Lately, I’ve been focused on telling job seekers all the things they do that make recruiters crazy. i.e. how your resume makes them cringe, and how you’re probably sending the worst cover letter ever. Harsh, I know. But, I can’t stand to see hard-working job seekers failing miserably. There’s nothing worse than finding out, in spite your best intentions, you’ve been doing something all wrong. Sadly, for many people in the hunt for a new job, that’s the case.
Recruiters’ jobs stink right now. Here’s why:
Today, I’m going to show you three things that make recruiters fall in love with you. First, you need to understand how tough recruiters’ jobs are. Yes, I said tough. Recruiters are told to go out and find dozens of candidates for open jobs. Hiring managers naively think top talent grows on trees. Recruiters are also expected to find candidates that meet every single requirement on the hiring manager’s long list of desired skills and abilities. And, the hiring manager usually wants to save money and pay a lower salary too. Finding these candidates is so hard and pressure-filled, the recruiting industry has a name for it: purple squirrel hunting. That’s because getting the perfect candidate is like finding a purple squirrel = impossible!
Here’s another way to look at it…
Imagine trying to find a needle in a haystack against a time clock, while your boss stood over you and gave you a frustrated look of disappointment because he or she couldn’t finish their job without the needle. They don’t offer you any help. The boss just brow-beats you. Now, you know what it’s like to be a recruiter.
With that in mind, I’m going to share three things you can do to make a recruiter’s life easier, and ultimately, get them to like you. Which (hopefully!), will get them to contact you.
You ready? Okay, here we go!
Tip #1 – Stop the ‘Yell & Sell’ personal branding.
Personal branding is an important part of any job seeker’s strategy. However, too many people are taking an over-the-top approach to building their personal brand. They’ve got the ‘Yell & Sell’ mentality. This is where you over-brand yourself by using lots of fancy terms to emphasize how wonderful a candidate you are. The reality is, recruiters find it nauseating. They just want the facts. They’ll decide if you are a, “hard-working, organized self-starter with excellent communications skills and incredibly detail-oriented.” See how cheesy does that line sound? It screams, “Pick me! I want your attention! I’m great! Look at me!” I know that’s not what you were going for, but that’s how you’re coming across. The solution? Simplify all personal branding text so recruiters can skim it and assess you without feeling like you are trying to put one over on them.
Tip #2 – Don’t send snarky follow-up emails.
When waiting to hear back from a recruiter about an interview or job offer, days can feel like years. One of the most common questions asked by job seekers inside the CareerHMO career improvement platform is, “How soon can I follow up with the recruiter?” The answer is five business days. You need to wait one full week before you contact them. (BONUS Tip: Never, ever contact them on a Monday. That’s their most stressful day. If your fifth day falls on a Monday, wait until Tuesday!) Then, you should reach out to them by email and send a polite note asking if there is anything you can do to further your candidacy. This is where you need to be VERY careful. In your frustration of not hearing back, you might phrase your email in a way that comes off wrong to recruiter. Remember, they are slammed right now. A week to them feels like a day. So, when you send an email that says, “I haven’t heard from you, so I thought I’d check in and see if you still had any interest in me or if I’m out?” you sound like you are criticizing how they are doing their job. They don’t work for you, so don’t act like their boss. I don’t care how frustrated you are. The recruiter is your customer and you need to be extra nice.
Tip #3 – Offer to help them find candidates (other than you!).
This tip is, by far, the most important. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: your network is your net worth. Thanks to social media and online networking, we have the ability to expand our connections and influence. When we use our social currency to connect others, we become ‘super-connectors’ – a very powerful professional ally. Offering to help a recruiter find candidates that fit their job openings is an incredible way of earning their trust and respect. Think of it this way: they know hundreds of other recruiters. If you selflessly help them find the right candidate for one of their jobs, they’ll be more likely to help you connect with a recruiter who has a job you’re a fit for. How do you do this? Reach out to recruiters and ask them if they’d like any introductions to your network. You could even search and suggest a few people you know and see if they think they are a fit. In short, let the recruiter know you’re willing to help them. Even if they don’t take you up on your offer, you’ll stand out because NOBODY else is trying to help them find purple squirrels right now. Your kindness will be remembered.
Approaching job search from the recruiter’s point of view is a smart tactic that can help you connect better with them.
I encourage you to try the tips above.
I know a lot of recruiters who would appreciate it!
J.T. O’Donnell is the Chief Executive Officer at CAREEREALISM, a top-3 career blog with 2,300,000+ monthly pageviews, 1,000,000+ visitors/month, 1,500,000+ social media followers, and 100,000+ daily email subscribers. In addition to being an Influencer on LinkedIn with 1.1 million followers, J.T. writes a column for INC Magazine and has contributed several pieces to Executive Vine. Here’s where you can follow her on Twitter.