As a job seeker, your success depends on so much more than your merit. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just out of Residency or Fellowship, you need somebody on your side who’s not going to waste your time with jobs that aren’t right for you. This is where having the right recruiter comes in – not just any recruiter. But one that can cut through the noise and help you get to where you want to be. 

A good recruitment process works two ways at once:

  • 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 provides a direct avenue to multiple, (sometimes unadvertised), opportunities, inside information on the position, the real 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

Always remember that a recruiter’s livelihood depends on you taking the job. Also consider that in today’s market, recruiters are inundated with other talented people, and need to determine quickly whether you’re going to be a good fit. So your actions can make all the difference between landing a job or not. Some recruiters are not competent or are too busy to give feedback. So here’s your 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 but don’t be a wall-flower either: do follow up, show you want their help, 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- the one who shows they want it!
  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, ask insightful, even challenging questions, and then 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 a high volume of candidates for a single job. 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 you really have what it takes to stand out. 

A high-touch approach is much more personalized, aimed at first understanding your real aspirations and preferences. 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.

In case you’re wondering, we are a high-touch agency- both for you and our clients.

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. Thus 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. 

So ask if the recruiter is working on retainer or contingency. We do both.

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 it about my professional that feeds my sense of purpose? 
  3. What would my career look like if I could have most of what I want?

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 you

If you are at a crossroads with your career choices, are in a transitional phase or hoping to launch yourself 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.