This column is the first of a three-part that will explore what recruiters want from job seekers. If you're in transition or think you ever will be, make sure you read all three. Courtesy Weddle's Newsletter.
Recruiters. From a job seeker's perspective, they are a strange tribe. But maybe they aren't as weird as they might at first seem. Maybe there are good and important reasons why they do what they do. This column is the first of a three-part that will explore what recruiters want from job seekers. If you're in transition or think you ever will be, make sure you read all three.
For many job seekers, recruiters are a strange breed lacking most or all of the traits job seekers associate with their own peers in the workplace. Recruiters seem to have a very different set of priorities and often to act in ways that simply don't make sense to those who operate in line units. The first step in understanding what recruiters want from job seekers, therefore, is to gain an accurate picture of how recruiters work and why. Let's do that by examining the complaints that job seekers typically voice about recruiters.
Job seekers, often complain about how long it takes for a recruiter to select even the first round of qualified candidates for an opening let alone the one person who will actually be offered the job. It is true that an open position can remain that way for weeks, sometimes months and even occasionally a year or more. For job seekers, the situation can be exasperating and even demoralizing. But, there are at least three reasons why such delays happen.
Job seekers often complain that recruiters don't seem to have any knowledge of their field or a good understanding of what's involved in doing a certain kind of job. There's also a reason for that.
Finally, job seekers also complain about the lack of flexibility among recruiters, but there's a reason for that too. You see, recruiters are typically evaluated on how well they serve their customers. Those customers are the hiring managers who have the openings in their units. In fact, in many organizations, hiring managers actually fill out a customer satisfaction survey each time a recruiter works on one of their openings.
While there are clearly exceptions, many hiring managers are not especially articulate when it comes to describing what kind of person they are looking to hire for an opening. They often don't devote much time to developing a detailed position description so the recruiter has to follow up and try to pin down the specific requirements for a candidate and then determine which of those requirements are essential and which are nice to have. In effect, the recruiter tries to create a template against which they can then measure the qualifications of various candidates.
Because the recruiter is not expert in the field for which they are recruiting, they lack the understanding that would enable them to deviate from those stated requirements. They do not have the background or expertise to say, "Well the candidate doesn't have this specified skill, but they do have this other one which more than compensates for what they are missing so let's keep them under consideration." In effect, recruiters look for people who best match the hiring manager's stated requirements - that template they created - not because they are inflexible, but because they believe that's how they best please their customer, the hiring manager.
There's no denying that recruiters often seem to take illogical steps or engage in inefficient behavior during the recruiting process. Just as often, however, there are good reasons for the way they work. The key to success, therefore, is not to fight or get frustrated by their practices and procedures, but rather to accommodate and, if possible, leverage them to your own benefit.
Reprinted with permission from WEDDLE’s LLC. Peter Weddle is the author or editor of more than two dozen books, including "The Career Activist Republic, Work Strong: Your Personal Career Fitness System," and WEDDLE’s 2011/12 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet. Order them at Amazon.com.