It would be nice if all the recruiters who could place you in a position would just find and contact you, but it just doesn't work that way. Recruiters do search LinkedIn and other sites for potential candidates, but if they don't find you, your best chance of maximizing your executive job search options is to put yourself in front of them. But how do you find them? Here's how:
Ask colleagues, friends and other professionals in your field for names and contact info for recruiters they know.
Find companies in your space with employees like you (similar background, experience, title, etc.) and find out from those people what recruiter placed them in that company, or who they would recommend for that field. (A great way to do this is to use LinkedIn or other online professional networks.)
Call the associations in your industry (speak to the officers of the organization) and ask them if they know any recruiters who specialize in your industry. '
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Recruiters can be extremely valuable to your job search. Why? First, they very often have an “in” at some great companies that you don’t…if there’s an opening and the recruiter says, “Hey, this is someone you should look at,” that’s going to carry more weight than if you show up and say, “Here’s my resume.” Second, many companies prefer to hire only through recruiters…so for those particular jobs, the recruiter is the ONLY way to get to it.
To use recruiters to help you get a job, you need to know how they work. There are two basic types of recruiters: Internal and Third Party, or Contingency Recruiters.
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Internal recruiters work for the company. Their job is to recruit for that company and only that company. You’ll usually find them only in bigger corporations.
Third party, or contingency, recruiters are more like free agents who can work with multiple companies. They are paid by the client when a candidate is placed in that company. So if they find the candidate who eventually gets the job, they get something like a “finder’s fee” for doing it.
The recruiter’s mission is to provide their client (the company) with the type of candidate the client asks for. So if you show up and say, “Hey, I want to work for that company…introduce me,” that’s not going to work unless you have the skill set that company has asked to see. It doesn’t have anything to do with you and how wonderful you are…it’s just a matter of you being a match for what they asked for.
What all that means is that a recruiter isn’t going to spend much time with you if they don’t have a job that you’re a match for at that time. They will put you in their database for the future; if a job opening comes in that matches your skill sets, they’ll call you. (And here’s a hint: If a recruiter calls, call back quickly. They move fast to fill a spot.) Generally, unless you’re making more than $40,000 a year, a third party recruiter won’t be looking at you at all.
Your relationship with a recruiter fits into kind of a weird slot…they are both a networking contact for you that happens to have a lot of reach and influence and they are your very first interview with the company. When they call you to discuss an opportunity, consider yourself in phone interview mode. If you don’t represent yourself well, they probably aren’t going to keep moving you forward in the process and introduce you to the company. If you’re on the fence, they might give you pointers, though.
If one opportunity doesn’t work out through your recruiter, they will probably keep you on the short list for other opportunities (which is what I mean about networking). If you find a good recruiter, build and maintain the relationship throughout your career. If you have a good working relationship with them, you never know what opportunities might open up for you as a result.
You can find recruiters on all the social media networks. Connect with them on LinkedIn, follow them on Twitter, friend them on Facebook, and add them to your Google Plus circles.
(I have a circle of recruiters on Google Plus that you’re welcome to check out. I posted a few months ago about it: Circle of Recruiters.
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Carl and I have spent MANY years as recruiters and decided to create one comprehensive resource for job seekers that gives you the inside scoop on working with recruiters.
It's so worth it--for your short-term job search success AND your long-term career growth--to learn the rules of the recruiter game. Recruiters have amazing access to jobs...many companies won't hire for certain positions without going through recruiters. But many job seekers just don't 'get' what a recruiter's mission or focus is, and they can make big mistakes without even trying very hard. And a ticked-off recruiter won't bother to call you back...you'll just be out of the game.
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