Job Hunting – Dealing with Recruiters Wisely
Since I was laid off a few months ago I have not been looking too actively for a job, but now I’m starting to get interested in going to work again. In the meantime I have been networking both face to face in town through various organizations and online using my website BLOG, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. In the last couple of months I have been approached on LinkedIn by several recruiters offering potential employment opportunities. I haven’t followed through since I had heard many warnings about working with recruiters and wasn’t sure how to go about doing this safely. I recently spoke to Kathy Lansford-Powell from the Austin LaunchPad Job Club who mentioned the recruiter, Sheryl Friesz – http://twitter.com/sfriesz who got me hired at Callidus Software, my last job for three years. I looked Sheryl up on LinkedIn and sent her an e-mail. She was delighted to talk to me and help so we set up a time. I got the following good advice from Sheryl and any mistakes here are attributable to my poor interpretation, memory or writing rather than her excellent advice.
Sheryl agreed that a job seeker must be very careful when working with recruiters and she recommended that you vet each recruiter that contacts you very carefully before working with them or even sending them your resume. Recruiters fall into several categories, but basically there are the good ethical ones in it for the long term, newbies who may be good or bad depending on who they work for and what their guidelines and approach to the business is and then there are the unethical ones who are using most job seekers to present themselves as much more than they really are. Unfortunately, these days in a buyers market there are probably more desperate and bad recruiters than really good ones so you have to be extra careful in a job search.
You should be very leery of the large big name recruiting businesses and especially of any businesses that want to charge you for a placement or for services in advance. Many of them may want to get your resume so that they can tell an employer that they have say 50,000 good candidates in their pool in order to get that employer to hire them to do placements. Of course, recruiters who are direct employees of the hiring company are on the up and up, but their loyalty is to the company rather than to getting you placed so you should always work with them if you want to work for their company, but be clear about their role and motivations. They want to fill the position with the best candidate even if it isn’t you. Also check these firms job banks very carefully to make sure that they have actually been given these jobs by companies and haven’t just pulled them from other boards in order to make their job bank seem large and successful. A reputable recruiter will almost always tell you the company that they have the listing for if they think you are really a good candidate and they are going to submit you for the position. Before you give anyone your resume and begin working with them be sure to get a firm promise that they will not ever submit your resume without getting your approval first. I’m thinking of getting or writing a contract like an NDA to give any recruiters to sign before sending them my resume.
Sheryl game me some questions to ask recruiters before working with them or giving them your resume to see if they are for real or not:
- How long have you been working with this corporation?
- How many placements have you done with this corporation?
- Why are they willing to pay you a fee in today’s employment market to place candidates when they are probably overflowing with applicants and resumes?
- Have you met with the company’s hiring manager for this position?
- How does the vetting process for applicants at this company work?
- How likely is it that I will get an interview with this company through working with you?
- What can you tell me about the interviewing process at this company? How much help will you give me in this process?
The final “fish or cut bait” question to ask any recruiter who wants your resume to submit for a position. You can ask them if they have siad they have a relationship with the hiring manager, “OK, if i go back to the hiring manager with and ask him/her to tell me about you what will he/she say?”
Finally, if you can you should find some resources on the web or some people in your town that have worked with the recruiter or been hired by the company to find out what their experiences were and what their recommendation is. LinkedIn can help and you can ask the recruiter for references, but be aware, the recruiter will give you the best examples and not typical ones.
One final tip from Sheryl. Though many people say that you should put your resume out on the web, either on LinkedIn or on your own blog or website, but there are two problems with this. First, if you put it out there in any format other than image format, it is too easy for unethical recruiters and others to steal it and use it in their candidate pools or elsewhere. Sheryl also mentions that your LinkedIn and other site profiles are there to pique employer’s and recruiters interest in order to have them talk to you and ask for your resume. Your resume is NOT you with your personality, softskills and wits. If the resume is already out there they can form an opinion and decide that they don’t need to talk to you when it is in both your interest that they DO talk to you since you might be the best candidate for the job even though your resume isn’t the best for matching the job description. Those are two very different different things.
Good Luck and Happy and Successful Job Hunting!