headhunter

7 Essential Facts About Job Hunting Today

iStockphoto.com |  monkeybusinessimages

iStockphoto.com | monkeybusinessimages

 

Looking for a job, or considering making a career change? The process is complicated and frustrating, and has only grown more-so over the years. If you're looking to rise above the pack, you'll want to understand these seven essential facts about job hunting today.

  1. Job Hunting is a Learned Skill. Have you been contacted by a recruiter for a job opportunity? If so, consider yourself lucky since there are many hurdles you need to overcome in order to get noticed by a recruiter or a hiring manager. It's important to learn about the nuances of job boards (i.e., Monster, CareerBuilder, Indeed, Glassdoor, and many others), applicant tracking systems, the social networking platform LinkedIn, and other online job resources so that you can rise above the massive stacks of resumes companies received. There's a lot more to it than submitting your resume and hoping for the best ("posting and praying"). The composition of your resume, your application strategy, and your followup are all factors.
     
  2. So is Interviewing. A job interview is like a dance; you need to have all the right moves if you want to avoid stepping on your own foot. Your answers need to be practiced, tight, and natural. You'll need good, meaningful responses to behavioral questions, chock full of examples of how you overcame adversity to drive results. And then there's the social niceties and protocols. Hiring managers need convincing that you're a good person to spend time with, and that you'll make a positive impact. Going in cold can be dangerous. Practicing pays dividends – master the strategies that improve your chances.
     
  3. Being Professional on LinkedIn Matters. A lot. Companies pay big bucks for recruiter licenses to see everyone in LinkedIn. Recruiters comb the system looking for passive candidates to fill their open jobs. Even if you're not actively looking you might still get a call. A polished, complete profile full of detail substantially increases your chances of getting noticed. An incomplete or sloppy LinkedIn profile, with a lousy profile picture can be toxic. Although it can be pricey, a LinkedIn Premium subscription can pay dividends during the search.
     
  4. The Bigger the Job, the Longer the Search. If you're a CFO, for example, you should expect your job search to be considerably longer than a staff accountant by a factor of 4. Of course considerations of market demand and personal skill sets factor into the equation, but as a rule there are fewer executive than line jobs. And companies usually take longer to make decisions on higher level positions due to the organizational impact and cost. If you're an executive-level job seeker hunker down, strategize your approach (hint: it's mostly networking), and use the time wisely.
     
  5. Getting Passed Over Because Your Resume is Missing an Essential Skill? You Can Fix it Fast. Let's say you're a sales professional with ten years of rock-solid sales experience;  you're hitting a roadblock because you've used lots of CRM systems but have never used the Salesforce CRM which seems to appear in every job description these days. Training has never been more accessible or affordable – why not take an online course on Salesforce and add the training to your resume under your "Education" section? This way, you'll improve your odds of making it through the ATS or recruiter. Mind you, you'll need to be transparent with the hiring manager about your depth of experience, and an online course is absolutely no substitute for a specialized degree or certification. But if you're most of the way there, it can help quite a bit.
     
  6. Age Discrimination is a Real Factor. It’s illegal, and it’s regrettable. And employers miss out on many highly qualified candidates if they consider age as a factor in the hiring decision. Many employers will unwittingly (or wittingly) value younger, impressionable, and energetic employees whom they can mold to their liking rather than proven experience. And age discrimination isn't reserved for senior citizens, either – if you're over 40 years of age it could already be a problem. Learn and master strategies to cope with and overcome age bias, and know your rights.
     
  7. Recruiters (i.e., Headhunters) Work for Employers. Not for You. One of the most frequent questions I get as a career coach is, "How can I hire a recruiter to find me a job?" While developing relationships with agency recruiters can be valuable to your job search, you usually can't hire one. Recruiters are hired by companies to find talent for their difficult-to-fill job openings. And these companies pay handsomely for these services, an amount in the neighborhood of 25% of the first year salary of the person they hire. Or more. That said, a strong relationship with a recruiter can pay dividends.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.

How Can I Hire A Recruiter To Find Me A Job?

FYI - They prefer to be called "Recruiters." / iStockphoto.com (keport)

FYI - They prefer to be called "Recruiters." / iStockphoto.com (keport)

One of the most frequent questions I get as a career coach is, "How can I hire a recruiter to find me a job?"

