The Bottom Line About Using a Recruiter

As a resume writer and career coach who spent over two decades as a recruiter and managing partner of an executive search firm, I am constantly asked “how do you get a recruiter to present you to their client?”

Most job seekers consider the obvious, whether or not I am qualified for the job a.k.a.

1: Do I have the experience the employer is looking for?
2: Do I have the requisite skills sets the employer is looking for?
3: Do I have the minimum number of years in the role the employer is looking for?
4: Do I have the education and/or certifications requested for the job?

These are all givens, but not what a good recruiter looks for.

What job seekers need to understand is a recruiter can’t refer every qualified candidate they meet to a client. For a retained search they may be able to present their top 3-5 candidates and for a contingency search they may only be able to refer 1 candidate depending on the relationship with the client. The problem is out of every 100 candidates they source at least 25% are imminently qualified for the job.

So what do recruiters look for in a candidate if it is not whether they are qualified for the job? The answer; is the candidate hire-able. And what defines hire-able?

A: The candidate has all the requirements to do the job, and a few of the preferred requirements might compensate if they have only 90% of what the employer wants.

B: The candidate does not fall into the two subjective categories – under qualified / over qualified.
As I said these are subjective judgment calls and I find being over qualified a hard sell and being under qualified easier for a candidate to accept.

C: Presentation to me is the first deal maker or deal breaker. It starts with your resume and if you can’t get past this stage nothing else will matter. Next is the impression you make on a recruiter during the initial phone call and interview. If you don’t came across as professional, sincere and confident you won’t be passed along.

D: Communication skills are the most important piece of the puzzle. As I tell people all the time, it is not the most qualified person who gets a recruiter’s attention It is the person they like and respect the most. This is communicated somewhat on a resume but face to face is when the deal is sealed or falls apart. If a recruiter feels you are an A candidate with a less than A personality you lose.

E: Culture compatibility. This is a major key for the employer and therefore for the recruiter as well. You need to be able to look, act and speak in a way that makes the recruiter comfortable that you will blend into their client’s environment. If you fail to do so this is the end of the line.

So when preparing your resume, elevator speech, wardrobe and prepping for an interview you need to concentrate on coming across as not only qualified for a job but as being hire-able as well.

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