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Working With a Recruiter |

Working With a Recruiter |

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EP 1274 People have silly ideas about recruiters and what they do. Let me clear things up.


Let me just talk with you for a 2nd about the role of recruiters in your job search and some of the mistakes people make when they start working with recruiters – – mistakes in attitude, mistakes that come with misunderstanding the role.

The language of job hunters is, "I'm going to contact recruiter and they are going to help me find the job."  Or, " I'm going to contact a bunch of recruiters and they will help me find a job."


That's not the case.  

Recruiters are hired by organizations and paid to find people who fill a job that is open.

"But they need me for this!"

You are absolutely right, but you are a commodity.  I want you to hear that again.  If you think you are the only person in your market area who can do this job, you are deluding yourself.  If you think you're the only person in the country who can do this job, you are deluding yourself.  Recruiters are paid by corporations to find people with specific talent, specific backgrounds that can do the role.  They are not there to help you transition 99.9% of the time.

They are not there to be career coaches.  They are not there to respond to your messages when you when you send a resume that says, "Hey, what do you think?"

Give me a break. You are stealing time from them.  You think they are going to critique your resume for you… I have this happen to me all the time.  People send me a message that says, "Take a look at my resume.  Please do a rewrite for me."  Andy, they don't want to pay me anything for it.  Help me understand why I'm supposed to do this.

"Because we will build a relationship!"'  Sure.  I never heard from you before, and I'll never hear from you again.  That's my experience. And I've only done this for 40 years.

Recruiters are there to fill jobs by finding people who have specific backgrounds and match certain preferences that an organization has and are paid as a result of finding this correct person.

Recruiters Aren't Rude

The next thing that people make this goofy association with is that recruiters are rude and unresponsive.  Many times, you are a spammer.  You are sending resumes to a cruise that in no way, shape or form does your background for what they are looking for a you are expecting them to STOP, say, "Okay, I'm going to call this guy, even though I will never have anything for them," or STOP and say to ourselves, "This 1 woman wants to make a transition into a completely different field, and she has no background in this whatsoever but she wants to do it.  Let me call her."

I think the witness really comes from the fact that you're contacting them and have expectations that are unreasonable.

Recognize that when you tried to steal someone's time, the result winds up being that you are the weird one because you are making demands of them that are completely unreasonable.  The next thing is that recruiters are not held to get the best compensation that they can.  The truth of the matter is, the recruiter wants to do the deal.

Let me repeat that.  The recruiter wants to do the deal.  The one that the recruiter wants to do is the one that the client is willing that to pay them to do in order to deliver a candid.  For example, if you are offered $60,000 or $100,000 or $250,000, and you are looking for $67.5 or $110 or $275, you may think they are trying to scam you hear but the reality is, the client will pay anymore for you.  They will be paid anything. If they don't deliver you to them.  So, they will try to deliver you, they will try to be persuasive about why your value is not as high as you think it is.

Hopefully, you did research at the beginning of the search (You did that, didn't you?  Most people don't, let's not kid ourselves.  You probably didn't do research at the beginning of your search, other than to ask friends or family who have no real knowledge).  For you, as a job hunter, you need to understand your value and, because you want it, it doesn't mean you have that value.

If the market is rejecting you and you have been on a bunch of interviews, with no offers, and no callbacks him him, and no interest, the market is telling you that you are not as good as you think you are and you don't have the value that you think you have.  Recognize this and you have to be the one that adapts.

Or, be prepared to turn down an offer and go on to the next thing which is perfectly fine.  However, understand that the recruiter was there to do the deal.

Lastly, recruiters care about building long-term relationships with people.  They want to help them become hiring managers and higher from them.  That is really where they make more money.  From your vantage point, you may think they are transactional, but that is because you have been a spammer most of the time.  You have been submitting resume after resume after resume that doesn't fit what they're looking for, wondering why you don't get a phone call.

Try Walking in a Recruiter's Shoes Sometime

If you think I'm wrong. Folks, you have to live on my side of the desk; I walk in on a typical day to 150 to 200 emails plus messages in my LinkedIn inbox and clients that want feedback on interviews that have taken place.  It is job hunters that send resumes with very specific requirements  (When I run a ads, I try to make it crystal clear what my client is looking for) at submit resumes that aren't even close, not even in the same industry – – like the IT security role with risk management background applied to by the security guard.  If the person took 1 2nd to read the job description, you wouldn't apply but you still my time.

So, again, often the issue with job hunters, isn't the recruiter.  It's you.  You are the problem here.  Your behavior sets up this adversarial relationship. I know you don't want to hear it, but I'm here to give you no BS job search advice, even if it makes you squirm.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1200 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Connect with me on LinkedIn. Then message me to schedule an initial complimentary session.

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