Why I spent 10+ years ignoring most recruiters…
If you’re an intelligent person in a remotely desirable field, you’ve probably received your fair share of recruiter messages. You know the ones – they’re usually polite, to the point, and clued into your area of expertise.
But for some reason – blame human nature, I guess – they’re irritating. Salesy. Bothersome. When I worked at Deloitte as an auditor, I’d get daily messages pitching one role or another. Without reading them I’d hit delete, or worse yet – just let them sit there unopened. We’ve been programmed to equate recruiter with salesman, and to equate sales with someone not working in our best interests.
I’m sure you’ve had the same experience. These messages often feel forced and tiresome, not worthy of your time. Plus, why bother humoring recruiters when you’re happy at your current job?
It wasn’t until I landed here at Proven Recruiting eight years ago as the Controller (now Director of Finance and Accounting) that I truly realized the value of having a relationship with a recruiter throughout your career, whether or not you are actively looking for a job.
The things that surprised me about recruiters
The recruiter that brought me to Proven was someone who had kept in touch with me for over ten years. He checked in periodically while I was at my previous companies, became familiar with my career and interests, and knew that I was happy at my job. He did not try to persuade me to leave my job for other positions that he was trying to fill. When news became public that my last company was about to fold, he was the first to call with something that he thought was perfect for me. At first, I was not convinced. However, since I had known him for so long and developed trust in him, I gave the company a shot and interviewed. Wouldn’t you know it? He knew what I was looking for before I even knew it myself!
The combination of my personal experience and the last eight years of watching these recruiters from behind the scenes has taught me a few things that surprised me:
- Not all recruiters are created equal. I’ve received my share of recruiter messages where it’s clear from the content that I’m just part of a mass email distribution list. There’s no attempt to personalize the message or to make themselves stand out from others. Those recruiters have not specifically found something about me that they’re interested in. They’re just mass emailing hoping to get a hit. Those messages are not worth paying attention to.
- A good recruiter takes the time to get to know you and learn what suits your interests and goals. They know that jobs are not one size fits all. My recruiter knew enough about my personal life and career goals to know immediately when the right job came along.
- Recruiters can open doors for you that you may otherwise not be able to open yourself. Good recruiters build trust-based long-term relationships with their client companies. At one point in my career, I considered going down a path that was slightly outside of the norm based on my experience. I submitted resumes to various companies on my own and got no responses. However, with the representation of a recruiter, I was able to get an interview. The client trusted the recruiter who convinced him that I was worth meeting. With the recruiters help, I was able to get a foot in the door at a company that otherwise wouldn’t consider me at all.
- Good recruiters develop a long-term relationship with you. They don’t try to push you into an ill-fitting role just to earn that commission. They care about where you land and whether you are happy. They check in with you regardless of if you are actively looking for a job. When you are ready to make a move (or make a hire), you have that much more trust that the recruiter has your best interests in mind.
Do you have a recruiter that you trust?
Even if you are not currently looking to make a move or a hire, do you have someone you can call if you decide that you are ready tomorrow? The time to develop that relationship with a recruiter is now, not when you need something in the moment. It’s similar to many other business or personal relationships you have in life, whether it’s a hairdresser, a car mechanic, or an insurance agent. You are much more likely to find success with someone you know and believe is trustworthy. That happens when you have had time to get to know each other.
Do you want to know more? Feel free to drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to share my experiences with you, or connect you with a recruiter.