Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Oxymoron of the Week: Working With Recruiters

So just for the heck of it, I googled working with recruiters and back came nearly 5.2 million hits give or take.

That was almost enough to make me think that writing about what was wrong with the Mets and Red Sox might serve a more useful purpose. But before cashing in my chips, I took out my Google user's manual and tried "working with recruiters" in quotes and felt a bit better when only 11,600 hits showed up.

Of course, even with that I knew I was only kidding myself that whatever my thoughts were on this subject it was hardly going to break new ground and more importantly probably wasn't going to change anyone's mind on the subject be they on the candidate side or the recruiter side.

Idealist that I am however, I thought what the hell, at least I can share an opinion because even with all that has been written about this subject, the sheer volume suggests that there continue to be lots of folks remaining who still go into a career change thinking that one of their prime strategies is going to one of "working with recruiters."

For sure it's a logical thought; unfortunately it just isn't reality. While it is true that recruiters whether they are internal to a company or hired by a company do, in fact, "recruit" it does not follow at all, however, that a person who would like to be hired simply decides to contact the recruiter and "work with them" in order to achieve the candidate's objective of being hired.

On the remote chance that you are not aware of this already, here's news:

Recruiters work for clients not candidates. Why? Simple: They get paid by the clients. Indeed, and to further rain on the parade, a fair amount of what they are being paid for is to screen candidates OUT, not screen them IN.

I know, maybe that sounds harsh, but most people I know who have been in the business world for more than a few years really do know this and probably have hired a recruiter to do exactly this, but somehow when all of a sudden they find themselves on the candidate side of the job changing desk their memory disk gets erased and they become incensed when they reach out to recruiters and hear nothing.

Too boot, if that outreach is made by responding to a posting somewhere (as is often the case) and silence is all they hear it just makes people even more ticked off. No surprise there either.

Unhappily and from my own personal experience along with being a part of ExecuNet for the past 22 years, it doesn't look like that experience is going to change any time soon.

So, why bring all this up yet again?

Answer: Because even though I thought everyone on the planet knows all this already, I keep getting reminded daily, if not hourly, that just because I thought that to be the case, the fact of the matter is that there are still thousands if not tens of thousands of poeple in an executive job searche who either don't know it or at least, don't want to believe it.

For sure I can understand their frustration. I've been there.

Both by phone and email (and sometimes in person) I talk with ExecuNet members who are PO'd beyond belief both at what they feel is an outrageous lack of professional courtesy not to mention the anxiety that comes from not knowing where to else turn.

Aside from trying to help them understand what's going on from the recruiter's perspective (and I emphasize "understand" as opposed to "condone") I offer up statistics in terms of the percentage of openings filled by the search world (maybe 12-15% tops) vs. networking where the numbers are more like 70%+ vs. the inordinate amount of time invested in "working with recruiters."

Of course building and effective network is a lot harder than "clicking and praying" or firing off emails and/or resumes to recruiters, stats notwithstanding.

So, if you still think "working with recruiters" is the most critical piece to the puzzle, then at least you owe it to yourself to get the best information and insights available on the subject.

If you are a member of ExecuNet then hopefully you already know that we have a special section of the site dedicated solely to this area. We call in Recruiter Connections.

If you want more info (along with additonal answers and ideas) then I know of no better resource to point you toward than checking out Nick Corcodilos and more specifically his book How To Work With Headhunters.

The book's tag line is 62 Myth-busting answers for fearless job hunters and believe me when I tell you he is not afraid to "break the myths."

Given his background as a recruiter coupled with his "tell it like it is" style, you will have no difficulty whatever in understanding his point-of-view and why he feels as he does.

All of which is to say, if you are going to invest precious time and energy in "working with recruiters" then arm yourself with information that can give you the best shot at a decent ROI but also which will help you channel some of that extra energy that comes from anger and frustration and apply it in directions that will shorten the "hunt" as well as lower your blood pressure.

1 comment:

John Papers said...

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