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The Truth About Hiring Recruiters….At Least…My Version Of The Truth

I hear often that in times where good people are hard to find, if someone is on the street looking, I should wonder why. So if you are looking, and you know that the ‘already always listening’ is this…the question is…How do you separate yourself from the sea of competition? AND for the record…there is a SEA of competition.

I recently posted a contract recruiter position and within 4 days I got over 400 submittals. Ugggggh. Now I know how my clients used to feel before they met me?

Unfortunately, here is a look into what I saw….typos and misspellings on resumes, zero mention of accountability, inconsistent information, absent information from previous jobs, half completed resumes and 6-1 resumes were from recruiter wan-na -bees. The sad part is, some of the wan-na-bees took more time to position themselves than some of the veterans.

If you are a serious player, and you want to separate your candidacy from the sea of competition I suggest you take your job search seriously, even if it is for a contract recruiter role. You may be asking yourself, what does she mean take it seriously? First of all, to me seriously means…..take your time; who you are being in your job search IS a reflection of who you will be on the job.

First and foremost, Read the ad or job posting in full. If asked, answer the questions concisely and accurately, in recruiting; time is money, get to the point. If there are instructions to follow, this is not the time to demonstrate what a rogue you are, these days recruiting has lots of processes and the bigger the company the more risk involved, if you cannot follow the application instructions, you are sending a message that you can’t assimilate to their ways of doing things. On the other hand if you follow the instructions verbatim and don’t do anything above and beyond, like using some creativity in your communication or application you may be sending a message that you give just what is asked and nothing more.

If you are applying to me, look me up, find me on google, face book, linked in, talk to me in my language; don’t address me by Dear Sirs when my name is Margaret. When I get resumes like that I can them immediately, first of all I have never met a ‘Sir’ named Margaret and second of all it tells me you don’t care.

After all, typically a person hiring a recruiter is someone who has done the job before, and done it well, so they are expecting you to blow them away with knowledge, pizzazz, terminology, technology, etc. If you are applying with me and I am a recruiter and we both share a common recruiter language and use the same type of vernacular, I expect you to use that to your advantage. Recruiting is a form of you know that by positioning yourself in the right manner.

Seriously also means doing your homework. Find out what company you are applying with, go to your browser and type in and look at who is requesting your services and tailor your application and response to the buyer.

Job searching is a sales process; YOU are SELLING me on WHY I should INVEST in YOU. That takes positioning, discernment, listening, questioning/probing and salesmanship.

Remember, who you are being in your own search process IS indicative of how you will conduct your searches for your new client, or if you are a rookie, who you are being in your job search is an indicator of how you will function in this role for others….seems easy enough to understand, however sometimes when we are too close to something we catch a case of running on automatic, or worse, a case of entitlement and we forget the game we are playing. We also forget that in THIS game, it is always about winning. Winning the game means working. Losing the game means keep looking, or keep on trucking to the next gig, until that gig runs out.

A real recruiter in 2008 lists accomplishments, numbers of jobs filled, time to fill measurements submittals or interviews to hire. Great recruiters know their retention rates and their percentage of good hires. In 3rd party recruiting, a successful recruiter knows their billings, per month, per quarter, if not per week. They also know their send out to placement ratio and their job order to fill ratio. In Staffing a solid recruiter knows their fill ratios and their (fall off ratio)misery index.

The name of THIS game is numbers, the numbers tell the story. No numbers always means NO results and no results are simply put ….zeros and zeros indicate a performance issue….and anything else is JUST a STORY. As with every profession, people are evaluated by their performance; our performance in this industry is about quality of hires within a given time frame. There are a few other important metrics yet none as important as, did this person fill the jobs with good people and did the hiring manager/new employee get served within an acceptable time frame.

Another element of taking your search seriously is the level of effort you have put forth in personal /job/competency development. What have you done to increase your awareness of the marketplace? What have you done to improve and expand your capacity to identify passive talent? If your biggest claim to fame is running an ad on Career Builder, scanning the resume and forwarding it to your client, you are in a bit of a pickle. While that might work, sometimes; that is nothing to be all that proud of, unless you are spending a significant amount of time screening, assessing, and evaluating that talent, with considerably more tools than your gut instinct.

Also, consider if that IS your claim to fame, charging 30% or $100.00 per hour for that will soon become a distant memory; frankly companies have more than 25 different alternatives to find candidates THAT way. Also, to add a little more rub to the wound….that is not really considered recruiting in my book, sourcing resumes, is sourcing resumes and whether I like it, believe in it or not, I CAN get that done through the Philippines for $2100.00 per search through Velocity resources, or $2500 per month through PSG. When more and more companies realize that there are alternatives, the easy way will become someone else’s cheaper way.

On the other hand, if you know how to and enjoy (well forget about like, you need to be good at it, if not great) sourcing passive talent through using social networks and internet mining tools, like broadlook or jigsaw then that is something to brag about, and I recommend you brag loud and clear. Include your percentages of hires using passive candidate streams and social networks.

If you are a farmer of people and you use your personal and business community to continually generate passive candidate flow and you have your very own ‘affinity network’ then brag about that as well. If you have a list, a data base of candidates, live and usable candidates, hell that is something to brag about, you come armed and prepared to generate maximum results in a minimal amount of time.

Taking your job search and your career seriously means continually upping your level of service offering and depth of service. As I have mentioned if your thing is sourcing, do it fabulously. Invest in your own development, learn the systems, learn the technology and apply it. After all, you buy clothing, fine wine, jewelry, so go buy a new way to source candidates, sign up for that $500.00 training, and then learn everything you can and apply it the second you get out of training, then brag about the results you produced.

Tell the world. If your bag is full life cycle recruiting, take that seriously and learn about the new wave of candidate selection tools that are being adopted into many company’s hiring processes. At the On-Rec conference a group of English business folks told me that 85% of all companies in their countries use behavioral interviewing, as well as competency and personality assessments to validate their hiring choices and create new employee development programs. I do not think the US is there yet, and due to the financial and business strategy consequences of poor hiring practices, I believe many more are on that path. An excellent way to differentiate you from the sea of recruiters looking for work is to capitalize on ANY training you have taken and applied successfully.

Leverage that through personal career positioning.

Lastly, no matter what your age, unless you create a cure for some major problem and land a plentiful sum of millions, you and I are probably going to be working for a living, if we like this type of work, we all need to be getting better all the time. We all need to be deepening our capacity and competency level to do more and better in less time, it is the way people do business. A good or bad example of doing more for less is this ‘bounty’ jobs types of site. It is a place where companies name the price for the candidate, and recruiters…out bid each other to get the work/placement. If that is not the industries response to our industry commoditizing ourselves and our service, than I am from another planet.

The reality of being in the recruiting job market in 2008 is…. if you are not getting better, you ought to get out, because before you know it you will be replaced by someone who is a lot more willing to do the same job for a lot, and I mean a lot less. If you like the business, live like you will be engaging in a job search and stay ahead of the curve. Keep track of your results, operate with integrity, don’t make placements you know won’t work out, create solid contacts and networks and learn everything you can, and always be positioning yourself the way you want to be perceived.


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