While developing relationships with agency recruiters, also known as headhunters, can be valuable to your job search, you usually can't hire one. Recruiters are hired by companies to find talent for their difficult-to-fill job openings.

In other words, employers pay recruiters to hunt down talent, screen candidates, and present the best qualified individuals to hiring managers and human resources staff. And these companies pay handsomely for these services, an amount in the neighborhood of 25% of the first year salary of the person they hire.

Or more, depending on the complexity of the search, or the level of the role they're looking to fill. A retained search firm hired to find a C-level executive often charges in the neighborhood of 33% of the candidate's first year total compensation (plus expenses). Let's say the search firm places a CEO with a base salary of $400K and a projected bonus of $100K for total $500K in cash compensation. At 33%, they're set to receive a check for a cool $165K for their services. It's not hard to figure out where the recruiter's loyalty lies.

That said, relationships with recruiters are a critical part of the job hunter's toolbox. A good recruiter with an established practice may have connections – and access – to potential employers. And many hiring managers are willing to take a plugged-in recruiter's calls for a couple reasons - they present good candidates, and they may have job opportunities for the hiring manager in the future.

Want to get the most out of your job search by working with recruiters? Here are eight strategies to keep in mind as you build relationships with recruiters.

  1. Be smart about which recruiters you contact. Do your research - agency recruiters typically focus on particular disciplines or areas. If you're looking for a job in the finance arena, focus on getting to know recruiters who who place finance staff – a connection with an IT recruiter, for example, may be great in terms of helping you understand the general job market or making a periodic connection, but you'll be an outlier rather than their core audience. And you'll be taking up valuable time the recruiter could otherwise be using to place candidates in their area of specialty.
     
  2. Approach the recruiter with tact and diplomacy. Handle your initial contact with respect. Be professional - send your resume with a brief, well-written cover note explaining why you're contacting them, and the value you can add to their practice. Keep in mind, they are under no obligation to work with you, much less find you a job.
     
  3. If the recruiter calls you, go through the screening process. The recruiter will want to evaluate your skills to see if you're going to be a fit for any openings they're currently working or for any future potential opportunities. Don't be offended, they're doing their job. And don't hesitate to ask if you think you're a fit with the types of roles they fit. Who knows - your skills may be quite in demand. By the way, headhunting is a fast-paced business, so don't be offended if the call is brief and direct.
     
  4. Be responsive. If you've made it this far, and the recruiter reaches out to you again in the future, it means that you're on their radar. Reply promptly to any emails or calls, or you'll miss out on being considered for potential opportunities. Take too long to respond and you'll be labeled as unreliable, and shuffled to the back of their candidate list.
     
  5. Be straightforward with the recruiter about your situation. Keep in mind that candidates are their inventory, and they reflect the recruiter's ability to present quality, reliable talent. If you've got an offer on the table or in the works, tell them. Share your target salary range. And tell the recruiter if you've already applied to a company for which they're considering submitting you, either directly or through another recruiter. They're going to present you to an employer with this criteria. And be consistent - surprises kill deals, and if you tell an employer a different salary range than you told the recruiter, for example, you will be persona non grata.
     
  6. Be valuable to remain front of mind. Recruiters are taught that everybody they contact will be either a A) Potential Client; B) Potential Candidate; or C) Potential Referral Source. It's not unusual for somebody to be all three at different times in the relationship. Ask what kind of jobs the recruiter is working on, or what kind of candidates they are working with. Even if you're not a candidate at this moment, if you can provide some potential leads on either of the other two categories, then the smart recruiter will remember that you did them a solid to help put money in their pocket.
     
  7. Feel free to work with more than one recruiter. Some recruiters have exclusive relationships with companies, so you may need to reach out to multiple individuals to be sure that you capture more potential opportunities out there in the market. But working with too many recruiters may dilute your brand;  2, maybe 3 agencies, are ideal.
     
  8. Most recruiters call when there is a meaningful update. If an appropriate amount of time has passed and you would like an update, call or email the recruiter. You should expect timely responses - if they don't get back to you, it may send you a message as to how relevant your application is to their workflow.

Kevin Suksi, Vice President and Cofounder of Orion Solutions Group, a full-service staffing and human capital firm, contributed to this article.


Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.