Even if you think you’ve got the best resume money can buy and your network rocks the professional world, you may not always find yourself getting your next job through a referral or professional contact. When you find that the job you want is being represented through an internal or external recruiter, how do you penetrate the iron curtain and get past this recruitment gatekeeper? Knowing how to leverage your assets, connections and skills is one thing, but how do you establish a connection with someone you don’t even know?
Recruiters are hired for one purpose only and that is to weed out those over-zealous candidates from those that might be considered a “perfect fit.” Keep in mind the recruiter has to please the client and to make sure that they are addressing the client’s needs and wants in the best way possible by presenting the very best “short-list” of qualified candidates. Client is defined here as the employer or hiring manager. It might seem like an easy task, but when the market is flooded with good people all vying for the same job, the recruiter’s task has just become that much more challenging.
If you find yourself one of those qualified candidates in front of a recruiter trying to get a leg up on the competition, here are a few ways you can actually have the recruiter help you move ahead through the process:
- First Impressions Count: You may be meeting the recruiter for the first time but making sure you are on time, dressed appropriately and prepared by doing your research on the recruiter and the company is a good sign you will make a good first impression when you have no prior connection to the recruiter who is tasked with filling the job you want.
- Following Up By Not Being a Pest: Good follow up skills are important in any job search but there is a fine line between checking in for updates and becoming a pest. The recruiter has a list of priorities to get through and other candidates to meet. If you have passed the first test and are going on to round #2 (in person meeting), then sit back and let the process unfold naturally. A good recruiter will keep you in the loop as to next steps throughout the process and let you know if you are advancing to the semi-finals.
- Don’t Try So Hard: Looking to please is a nice habit for your elderly relative but when it comes to looking for a job nothing screams “desperate” more than someone who is trying to compliment their way through an interview. Being overly “nice” does not win you any points because anyone astute enough can see through this tactic and in the end you do not win any extra points for trying to kiss up and through the interview process.
- Don’t Send Gifts: In the same category as being “too nice” sending inappropriate “thank you” gifts to a recruiter will not earn you any points or move you up further in the queue for consideration. Keep bribery out of the job search equation at all times!
- Be Considerate: Acting as if you want the job is important and you do that by asking the recruiter really good questions about the company, the people, the culture and the environment. Assuming that you already have all the answers and rather wait to speak with the “employer” makes you come off as arrogant and thoughtless. And remember to always circle back for feedback with the recruiter along the way even if you don’t wind up getting the job. Use this as a learning process to help you the next time you may be up for a job represented through a recruiter.
In the end the recruiter is your friend and ally in your job search and should be respected and treated as such. Trying to bypass the process by cutting the recruiter out or going behind the recruiter’s back is a sure sign that you will not make it to the first cut of candidates presented to the employer. Some recruiters have a bad reputation when it comes to dealing with the candidates and that is too bad for the rest of those who try hard to make a difference and to help both sides in a winning proposition. Don’t forget the recruiter is there to help move the process to a successful conclusion even if you are ultimately not the one who is offered the job by the employer.
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