Warner Professional Sales Resources

Useful articles authored by Marie Warner, links to recommended interviewing, job search and selling skills articles, sites and other references.

Working with a Professional Recruiter

If you are looking for a new position, perhaps these statements sound familiar:

“I sent my resume to a dozen recruiters, and not one called me back.”

“Headhunters are relentless when I’m not looking for a new job, and can’t be bothered with me when I need them.”

“I want to change the industry I work in. No recruiter seems to be able to help me.”

Do these comments resonate with you? Some of the job-seekers I encounter (I am a professional recruiter for sales and sales management) have expressed frustration with search firms and recruiters, feeling that recruiters are non-responsive, ruthless (the “headhunter” label is not all that flattering) and lack any urgency in helping a candidate find a new job.

Working with a Professional Recruiter can be a great way – and it is just one way – to find a new career opportunity, and at the best pay. How can you, the candidate, make the most of working with a recruiter?

The recruiter-candidate relationship is mutually supportive, with each party contributing to a successful interaction. To utilize it the fullest, a candidate has to understand the process – and most importantly - their role in that process.

Let’s begin with a realistic understanding of what a recruiter can and cannot do to help you in your job search.

Who is the Customer?

Recruiters, whether paid a retainer to introduce a number of candidates or paid a fee only when a referral is hired, work for the hiring company – not the job-seeker. Strong relationships with superior candidates are critical to the success of any recruiter. However, the simple fact is that a recruiter is paid to deliver a service to their client – and that client is the hiring company. A recruiter screens candidates according to the requirements specified by the employer, and should refer only top qualified candidates.

What does this mean for you, the job-seeker? If your qualifications and experience match those of a Recruiter’s current search engagement, that recruiter should be interested in speaking with you, and advancing you through the interview process. If a recruiter’s “niche” is a market in which you have had experience and success, that recruiter should also be interested in engaging with you. However, that initial interest will be to become briefly acquainted, with the intent to add your resume to their database of candidate contacts – for future possible jobs. Unfortunately, this does not mean that recruiter can materialize a potential job opportunity for you now.

This helps explain why many recruiters do not respond to resumes sent from candidates. You may be a stellar sales talent – but not a fit for their search engagements and a match to the qualifications set by their clients. This is not a rejection – just a “not now.” That recruiter is looking for a Picasso and you are a Rembrandt! I encourage candidates to remember that the Professional Recruiter is a proxy for the hiring company. My advice is to engage professionally with the Recruiter, and if no “matching” search is ongoing, plan to follow-up every several weeks or monthly. A brief contact by email or phone will keep your name in front of a recruiter.

And if you are not looking to change jobs now – remember you may be in the future. Building relationships with Professional Recruiters you respect, and who work with clients in your market, can help you when you are in the job market or hiring your own staff. Any good relationship is two-way. Even if you are not in the job market now, you can help the Recruiter and professional colleagues by referring talented individuals to the Recruiter you respect.