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How many times have you been called up by headhunters in the last 12 months? Did you ever ask how the recruiter got hold of your details? This article lists some of the most common ways recruiters find you.
When called up by a recruiter, most people are baffled and have no idea how they were identified. The curious amongst us have to ask in order to avoid sleepless nights. When prompted, the headhunters are likely to say that you were recommended by somebody who “wants to remain anonymous but rest assured, they have only good things to say about you”. This is however rarely the case. Giving referrals of current colleagues without their permission is risky business and most people avoid doing this. Therefore the recruiter has most likely employed craftier techniques to find you.
The 5 main methods recruiters employ to find you:
The obvious one, you send your resume out for a job you have seen posted on the recruiters website or a job board. The bad news is that in my 7 years experience of permanent recruitment, I rarely saw placements made from a direct application. Not sure whether this is because the wrong people apply or the recruiter not fully grasping what he or she is looking for.
Recruiters will have your details on file if you have ever sprayed your CV out for whatever jobs (very easily done as most postings on job boards are from agencies). You will be on their database, thanks to their CRM software they should have a pretty good idea of what you do/did. But your contact details are likely to be out of date so it can take some time for a recruiter to track you down.
3. Social Media
LinkedIn and other networking sites are veritable goldmines for headhunters. Before the advent of such sites, they had to map out companies by slowly extracting information from every person they spoke to. Nowadays, most of your colleagues will be listed and all it takes for an industrious recruiter is to pick up the phone. Remember that by putting your details on LinkedIn, you have told the world what you do and you are fair game for headhunters.
4. Employee lists
This happens less nowadays but still very useful for the resourceful recruiter. Sometimes a disgruntled former employee will offer a list of their colleagues, complete with mobile numbers, email and even home address details to the highest bidding recruitment agency. I have seen instances where entire teams have been ripped out of one company and put into another through the use of employee lists. If you are a manager (and you want to keep your team) you will want to ensure vital information like this is not readily available to download from your intranet.
5. Cover story
This method is used when all else fails. The recruiter will call in to your company, pretending to be a client or a colleague from a different office and asking for the person that does your job. The sharp headhunter will single out a ‘soft target’ such as the IT support guy or the canteen lady and lay on a cock and bull story as to why they need the information ASAP. Sometimes they get lucky but most of the time this will be a very time consuming exercise and may not lead to anything.
Don’t be offended by a recruiter using ‘creative’ ways to find the right people. This practice is after all highly appreciated by their clients (who needs somebody to do their dirty work) as the CVs offered will be very different to that of their direct applicants. Remember that any recruiter can sift through applications from a job advertisement but only a few are good enough to pro-actively sniff out the best people in the market.
I would recommend you stay close to this recruiter as he or she is likely to be just as pro-active working with companies – thus ensuring they have the best vacancies for candidates like yourself.
How did you get found?
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Very few kids dream of one day being on the phone all day pitching jobs to strangers. Yet a great deal of people have tried their hand at recruitment at some stage in their career. Most people actually stumbled upon recruitment by accident and were tempted by the gold and glory.
The good news is that it’s relatively easy to be given a chance in recruitment, firms experience a big churn of recruitment hopefuls every year and most rookies do not make it beyond the first year. This is one of the reasons recruiters sometimes have a less than great reputation, a lot of juniors fighting for the same business will inevitably lead to dodgy tactics.
Don’t let this scare you off though, if you have decent sales skills and willing to put the hard work in you could be handsomely remunerated. As for salary, the rule is that working for a small company means a low basic, high commission and no benefits to write home about. The reverse ratios, high basic salary and low commission, apply for large companies and the benefits tend to be generous. The lower basic salary means the smaller firms tend to be more aggressive in taking gambles on juniors, the risk is only as high as the basic is low.
6 skills required to make it in recruitment:
1. Salesy nature
Can you sell ice to an eskimo? There are no fewer than three sales cycles in one recruitment process; getting the vacancy from the client, getting the interest from the candidate and finally bringing them together and making a placement. The ability to present opportunities and candidates in the best light is critical to success; placements do not happen by themselves and sales skills are the most important key to success.
2. Match maker
Ever set up blind dates for friends? To be successful at recruitment you have to be a good matchmaker. You have to be solution oriented and understand your marketplace. You should have the ability to spot opportunities for making placements before the client, candidate and competitors have realized it.
3. Communication skills
Can you talk the hind legs off a donkey? You have to have great communication skills and speak with conviction when selling your services to clients and jobs to candidates. To be the tenth recruiter calling a client in one week is not a fantastic gig. It really requires you to stand out so that they take the time to hear you out. Your ability to create relationships with everyone in the market is crucial, just like in any service sales job.
Are you a constant happy camper? A positive attitude is required to get you through those dark days when neither client nor candidate seem to be biting your hooks. Do not be afraid of rejection, you will notice that for every Yes you will get five No. This is a numbers game and the pay offs will come through sheer hard work.
5. IT literate
Know how to use the format painter? A good recruiter is always tech savvy. The world of recruitment is run on computer software, the Interwebs is the main source of information. The successful recruiter has to be comfortable with candidate tracking systems, job boards, online networking platforms and other technology. Clients have very sophisticated search and portal systems nowadays; candidates are all over LinkedIn so it’s about being one step ahead.
6. A bit bonkers
Do you have a lot in common with Ralph Wiggum? Chasing people that don’t want to speak with you day out and day in does require some degree of madness, no matter how positive you stay. There might be cash to be made in recruitment but be under no illusions that it is little else than glorified telesales, as my old boss used to say. As long as you know it’s a ‘special’ job and accept it for what it is, you will be fine.
Do you think you have what it takes?
Next time you speak to a recruiter, ask them about their job and see if they have any vacancies. Even if recruitment is not your calling, a spell in this weird and wonderful world can do your career a world of good as it is so multifaceted and challenging. Have a go and see what you think. In case you don’t like it you can always use your new recruiting skills to land yourself a new job or start a blog about it like some folks do…
What skills you would like to add?
Image credit Vanjey Lego
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