Sell Yourself to a Recruiter!

Thursday, September 3, 2020

By: Gloria Schramm

I was recently privy to the inside scoop on how recruiters decide which candidates they send on interviews to client companies.

Recruiters aggressively seek out job seekers and employers and spend their careers matching both. They are salespeople, and in a sense, both company and candidate are the products.

But the nature of the industry is that recruiters work for companies, not job applicants. After all, the companies dictate what they want and ultimately, they are the ones who butter the recruiter’s bread.

One recruiter told me that surprisingly often, many job seekers do not make a good impression. Their resumes have typos and cover letters contain mistakes. Often, their applications are not filled out correctly and some cannot even write a grammatical sentence.

When I inquired as to whether or not a recruiter informs the applicant of the errors, I was told that the companies do not allow them to.

Apparently, recruiters are mandated to stick to certain rules made by the companies who commission them to find candidates. I did, however, learn that recruiters will lend a helping hand to candidates. The recruiter who spoke with me said she rewrote many candidates’ resumes – whether or not said candidates were appropriate for any of the current job openings or whether or not the candidates were able to be placed by the recruiter or even whether or not the recruiter had job listings appropriate for those candidates.

Oftentimes people are frustrated because they never get a response from the recruiter after an initial meeting. But sometimes it’s a matter of job seekers not understanding the “golden rules” of the job search, spelled out below.

  1. The relationship with a recruiter starts with the cover letter and resume you mail. They should be flawless and present your most professional image.
  2. Dress properly for the meeting as you would for a direct interview with an employer.
  3. Don’t be passive. It’s not a recruiter’s job to decipher what you are looking for or match you to what he/she thinks is right for your background—even if their agency specializes in a certain industry. You must know what type of position you’re looking for and communicate it to the recruiter.
  4. Make sure you do not come off as high-strung, sarcastic, overwrought or even too complacent. Go in being friendly, confident and serious. The recruiter is meeting you for the first time and can only go on first impressions.
  5. This is also not the forum in which to vent frustration or confess your weaknesses. Just as the recruiter has to sell his or herself to companies and other employers, you have to first sell yourself to the recruiter so that he/she can send you out on an interview.
  6. Recruiters do take an interest in their clients and will often be honest with them with regards to feedback – if they have that feedback from the company with which you interviewed. Some may not be forthcoming and not return phone calls just as companies very often do not let candidates know the outcome of a hiring decision, despite several repeat interviews for a position.
  7. Remember, too, that it is not always your fault if you didn’t get the job. There are so many variables involved that have nothing to do with you, the jobseeker. That is unfortunate and there is no law against rudeness. But also know that human resources representatives have to be cautious against lawsuits.

Job-hunting is hard work. No one wants to feel the unremitting pressure of being analyzed under a microscope and no one appreciates being left to dangle in midair or hear repeated rejection. But there are some things you can do to lessen the pain and increase your chances. At least you will know you have done your best and lessened the moments when you look back regrettably for a mistake you didn’t have to make and be less inclined to beat yourself up. That’s counter-productive and could prevent you from being your best when the right opportunity comes along.

Gloria is a retired career counselor now in private practice. She is also a playwright and equine volunteer at HorseAbility, a therapy center for disabled children and adults. She can be found on LinkedIn at: http://linkedin.com/in/gloriaschramm

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