I love my friends; they are good people. However I am beginning to believe that I need to avoid talking about what I do as a profession. When you are in the recruiting industry, the people you socialize with believe you have this unlimited number of jobs for the taking. Almost like you have a job tree in your back yard with a plethora of jobs to pick from.
There is a specific truth that is very self-evident in the recruiting industry, that candidates need to be aware of:
Recruiters are loyal to those that pay their bills.
It may be blunt, but it is true. Whether you are an external or corporate recruiter, your success (and paycheck) is judged on how well you fill your openings. Success in recruiting is not judged on how well you find jobs for your friends or family. What I mean by this is I have to find a candidate for my opening; I cannot be your personal job agent.
When it comes to finding a job through a recruiter, you have to be strategic about it. You should look at recruiting the same way you would the medical profession. If you met an orthodontist at a party you wouldn’t ask them to look at a problem you are having with your foot; that’s not their specialty. If you know I specialize in software programming recruiting… what makes you think I will have a number of admin jobs available? It’s not my specialty and I will not be of much good use to you.
I am not writing this to discourage those who are friends with recruiters. If you know a recruiter in your life you must be strategic with that relationship. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Know what you want
I can’t tell you the number of times a friend has told me they want out of their current job, only to not have a clear defined idea of the type of job they are looking for. How do you expect me to help you when you have no clue what you are looking for yourself? Would you expect a doctor to diagnose you without you telling them first what is wrong with you?
Don’t ask a recruiter to find you a job, ask them for their network
Any recruiter who has been in the industry for many years has probably built a solid network and you should be taking advantage of this. For example: a friend of mine was recently looking for a Human Resources role. I let them know I haven’t placed an HR professional since 2009, so I won’t be much of good use. However I have a connection who specializes in hiring HR roles. So I introduced the two to each other. That is how you should be handling your recruiter relationships. “I know you may not be able to get me a job; however do you know someone who specializes in placing my skill sets?” This is a much more effective question than “I know you place software programmers, so do you have an HR job?”
So the next time I tell you what I do for a living, please don’t hound me to find you a job. While I am a good-hearted person and want to help out, it doesn’t benefit anyone if our goals do not align.