, but you must persevere. Because of the sheer numbers of candidates they deal with on a daily basis, you have to give them a good reason to meet you and be able to show immediately that you stand out amongst the others; So yes, a face-to-face meeting (or Skype if they’re miles away) is vital. You must be able to tell them right away why you want to meet them and, as succinctly as possible, that it would be mutually beneficial to do so - because you’re exactly the sort of person that would be good for them. Therefore, the tone should be not “Can you help me find a job?” and more “I may have exactly to sort of experience you’re looking for.” (if not quite so forthright…)
Ultimately then, this meeting will be a two-way street and you should always treat it in the same way as you would an interview:
- Dress accordingly
- Be enthusiastic and engage fully with them
- Show how your experience is totally relevant to ‘their’ sort of roles
- Ask appropriate questions (about the types of roles/companies they deal with; the range of salaries).
- How can you help them to help you..?
It’s better to have only one or two recruiters working for you, rather than a vast range. If a prospective employer receives copies of your CV from several different sources, a) you lose the effect of being presented as the ‘ideal’ candidate by one, trusted recruiter and b) it can make you look a little desperate as your CV starts to appear from all sides.
Finally, help the recruiter to help you by providing a CV that can be easily read and understood. No recruiter will wade through pages of information about you and if your ‘brochure’ is immediately attractive (and not in need of a complete overhaul – which they are not about to undertake), you give yourself a much better chance of being considered as a good option. If it would help, seek professional advice.
Creating a good relationship with a recruiter can offer enormous benefits, but you must be careful to ensure that the recruiter is a good one, and that their work is relevant to you. You must research thoroughly and, once a meeting has been arranged, make sure that you present as positive an image to them as you would to an employer at interview. Once that relationship has been forged and the recruiter is working as much for you as they are for them, doors should magically open.
- Identify the right recruiter for you
- Work with one or two, not a large number
- Always arrange an initial face-to-face meeting
- Treat and prepare for the meeting just as you would for an interview
- Study their experience and skills requirements and show that you can meet them
- Make sure you have a concise and relevant CV