Recruiters Are Not “Employment Superheroes”

Sadly, this basic concept seems to have eluded many job seekers out there. I’m not sure how it started exactly, but somewhere along the way many candidates began to lump recruiters and headhunters into the same category as social workers, believing that simply out of their own generosity they tirelessly look for just the right job to suit each candidate.

In other words, they are “employment superheroes,” out there doing the work for you.

Now don’t get me wrong…there are many kind-hearted recruiters out there who do care very much about candidates and who would like to see them achieve their goals.

But that’s not what the recruiter is there for…solving all your job search woes.

It’s pretty simple. A recruiter, typically, will only be looking for candidates who fit with the types of positions he or she is being paid to recruit for (or will be paid for if a suitable candidate can be found).

If you don’t fit with what the recruiter needs, then he or she can’t help you. The recruiter might keep your info on file and contact you if anything does come up, but basically it is time to move on.

I’m not sure why this relationship then becomes so complex for many job seekers. Instead they hang on every word the recruiter says. “He told me he would call me in a couple weeks.” “She said my resume doesn’t have enough business development in it.”

They can’t seem to capture the code words here for “I don’t have anything right now.” It’s kind of like the “let’s just be friends” speech so often given at the end of a dating relationship.

Instead of getting the message, the job seeker runs off to their resume writer screaming, “why did you short-change me on business development?” (Never mind that they are looking for a technical job.)

I also find that once many job seekers begin talking to recruiters, they stop putting much effort into their job search. Instead they play the waiting game. (It’s kind of like the job posting boards, where the resumes go in, never to be heard from again. Yet everyone keeps posting anyway and then waiting for something to happen.)

I’m not saying recruiters won’t contact you, but again, only if they have a specific position for which you are suited that happens to come across their desk, not because they are staying up at night worrying about finding a position for you.

This point is very important, especially now when position openings are few and job searches are taking longer and longer. So don’t just talk with one or two recruiters; talk with several. And find ones that work in your field or industry.

But whatever you do, diversify your job search approach. Networking! Group Job Hunting! Every year they consistently rank the highest in effectiveness for job seekers, and every year I have to spend hours convincing candidates of the benefits. Instead I hear, “I just know this recruiter is going to come through for me!” Ah, the employment superheroes…

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