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In 2013, hiring is becoming more of an art form rather than a run-of-the-mill activity performed by an HR Rep. There are metrics that determine what makes a viable candidate, a team of personalities who will be a part of the decision making process and more tests than you ever took in High School Geometry just to determine if you are the right employee for them. For every one job being advertised, there are close to hundreds of candidates who are fighting for that same spot and while you may think you are the perfect fit for that position, those other applicants have the same opinion. Although your resume may be ideal, it’s hard to tell the difference when it’s sitting in the middle of a pile a mile long. You need something to set yourself aside; something that puts you in front of that hiring manager and says “Here I am, when do I start?” Having a recruiter who has direct access to that hiring manager is the key. Below I highlight 6 reasons why working with a recruiter will put you at the head of the class:
1) Direct contact with hiring manager:
Recruiters spend days, if not weeks, working to build relationships with the person who will ultimately decide the fate of your future employment. Recruiters devote that time to learning what not only makes someone a good fit technically but also culturally and by the time your first phone call with a recruiter is over, you already know if you are one step closer to being that company’s next employee.
2) They know the ins and outs of the job description:
When you are reviewing a job description what are you doing first? Identifying if you match with the bullet points being advertised. You read the first seven bullet points and you think “well I match 5 of the 7 so I should be perfect!” What if what you didn’t know was that the two you don’t match are the two that are the most important to the hiring manager, and without it they won’t consider you? The Recruiter knows that. A good recruiter will know what areas of the job description are most important and which ones are secondary. By knowing this ahead of time you automatically can get yourself to the front of the line.
3) Provide career advice:
The recruiter’s job is to interact with thousands of job seekers a year. Recruiting is much like a batting average in baseball. Unfortunately success is determined by failing more than winning. They know what a bad interview looks like, and how it can be prevented. If you are an average job seeker chances are you are only interviewing a few times a year. Which means you only get a few shots at getting things right. Working with the recruiter allows you a chance to learn from others mistakes. If you can spend even 10 minutes with a recruiter finding out what makes a job applicant attractive to hiring managers, it can save you hours of wasted interviewing time.
4) Up-front honesty:
Unfortunately the true fact is that companies do not want to tell you why you are not a fit for them. They would like to have you believe “there was a better applicant”. And while that may be true, that still begs the question: what made them better? More experience? Better aptitude to do the job? Would they accept a lower salary? Hiring managers aren’t afraid to tell recruiters these answers because they know they do not have to tell the applicant themselves. So, as such, there is no fear of backlash by sharing this information with a recruiter. On the flipside the recruiter is not afraid to tell the applicant this information because ultimately they are not the ones who feel this way, it comes from someone else. When you are working with a recruiter you can get the black and white truth, no matter how harmful it may be.
5) Interview preparation:
To go back to point 3, the average job seeker is no expert at interviewing – at least you probably should not be (if you have job security). The recruiter, on the other hand, is. They know if the hiring manager prefers someone who dresses down, shows up 15 minutes early or has a firm handshake. These things are important in this day and age. Personally, I have had a candidate be declined a VP of Human Resources job because they did not send a proper thank you note. If you are interviewing on your own, how are you supposed to know that? Working with the recruiter allows you to know what will set you apart from the rest of the applicants. Maybe this hiring manager will only hire a team player, and while the candidate before you was unaware of that you walked in prepared to talk all about how you were part of a 10 person team that had to work together, and you brought examples to prove it.
6) Resume assistance:
Whilst you may be an excellent writer, unfortunately you cannot have 15 different versions of your resume on hand to fit every job you apply for. And if you are like most professionals you have acquired a multitude of different skill sets throughout your career. Although it would be nice to label all of it, there just isn’t enough room. The recruiter knows what is most important to that hiring manager and what they look for first on a resume and they will ensure that the first thing the hiring manager reads is the same things that he/she is looking for.
Ultimately working with a recruiter will get you closer to that dream job you’ve been trying to land more than you could think, by separating yourself from the herd. Knowing what a hiring manager wants to see on a resume and what will set you apart once you land that interview will put you that much closer to acing the test. But don’t just work with the first recruiter who calls. Understand their market, clients and industry. If you are an IT Director looking for that executive level position it makes no sense working with the Financial Recruiter who specializes in tax accountants. The recruiter/ candidate relationship should be one of understanding what the two of you can do for one another. After all, this is your life were talking about.