I hear the complaints all the time… “Recruiters respond to me and promise results they never deliver. What do engineering recruiters want?”
One of the most frustrating aspects of an engineering job search is developing a relationship with a recruiter. Do they call you up, promise results and never hear from them again. Sound familiar? If so, I’m sorry. Let’s talk a little about the role recruiters play in the search process and explore how you can play this understanding to your advantage.
First, let me begin by saying that the best relationships are based on trust and honesty. If a recruiter tells you that he has a role that you are “perfect” for, does not guarantee that the employer agrees. The recruiter should tell you why he thinks so, however. The most effective recruiter/candidate relationships are partnerships where you are able to effectively communicate your strengths and capabilities.
Companies use recruiters as a means of last resort, a means of first resort and a range of options in between. Years ago, the parent company of Monster.com, TMP boasted that they would soon be putting search firms out of business. Creating a sophisticated Internet want ad posting site did not drive recruiters out of business, but it did change the recruiting game. Companies are able to use a broad range of Internet sources, interactive web sites, and recruiting tools to identify candidates. These tools can use filters and screening technology to find key words in your resume, past employers, schools, certifications etc., but they still lack the ability to qualify motive, separate fact from fiction and add value to the vetting process.
Moreover, the best candidates are still, quite often, happily employed, successful, “passive” individuals unaware of that “ideal opportunity” one recruiter call away. How do you “get found” and made aware of better opportunities? How do you create partnerships with recruiters that yield results? We will explore this question in a series of blogs that relate to working more effectively with recruiters.
Qualify the recruiter. Posting your resume on a job board, registering with a search firm or answering a recruiter ad will usually result in some kind of interview or recruiter conversation. How this conversation goes will impact the results you can expect. In general, recruiters will specialize in three areas: Discipline, Industry or Geography. The “DIG” formula will allow you to narrow your recruiter relationships by understanding the individual recruiter’s focus. If the recruiter doesn’t specialize at all, I do not recommend beginning a relationship. How do you feel about auto mechanics “who ‘specialize’ in all makes and models?”
If the recruiters specializes in a discipline, say design engineering, and you are a design engineer, you may reasonably expect that you are in the right church. To get in the right pew, ask about what types of design engineering, what markets, products, disciplines, etc. Likewise, if a recruiter is focused more generally on local companies or certain industries, you will want to narrow the field with questions about specifics. Step One entails qualifying the recruiter. Ask if he believes he can place you or whether he feels you fit his area of focus. If you have a sore throat, a urologist may not be your best Dr.
The first step in the search for a qualified recruiter is asking whether he can help. Ask about his experience, background and focus. Then, you can talk about your goals and targets in your career search. If he doesn’t focus on your area, ask for referrals to people who do. They may be in other divisions of his company or he may be able to refer you to someone more appropriate. For best results, find a specialist that knows your field and appreciates your value. Can you DIG it? jack.o’firstname.lastname@example.org