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What Recruiters Don’t Tell You – But Should!

As a job seeker, your success depends on so much more than your own merit. Whether you’re qualified with an established track record or just out of college, you need somebody on your side that’s not going to waste your time and put you in front of jobs that aren’t right for you. This is where having the right recruiter comes in – not just any recruiter, headhunter or ‘search professional’, but one that can cut through the chaff and get you where you want to be. 

A good recruitment process works two ways: for the client, the recruiter offers a list of qualified, pre-screened candidates, greatly simplifying the on-boarding process. For candidates, the right search team can provide a direct avenue to multiple (sometimes unadvertised) opportunities, inside information on the position, the compensation package and the company’s culture. 

Ultimately, you need to find a recruiter who is a good match for your career growth goals.

How Recruiters Think

Consider that a recruiter’s livelihood depends on your placement. Consider also that in today’s market, recruiters are inundated with talent, and need to determine as quickly as possible whether you are going to be a good fit. Your actions, whether written, verbal or nonverbal, can make the difference between landing a job or it being passed on to another candidate. Since some recruiters forget or are too busy to give feedback on such issues, here’s a quick checklist for the all-important first phase to ensure you get past the hurdles and on to the good stuff:

  1. Respond quickly: your first contact is a test of how interested you are, so by all means, don’t hesitate if it feels right. 
  2. Don’t be pushy: do follow up, but don’t call or email every day. If there is any news, a good recruiter will keep you posted. 
  3. Passion counts: given the choice between a seasoned yet jaded professional and a less experienced but more passionate individual, it’s usually an easy choice. 
  4. Be humble: being confident is one thing, but thinking you know more than the recruiter (or the interviewer) won’t get you anywhere. Listen first, find out what you can contribute, and sell yourself based on that. 

High volume or high touch?

Understanding a recruiter’s style will tell you a lot about whether they are a good fit for you. Some recruiters cast a wide net, pulling in high numbers of candidates in order to make a single hire. In this case, very few candidates make it to the point where they are receiving any quality time from the recruiter. It’s easy to get lost among the hordes, unless of course you really have what it takes to stand out. 

A high-touch approach is much more personalized, aimed at making the candidate feel appreciated for what they might bring to the organization and the relationship. High-touch represents an investment on the part of the recruiter, and indicates that they’re in it for the long haul. For positions in the $100K+ range, high-touch is really the only methodology to consider, but the reality is that most recruiters just don’t have that kind of time. High-touch doesn’t really kick in until you’re at the narrowest part of the recruiting funnel, and so for the vast majority of candidates, it’s somewhat of a myth. 

Contingency, retained or both? 

Recruiting services are basically one of two types: clients work with them either on a contingency basis, or on retainer. 

With a contingency, the client doesn’t pay unless there is a placement. So it’s in the recruiter’s best interests to place candidates quickly, as the competition is fierce, and they don’t get paid unless you are hired. 

On a retainer, the client pays an up-front fee. In this case, it’s assumed that the company will work closely with a client to match only the best candidates with the position. This doesn’t come cheap, either: at up to 35% of the first year’s salary, clients have to be confident in the search firm and that they have everyone’s best interests in mind. Retained searches are generally reserved for leadership or highly-competitive specialist vacancies. 

The retained recruiter takes their time, knowing that they have exclusivity. Since they are in it for the long haul, they may be more forthcoming about the particulars of the job, the offers and other details that will help you decide whether the company or position is right for you. 

The contingency recruiter will likely deliver more candidates to have a better chance of filling the position. However, this type of recruiter is often more pro-active, which is a quality that will definitely help you land where you want to be, and maybe a little faster. 

What is your ideal job?

For some, finding a job that fulfills an emotional need is more important than anything else, while for some, it’s all about the work. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What are the things I am passionate about?
  2. What is my purpose in life? 
  3. What would my career look like if I could have both 1 and 2?

Whatever you decide, this should always be a talking point with your recruiter. When you are both on the same page, you will have a better shot at getting what you need – and that is really the name of the game. 

How Polaris can help

If you are at a crossroads with your career choices, are in a transitional phase or hoping to launch yourself out of a rut and into your dream job, working with an experienced recruiter could make all the difference. Polaris Placement is in the business of making connections that make all the difference. 

We’d love to hear what you’ve got going on. So take that first step closer to where you want to be and drop us a line – because your dream job is out there, and we’d love to be the ones to put you in it.

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