I recently read a blog stating vehemently that recruiters are “virtually worthless” in finding a job for those searching for one. The argument was made that it was in the recruiter’s best interest to contact candidates to fill these positions but never think that such firms are truly concerned about you because they represent the entities that are hiring and not those individuals who are searching for work.
Such a shot across the bow is probably maintained by those who have issues with a specific “headhunter” over the years and unfortunately have not received the return phone call that we all desire. It is obvious that the recruiter’s livelihood comes from the services they provide to the people who are paying their fees and that those individuals who are looking for their next position are really no more than a means to that end. Just follow the money and it becomes quite obvious where their allegiances are and should be.
I would argue that recruiters provide a valued and valid service for not just the employers but also the job seeker. I would also point out that the only way for a job seeker to ultimately procure a new position is for that individual to do it themselves. To land a new position you must be in charge of your own destiny. You must actively market yourself and you must also be prepared to put in the hours to find that ultimate new position.
I would also however argue that though every job seeker should always be cognizant of who the recruiter works for, it would make the process a whole lot more accommodating if the recruiter would remember the following:
1) You Need Us as Much as We Need You. These vacant positions are needed to be filled in an efficient and orderly manner. To accomplish such, recruiters need a variety of vetted and qualified candidates to present to their clients. Though we know that at present there are plenty of candidates available, but like those in the house-selling business – the tide will eventually change and the buyer’s market will then be the advantage to the sellers. Relationships are built during difficult times and those relationships will last forever if handled with respect and care.
2) No Matter What The News – Just Tell Us. If candidates have stated it once they have stated it a million times – we just want to know! The problem is that candidates would appreciate and deserve to be kept in the loop. A simple electronic e-mail in response to a resume would be nice. Updates on where the process stands is also desirable. Finally, though candidates are disappointed by not getting the job or not being advanced for the job they do deserve knowing why. How can a candidate improve and finally find the appropriate position they want without knowing their deficiencies or rationale for not being considered?
3) There Is A Failure to Communicate. In many ways the job search process is very similar to a typical teenage dating ritual. When we are employed we receive phone calls asking whether we know of anyone who can fill this new vacancy but when we are available (in transition) those phone calls are fewer and far between. There are those who sincerely believe that the only viable candidate for a position is one that is currently employed. I would hope that such a philosophy is not the case, but for those many individuals who find themselves in a lengthy transition it is quite difficult for them to believe otherwise.
4) This Really Is a Small Community. In all trades and professions it becomes quite obvious, really fast who the valued professionals are and who you can depend on. With the use of social media, comments are much too prevalent and unfortunately the negative stories always get greater traction than those that are positive. Recruiters and job seekers need to work closely together to achieve success. Treating each party with dignity and respect will go a long way towards finding the right candidate for each opening.
The bottom-line is that a job seeker can use all the assistance they can get. Recruiters are an important element in the system but success will only be achieved if the candidate, and the candidate alone uses all the tools available to find just the right new position. Be it recruiters, social media, search committees, contacts and your network – all are useful tools but without the motivation needed, all will be for naught.
Dan Borschke is a Certified Association Executive who has been a CEO for 3 distinct trade associations in his distinguished career. He is one of only 230 Association Executives worldwide who has been granted the prestigious designation of Fellow by the American Society of Association Executives. He currently is between positions and has written more than 50,000 words or 90 blog postings on the topics of job search and career transition. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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