Today, we are continuing our discussion on working with independent recruiters.
In our last installment, we talked about how to decide WHICH voice or email messages left by recruiters were worth responding to. To recap, you want the ones who identify themselves immediately as a recruiter, and the ones who leave a pertinently descriptive voice message, email, or LinkedIn message.
Now we’re going to discuss what to do (and not do) when you make contact.
So now you are communicating with a real live recruiter.. The one question you don’t need to bother asking first is “how did you get my name?” …If you are on the internet AT ALL, that’s how they got it…if the recruiter specializes in people just like you, they either found it by cold calling, or on a recommendation…the bottom line is, recruiters don’t like to give up their sources, and often the person who gave them your name and number wants to stay anonymous, so that’s why you’ll get an evasive answer.
It’s better to just accept the fact recruiters can find you, and try to take advantage of the fact they have done so.
Also, asking “who is the position with” as your second (or even first) question doesn’t help…we talked last time about how recruiters like to protect their job listings, so you probably won’t get an answer right away, without first having to answer a barrage of questions yourself.
Ask better questions, and take control of the conversation…ask the recruiter to tell you as much as he knows about the position. Ask for a written description if possible…it’s something you can study and evaluate on your own…It’s good to ask the recruiter how long they have been one, and what their specialties are…
It’s not likely they will be scientists like you, so you’ll have to be patient while they ask questions and tell you about the position…remember the order of operations – they don’t have your CV, so they must first get a broad idea about your qualifications and experience before they will ask for your CV or tell you who their client is… be prepared for basic layman questions, and be ready to explain what you do in layman terms.
Let’s say that there’s enough said so far that piques your interest, and there’s a good “connection” going on, so you go ahead and send the CV…this is where it gets tricky… If your CV doesn’t mention the job title or the experience that the recruiter needs to see, you can expect a call to clarify exactly where, when, and with whom that experience was gleaned.
For the good of all concerned, look at your CV before you send it out, and make sure it puts you at least in the ballpark of the given opportunity…If, for example, you are responding to a position that requires a specific set of experiences ( HINT: That is EVERY position you respond to), be sure to spell out how you match the position in the cover letter, and put them in the CV if they aren’t already there…what you want to avoid is sending the same vague vanilla CV to every recruiter who calls you…one size does not fit all, so don’t take the lazy way out…do some tailoring and make the effort to show that you read the position description.
At this point, the recruiter should tell you who his or her client is, without hesitation. This is where a lot of the prep work I advocate will pay off…you should already have squared away in your mind that you want to make a move, and you should have a good idea of what constitutes the type of opportunity you would move for.
Now, I want to stress something very important…when the recruiter tells you who the position is with, be honest and tell them if the company already has your CV or not, or if you have interviewed with them in the last year or two…recruiters can’t help you “try again” because companies don’t want to be involved in fee disputes, and for that matter, won’t even let recruiters present candidates they already are aware of. So be fair, and be forthcoming.
Be guided by this principle always:
At the Five O’Clock Club, we teach that the point of all job interviews is to exchange enough pertinent information with the hiring authorities, in order to justify going to the next step…working with a recruiter is no different…all you and the recruiter have to do is ask good questions, and give good answers, and you will keep going in the right direction.
Next time, we will talk about why those pesky recruiters always want to know how much money you make, and how to handle that question.
All The Best,
Thomas Patrick Chuna is a certified Five O’Clock Club job search coach.
The Five O’Clock Club is a nationally recognized outplacement firm with a proven job search methodology that helps job seekers get better jobs faster.
The Five O’Clock Club also provides affordable, humane outplacement services to companies who care about the well being of their employees.
Tom is also an experienced independent recruiter specializing in molecular oncology research scientists & MD’s.
Learn more: http://www.fiveoclockclub.com http://www.patrick-international.net