Just because you start working with a recruiter doesn’t mean you’re exempt from your regular job searching responsibilities.
That dogged and persistent approach needs to be maintained once you partner with someone connected to a company. Often, that effort needs to be increased with the recruiter in order to get that next great job.
Chad Oakley is president and chief operating officer of Charles Aris, Inc., one of the largest recruiting firms in the nation, and he says that when searching for a job, timing is everything.
“The biggest reason why job seekers get the cold shoulder from a recruiter is timing,” he said.
Even if you do everything right as a candidate and you’re working with an excellent recruiter, the company will still have a preconceived idea of the right person for the job – and it might be somebody with a slightly different background.
“They are only looking for an exact match,” Oakley said. “For half the people I connect with, I have to send out an e-mail that says ‘thank you so much (but) there’s nothing that matches the criteria.’ ”
With odds stacked this high against them, candidates better not do anything to ruin their chances even further, Oakley said.
He offers four tips to job seekers who are working with recruiters that could help them avoid the most common pitfalls in the complicated recruiter-candidate relationship:
1. Have a well-organized resume.
When you’re in a recruiting position, you don’t have a lot of time to figure it out. The resume is basically the storefront sign that gets them into the store, but the storekeeper has to convince them to make a purchase.
2. Make yourself very accommodating.
Being aloof doesn’t win you any points with a recruiter. It’s better to be eager and responsive. Remember: recruiters work with more than one candidate at a time and they want to do right by all of them.
3. Be fully transparent.
Transparency is a key element to the partnership and one that often goes ignored – to the detriment of both the candidate and the recruiter – as the job seeker does their best to “spin” the truth to look better in the eyes of a potential employer. If you’ve recently experienced a layoff, tell them. Recruiters are really savvy in that type of thing because that’s all they do. If they find out about it later, that’s an instant credibility killer.” Other areas where candidates can get in trouble for stretching the truth often include salary.
4. Good old-fashioned doing what you say you’re going to do.
It might sound obvious, but job seekers will often forget to follow up with everything they’ve promised the recruiter. Such incompetence is unacceptable because it shows what kind of employee you’d be. If you say you’ll have something by 5 p.m., make sure you have it by 5 p.m.
In your job search, a recruiter might be the strongest ally you have. Following these tips could pay huge dividends as the two of you work together for that common goal in 2013.
Andrew Klappholz is a general assignment reporter for TheLadders.