Tips on Working with Recruiters

One area of job search that creates frequent misunderstanding for job seekers is the role of recruiters.  Nick Corcodilos recently published a book titled How to Work With Headhunters that’s on my reading list since it’s recommended  by several people I respect. You can begin to develop a better understanding of recruiters at Nick’s web site Lisa Wiley-Parker,  a career coach and former recruiter colleague of mine also provides insight on recruiters on her blog If you ever have the opportunity to hear a recruiter speak, do so. You will discover several misunderstandings you have about recruiters.

I want to list a few random recommendations I share with job seekers on the topic of recruiters:

Ask questions of your own. Most successful recruiters specialize in a particular field. If one contacts you, he or she likely deals with your field and also your local market. Don’t hesitate to ask about trends or in demand skills. This can alert you to the possibility of needing any training. If you post résumés on job boards and have a LinkedIn profile, ask the recruiter what keywords are vital get noticed in online searches. He or she searches these all the time.

Do not take it personally a recruiter does not return your call. A recruiter friend once told me that just servicing the active openings on his board can involve more than fifty phone calls per day. Contingency recruiters mostly work on commission, so they need to focus on current openings. Successful recruiters know their field of concentration and recognize skill sets  they receive regular orders for. One might not have an immediate need for an individual with your skill sets, but this doesn’t mean they won’t develop a need at a later date.

Do not assume a recruiter has no interest in someone unemployed. Nearly 10% of the professional, executive, technical and managerial population I have worked with report that a recruiter linked them to their next employer. All these people come to us after losing a job.

Regarding your résumé. Some employers may need recruiters to offer candidate information on a work sheet. Recruiters also often need to make corrections to the résumés candidates send them. With these factors in mind, do not send a recruiter your résumé in PDF format and minimize use of tables. Plus, when a recruiter schedules you for an interview, ask him to give you a copy of the résumé or worksheet he sent the employer.


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