What Recruiters Really Want

Most of our clients work with executive recruiters in their job searches, either exclusively or as part of a broader job search. Unfortunately, most job seekers don’t understand how executive recruiters work and what they want in a resume. Let’s go over a few things so you will be ready to work with recruiters.

Recruiters don’t work for you. The most common assumption that job seekers make is that recruiters receive a resume and go out and find a job to fit that resume. That’s totally wrong. Recruiters don’t work for the job seeker; they work for the employer. They are given jobs for which they have to find candidates, usually just one candidate. The recruiter is paid by the employer when the candidate they submit is hired. No hire, no money for the recruiter; therefore, recruiters have to be very discriminating in their sourcing of good candidates.

Recruiters look only for the best or the unusual. Companies can hire average workers themselves but when they need a really top-notch candidate or a candidate with a very unusual skill set (recruiters call such candidate “purple squirrels”), they hire an executive recruiter to find that candidate. If you are average or mediocre in your profession, most recruiters won’t have any interest in you. If you are a top-performer or have hard-to-find skills, recruiters may be calling YOU instead of the other way around.

Recruiters follow the money. Many professionals have recruiters with whom they have worked for the last three or four job searches. Since most people change jobs every three to four years, recruiters like to stay in touch with the top performers whom they have placed before. When the employee gets ready to change jobs again, the recruiter wants to be the one to make the placement. Some recruiters place the same candidate several times throughout a career. Recruiters also network extensively to find out who is the best in the industry and then try to recruit them for a different employer. If you have a reputation in your industry as a top performer, you will probably get calls from recruiters.

Recruiters work with higher salaried positions. Because they get paid a percentage of the figure of the new hire’s first year’s salary, recruiters don’t waste time filling lower salaried positions. They can do the same amount of work placing higher salaried candidates and make more money.

Recruiters don’t always have a position for you. Because they seek candidates to fill the positions rather than the other way around, recruiters may not always have a position that you fit at the time that you contact them. The recruiter will put you into his resume database and then if a position comes to him to be filled, he will search his database first for viable candidates. Job seekers get upset that they get a “thanks, we’ll keep your resume on file” message most of the time from recruiters. That’s the way recruiters work. The recruiter isn’t ignoring you or being disrespectful, he is just doing his job. It’s important to play the numbers game with recruiters. The more recruiters to whom you send your resume, the greater the chance you will find one who is currently sourcing for a position that you fit.

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