I have spoken with literally 100’s and 100’s of industry leading recruiters, and so decided compile some of the top tips from the best recruiters I have spoken with, to help propel your career.
How to Find a Job Recruiter and Get Hired: 8 Hot Tips from the Experts.
Finding a new job isn’t always easy these days. Although unemployment has gone back down from its post-2008 peak, it’s still a tough market, especially depending on the industry you’re in.
The good news is that the market is shifting in favor of candidates right now. 62% of employers perceive the market as being in job seekers’ favor right now, and 42% of employers report being actively concerned about there being a talent shortage.
That puts you at a major advantage, especially if your skill set is in high demand.
Hopefully, you do have a job right now. But even if you have one, it never hurts to keep your options open and look for other, potentially more lucrative positions for which you might be qualified (note to the wayward employer: according to recent statistics, a good 89% of people who are already employed would consider leaving their current job if they got a better offer somewhere else)
So what else makes finding a job so competitive? Let’s look at the stats now, or check our infographic here.
- The number of active job seekers in America has doubled since 2005
- The average job opening attracts 250 applications
- Only 2% of applicants will be called for an interview for the average job opening.
- More than 50% of applications are eliminated by Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)
- 42% of job seekers use job boards to find a new job, but only 14.9% of new hires are made from job board candidates
Finding a job recruiter is your best bet, particularly as a passive candidate.
This article will give you a comprehensive overview of what job recruiters do, how to find a recruiter who works with people in your profession or industry, and how to maximize your chances of finding the perfect new job through them.
What will you learn?
What Recruiters Do
Before figuring out how to find a recruiter or headhunter who’s a good fit for you, it helps to understand a little more about what exactly it is that they do.
A recruiter’s job is to match qualified applicants with open job positions within companies. They also work with candidates to do things like refine their resumes to make themselves more appealing to potential employers.
A good recruiter is more than just a headhunter though.
According to Matthew Caldwell, the Head of Talent at eCommerce app Instacart: “A good recruiting process focuses and aligns recruiters to deliver the best to the organization. Ultimately, recruiting really should be viewed as a business partner, someone who is critical to the success of a business.”
There are actually a few different kinds of recruiters:
- Staffing recruiters. Staffing recruiters are the most common kind of recruiter or headhunter you’ll run into during your job search. They focus on matching companies to employees both on the basis of people’s skill sets and experience, and in terms of culture fit. They often work as independent recruiters or consultants which is why we have separated them from staffing agency recruiters below, though this is not always the case.
- Staffing agency recruiters. These headhunters work for staffing agencies, which help companies find full time, part time, and temp workers. You may hear from staffing agency recruiters if you’ve posted your resume on sites like LinkedIn and Indeed, which is where they find many of their leads. Staffing agency recruiters focus on a broad variety of work, including permanent hires, contract hires or temporary hires.
- Outplacement recruiters. Often employed by staffing agencies, these job recruiters work specifically with people who have lost their previous job due to corporate downsizing or other scenario that has resulted in the loss of their current employment. Some large companies will hire outplacement recruiters prior to implementing layoffs, to help former employees who are now displaced.
- Contingency recruiters. These headhunters typically work on multiple assignments simultaneously, within their niche area of expertise. They are not retained or have an exclusive arrangement with a client. Due to this they typically work on a larger volume of employer vacancies than an exclusive or retained recruiter or headhunter. Contingency recruiters are also called staffing recruiters and job recruiters.
- Retained recruiters. These employment recruiters generally focus on filling high level C-suite, or critical positions within midsize to large companies. Many recruiters will choose to only work on a retained assignment, as this typically means being paid in one half or one third up front and then further instalments at confirmation of shortlist and placement.
- Headhunters. Often a headhunter is another term for simply for a staffing recruiter, staffing agency recruiter or a retained recruiter. However, in a traditional sense, headhunters are typically involved in confidential, strategic executive search assignments. Headhunters are highly skilled in persuasion, negotiation and also the identification of key executive staff, often targeted by a competitor.
- Startup Recruiters. These recruiters specialise in working with startups, typically that are private equity or venture capital backed and currently in a rapid growth trajectory. Startup Recruiters are experts at identifying and securing key talent for early stage companies.
In some cases, recruiters will reach out to you proactively. This is especially true in some professions, like web development and software engineering. However, it can also be a good idea to seek them out yourself.
Recruiters are often in a unique position to introduce you directly to the hiring manager, expediting the hiring process as well as being aware of opportunities that are not necessarily being advertised on job boards.
Here are some helpful tips for finding the best job recruiters near you.
