How to get a Recruiter’s attention
Feeling frustrated by Recruiters who aren’t helping you find your next role?
The truth is, they don’t work for you. As their services are paid for by companies they represent, they are on short timeframes to find candidates who meet their client’s long list of requirements. They review thousands of resumes each week searching for candidates – so how do you get their attention?
1. Don’t rely on advertised jobs.
Are you wasting your time by only applying to advertised jobs as your job hunt strategy? Recruiters only advertise about 30% of jobs they are working on. Typically they will have a shortlist already vetted from their own networks within 2-3 days of working on a new role. Advertising jobs is more of a data grab and increases their market presence. You have to be an absolute stand out to get noticed amidst 200-500 applications.
2. Find a Specialist Recruiter
There are thousands of recruiters out there so how do you know who is the right one?
Use your networks, ask colleagues and hiring managers you might know who they have worked with before? It’s easy to research recruiters on online job boards by reviewing who recruits the type of roles you want as well as the industries you want to work in. You don’t want a “generalist” (someone who recruits everything as they have even less time!). Select 5 specialist recruiters and cross reference their details on professional social networks and company websites. Narrow your top 3 down to anyone who has been working in the same role with the same Recruitment Agency for more than 2 years.
3. Update your resume
It takes less than 10 seconds for a Recruiter to decide if they are going to reject or contact you. They have very limited time so your resume has to be relevant to them. A lot of people rely on cover letters to explain their career history but Recruiters don’t read them – they don’t have time. Your resume is your first impression so don’t make it easy for them to reject you – spend time updating it so it clearly outlines your skills and work experience. No pictures, use one clear font and use an easy to read resume template.
4. Respect their process
Don’t make your first contact a phone call to schedule in an interview. Recruiters will always want to see your resume first. Send in your updated resume in word and pdf versions with a brief introduction in the email outlining what you are looking for and don’t include any restrictions like hours or locations. Follow up 24-48 hours later with a phone call to ask if they have received your resume (they will look for it on the phone) and ask them professionally if they are the right Recruiter to represent you. This is when your actual “interview” starts so treat them like you are speaking to a potential employer. If they respond they can help you, find out what their registration process is and follow it to ensure an interview. If not, ask them who they would recommend.
5. Impress at interview
Recruiters interview up to 10 candidates a week and they can’t help everyone they meet.
Preparation is key. Prepare a list of organizations you’d like to work for, dress appropriately, don’t arrive more than 10 minutes early or over share during your interview. Make sure you are nice to the receptionist!
A Recruiter’s day is planned down to the minute and they will generally schedule an hour to conduct your interview. The first 40 minutes is reviewing your skills and work history and the last 20 minutes is for career planning. Don’t be defensive and be succinct when responding to questions. Be open and honest and Recruiters will know how to best use your information provided to potential employers. Don’t be afraid to ask them again if they can help you.
6. Make it easy for them to work with you
The Career Planning section of your interview is critical to your success. They will brief you on potential roles and this is the time to discuss your prepared list of companies. Good Recruiters don’t wait for jobs to come to them but will happily speak to companies to create opportunities. Having an action plan makes it easier for them to represent you. Not many people do this so it will definitely make you stand out.
7. Communication is key
Agree on a communication plan post interview. Recruiters have set times in their weekly schedules to speak to clients and candidates so ask them when the best time is for you to call them and commit to contacting them fortnightly for updates.
8. Get them to work for you faster
If you really want them to work hard for you, be open and honest about which other Recruiter’s you are working with or are about to meet. Recruiters are competitive by nature so they will work faster for you if they know their competitors might find you a role before they do.
9. Control your information
Keep records of every job application. Working with 2-3 Recruiters is important however you also need to be aware of potential conflicts. You need to advise them if you’ve already applied directly to a job or if another Recruiter has submitted your details on your behalf. Companies that receive your application by more than one Agency would rather dismiss your application than battle it out with the Agencies involved. On the flip side, don’t openly disclose where your resume has been submitted. Savvy Recruiters will use any application details you provide them as an opportunity to approach that company and increase your competition by submitting additional candidates.
A Recruiter’s recommendation to a potential employer is vital to their success. They will work with candidates who also represent them in the best possible way. Make it easy for the Recruiter by following these guidelines and not only will you get their attention, but they will go the extra mile to find your next role.