1. Use these resources to start proactively reaching out to recruiters in your industry.
Not sure how to find a headhunter? There are directories and other resources you can use to seek them out.
- Online recruiter directories. Directories can point you in the right direction, however they do tend to have limited information and certainly do not provide any guidance on who is or who is not a good recruiter, a very common problem. It is very important to work with a recruiter with a great reputation. They aggregate listings of recruiting professionals, and you can search and filter by industry and by location. You’ll be able to find each recruiter’s contact information here, or have the option to contact them via the website. Recruiterly.com is the comprehensive option to find, review and connect with your industries leading recruiters. Simply type the type of recruiter, job or industry you are looking for and you will be able to find proven experts.
- A simple Google search for “recruiters near me” or “job recruiters near me” or “recruiters in Texas” (replace with your location) can pull up people in your geographic location.
- Recruiters tend to use LinkedIn quite heavily to connect with candidates. If you don’t have a profile on the site yet, making one can greatly increase your chances of finding recruiters. Consider the LinkedIn Sales Navigator for more detailed searches.
- Ask around in your network. You can also try asking colleagues if they recommend anyone in particular, as well as posing these kinds of questions in forums and subreddits related to your profession.
2. Understand what recruiters look for in job candidates.
As you can probably imagine, the specific things recruiters look for can depend on what job they’re trying to fill. They’re often looking for specific skills or experience. For example, they may be working with a company that needs a programmer who can work with a particular programming language, or has experience developing a particular type of software.
With that said, there are also certain traits and “soft skills” that they almost always look for, regardless of the job or the industry.
- A forward-thinking career plan and long term career goals. Recruiters often favor candidates who have a clear idea of where they want to be five or ten years down the line, and who express an interest in pursuing a future with a particular company. One way you can show this is with further education, studies and even by taking online courses relevant toyour career path to learn new skills that might benefit you in the future, and communicating this information in your resume and LinkedIn profile.
- This is surprisingly important. A recruiter wants to find someone who genuinely wants the job, and may even be outright excited about it. Show enthusiasm.
- Asking questions shows that you’re interested and engaged. Importantly, when they ask you at the end of the interview “is there anything else you would like to know, or mention” make sure you do indeed ask some additional questions. This is your opportunity to cement your suitability to the recruiter with a closing statement or discussion.
- Honesty is important to employment recruiters. Don’t mask or obscure things on your resume, or when you’re interviewing with the recruiter.
- Culture fit. This one’s pretty variable, but different companies have different corporate cultures. Headhunters will be assessing whether you’d be a fit for a particular business’s culture. Take the opportunity early on to ask the recruiter to explain the company culture to you, so you can identify if it is also a good fit for you.
3. Make yourself available and appealing to recruiters who might be interested in contacting you.
Recruiters regularly seek out people with the skills they’re looking for on a company’s behalf, then reach out to them. It’s a good idea to tweak your resume and your LinkedIn profile to include things that appeal to headhunters.
Again, LinkedIn is something you definitely want to have. You don’t have to be super active, or publish articles on LinkedIn, or anything like that. But, you do want to have an up to date profile that stands out.
Here’s what you can do on LinkedIn to start getting more calls from headhunters.
- Craft a professional headline. LinkedIn will autofill this field by default, but it’s better to create it yourself.
- Make sure your name and profile are fully searchable. This means including your full legal name. Nicknames or maiden names can be included in parentheses, or omitted entirely.
- Consider expanding the location you have listed on your profile. If you live in a major city like New York or Chicago, you may not need to worry about this. But if you live and work in a smaller town, you can make yourself available to a higher number of recruiters by listing your location as a broader region. If you live in an outer suburb of a city, you may want to list that city as your location. Otherwise, recruiters may assume you’re unwilling to commute there for work.
- Arrange your skill list strategically. Figure out what your top ten skills are, and list them more or less in order of priority. You want the most important things to show first when someone’s looking at your profile. You can also research which of your skills are the most in-demand right now.
- Ask supervisors and colleagues for endorsements and recommendations. LinkedIn lets you “endorse” a skill on someone’s profile. Having endorsements of your own adds legitimacy to your skill list and strengthens your appeal for headhunters. Endorsements are not always held in high regard, so double down on your appeal to recruiters by asking colleagues, supervisors, subordinates and even your clients to recommend you.
4. Screen recruiters before working with them.
There are thousands and thousands of recruiters out there, but not all of them are equally skilled or effective. Many of them have commission structures that incentivize them to go for quantity over quality, meaning they may try to connect you with a job you don’t want.
You always want to work only with the best recruiters. Your industries best job recruiters have unique insight and access to the key hiring decision makers, deep networks within your industry and are often aware of opportunities that are not advertised online. Expert recruiters spend their entire recruiting life networking with their industries top employers and top candidates, making matches that propel organisations and careers. You want to make sure you are working with your industries expert recruiter.
To filter out the chaff, you should screen recruiters that contact you before moving forward with them. The best way to do this, is to search for or find the recruiter you are talking with on Recruiterly.com. Review their content, ratings and reviews and feedback as well as their placement history and expertise analytics to decide if they are the right fit for you.
Once you have found the perfect recruiter, we recommend you get in touch and sell yourself as an top candidate in your industry, that they should be working with.
Other strategies that will help you to filter out bad recruiters from the best:
- Ask strategic, industry specific questions that only an expert, well networked an informed job recruiter will know the answers too.
- After a positive conversation, set the recruiter a basic task – such as followign up with you, or calling you back on a set time. If they meet this then they are likely well organised, respectful of your time and want to work with you.
- Ask questions about the opportunity, and the company. What is the culture like? What is the hiring manager like? Why is this position now vacant? A recruiter with deep knowledge of the hiring company will be able to answer these questions easily.
5. Ask the right questions.
Asking questions can help you vet a recruiter and see whether they really have your best interests in mind, or whether they’re just trying to fill a quota.
Here are some of the questions you can and should ask them.
- Do you have a specific job in mind for me? The answer you’re looking for is “yes.” If they’re just trying to fill a quota with a particular number of candidates, they may contact you without anything specific in mind. A good recruiter should only be reaching out if you’re a fit for something specific.
- Where is the job located? This is another question they should be able to answer. Be wary if it’s not in your area.
- What’s the salary range for this position? It’s not uncommon for people with in-demand skills sets to hear from recruiters offering jobs that simply aren’t in the salary range they’re looking for.
- Could you give me a general outline of the role? If the recruiter legitimately has you in mind for a particular job position, they should know enough about it to fill you in on what it entails.
- How long has the position been open? If a job’s been open for a year or more, that’s a red flag that either no one wants the job, or the company’s hiring manager is unnecessarily picky.
These are all great questions to ask the recruiter. They can help you make sure you’re not wasting your time with someone who sees you as just another number in a quota.
6. Avoid asking the wrong questions.
It’s just as important to avoid asking the wrong questions as it is to make sure you are taking time to prepare and ask a headhunter questions.
Some questions we are shocked to hear have been asked include:
- Is this going to take long?
- How much more will they pay me?
- Will the employer need to do a background check on me?
- Will the employer check me qualifications?
7. Don’t submit your resume to every single recruiter you come across.
Not all recruiters will be a good fit for your skill set and career goals. Rather than focusing on reaching out to a high quantity of recruiters, you’re better off being more selective, and focusing on recruiters with whom it makes sense to cultivate an ongoing professional relationship.
Recruiters dedicate themselves to candidates who work with them exclusively. Often job seekers believe working with multiple recruiters will provide more career opportunities. Often, the inverse is actually the truth. An expert recruiter will immediately know the best fit for you, or will spend countless hours and days working to find an opportunity that will be attractive for you.
If your recruiter becomes aware you are working with multiple other recruiters, they are very likely to stop working for you, and only talk with you if an opportunities comes to them, rather than working hard to find you, your next career move.
Take the time to vet the perfect recruiter for you, tell them you will only work with them and that you are looking for a long term relationship over your entire career. Then trust them to get on with the job of finding you an awesome new career opportunity.
8. Send thank you notes, both to recruiters, and to companies with which you’ve interviewed through them.
Sending a thank you note to a recruiter or company is a small gesture that can have a really big impact. It shows that you’re engaged, enthusiastic, and interested. It also helps you stand out from other applicants.
Believe it or not, only 25% of people send a thank you note after an interview. Doing so can keep you at the top of a hiring manager’s mind, increasing the likelihood that you’ll get the job. We’ve written about the thank you note in detail in the past – it’s a surprisingly powerful gesture for getting you to the next step on an interview process.
Great Recruiters Can Help You Find the Job You’ve Always Wanted
It’s not always easy to find great job openings, and a skilled professional job recruiter can help you connect with companies that are hiring someone with your experience and skill set.
A recruiter can be a valuable partner, both for job seekers and for the companies that hire them. By being proactive and seeking out headhunters that work with people in your profession, as well as making sure your LinkedIn and your resume are appealing to recruiters, you can give yourself a leg up in your job search.