#30 - Recruiter AMA (Pt 1)
You asked, I answered...
Welcome to Issue #30 of Jobseeking is Hard!
Over the weekend, I announced that this issue would be a “recruiter AMA” and that you could ask me anything about recruiters/recruiting. There were *a lot* of questions submitted, so I’m breaking this into 2 parts to try and cover all of the topics. Many questions were similar, so I’ve paraphrased a few of these.
I saw a TikTok saying recruiters won't take you seriously if you don't stay in jobs for 3 years. Curious to hear your take on this. I didn't stay in my jobs for 3 years. Am I going to h*ll now?
I don’t know if that person was a recruiter, but you don’t need to stay in your role for 3 years for recruiters to take you seriously. In fact, I don’t know many industries where people stay 3+ years in the same role. Granted, some recruiters might be biased against super-short stints at positions and might question why you were at a job for less than a year, but 3+ years seems very out of touch and not understanding the current hiring market. I don’t see many recruiters rejecting you for that, so don’t worry about it.
Why do recruiters seem to not actually read your profile before sending you InMails about job opportunities? I get so many messages for jobs where the recruiter says, "It seems your experience would be a great fit," or something to that effect, when the role they describe has NOTHING to do with my experience. It seems they send the message keyed off one word or a very broad industry match instead of my actual work history.
You answered your own question. You matched *something* in the keyword search. Sure, the recruiter could've actually read your profile and then decided if you were, in fact, a match for the role, but that would take a little more time.
It's a lot easier to send a gazillion messages and hope something sticks. This is why the bar for recruiter outreach is so low…if someone actually reads your profile or takes the extra second to address you by name instead of "Hi," it makes a great first impression.
That's why I say don't even bother responding to recruiters who waste your time. Work with those who care about their reputation. They're the ones who make great partners in the job search.
With so many layoffs lately and so many that have had long tenures at companies starting over, I would like to know how best to work with recruiters. Do they represent employers now, or does it make sense to sign up with a recruiter as a job searcher? And if so, do you sign up with multiple?
That’s a good point. Many people are currently finding themselves in an employment market that’s vastly different than the last time they actively looked for a job. I’m admittedly biased as a recruiter, but I feel working with a recruiter is a wonderful way to find a new job.
Internal recruiters recruit for openings within the company they work for. When companies have difficulty finding candidates, or have a confidential job search, they utilize external recruiters. So when looking for a job, connect with an external recruiter/recruiting firm specializing in your industry. A quick keyword search on LinkedIn, such as “Recruiter + [industry]” should get you on the right path. When looking at 2nd-degree connections, vet the recruiter by asking your mutual connection how they know them and what it was like to work with them.
You *could* sign up with multiple recruiters, but try to limit it to 3 or so. You want to build good working relationships and know where your resume is being submitted at all times (which is why you always want to require your permission before submission).
Premium subscribers! I've made a checklist you can use to help choose a recruiter. You can find it below in the Premium content!
This may be a tough one because each person is different. But why do so many recruiters ghost? I've had 5 or 6 reach out to me, promise lots of amazing positions, and then disappear, not even replying when I reach out to follow up.
I get not answering emails from strangers, but someone YOU wanted to work with?
Frustrating for sure. They do this for a couple of reasons:
1) They are fishing for resumes/candidates to build a pipeline. No job is really active, but it’s always good to be prepared. Some external recruiters do this when business is slow or they are looking for new candidates to market to try and generate new job orders.
2) They sent out mass messages and decided to work with those who responded first.
3) They reviewed your resume and decided the hiring manager wouldn’t like you.
4) They actually submitted your resume to the hiring manager and the hiring manager rejected you.
5) They forgot about you (it happens).
Then they move on.
Basically, it’s to save time.
What, if any, are common things that will scare off a recruiter?
Not all recruiters have biases, but when biases *do* exist, here are the most common:
1) "Too many" jobs. They don't want to refill the role because you didn't work out.
2) Relocation/multiple locations. You are seen as a flight risk, and they will have to refill the job (even for remote jobs, as there are tax/compliance issues based on location).
3) "Too much" experience. If looking for a job title below your recent job titles, they feel you are just looking for a paycheck until you find the job you're looking for, i.e., the higher job title.
4) Temping/consulting. They might think, "If the candidate is good, why can't they get a full-time role?"
5) Unsure about work status. Some companies aren't open to sponsoring employees, and some recruiters assume you might need sponsorship.
6) Pivots/industry changing. Some companies aren't pivot-friendly, whether it be hiring manager preference, ramp-up speed, or lack of training available.
Remember, most recruiters don’t share these views, but odds are you’ve encountered biases in your job searches.
When finding candidates, do you find the best and present them or do you present a few candidates and let the client decide?
The recruiter’s job is to present the best candidates to the hiring manager. They exist to vet the candidates and present the best available to the hiring manager for consideration. That’s usually the top few, not just one, so the hiring manager can gauge what is out there candidate-wise and either pursue the submitted candidates or recalibrate the search to find different candidates.
There is an urban legend that some recruiters will present their ideal candidate and two others to make their candidate look better. Any truth to this?
I'm not saying this is prevalent, but it exists primarily in external recruiting. If an external recruiter has difficulty finding candidates that match the hiring manager's criteria, some will submit that "good" candidate that they found along with a few others the recruiter knows isn't a fit, hoping to convince the hiring manager to proceed with the ideal candidate.
Again, not all external recruiters do this. In fact, most don't. But it happens.
Why do external recruiters ask for references, especially those who ask before submitting you to their clients?
1) Due diligence. Recruiters want to ensure you won’t embarrass them when submitting to the client.
2) Leads. External recruiters will ask for peer references to try and network with them, eventually landing them as candidates. They will ask for supervisory references to try and land them as candidates AND hiring clients.
3) Speed. Recruiters might check your references at the beginning of the process with their client, or at least have reference contact info on file, so when the hiring manager wants to make an offer, the recruiter doesn’t have to wait for you to get back to them with the info.
Why do I get SO many requests to connect with recruiters that don't even recruit in my industry?
Easy…the larger the network, the greater the reach of their posts. It’s probably a formulaic approach to growing their network, sending invites to people who’ve commented on things, or reaching out to 2nd-degree connections, all hoping to have a more extensive reach. Plus, in this social network-dominated employment market, having more connections and followers makes a recruiter look more important, and optics matter. Who wouldn’t want a well-connected recruiter?
Does a recruiter approach a new client with a proposed candidate and a contract? What does that initial contact look like?
Cover letter, resume (with name removed), contract to be signed and returned????
That’s a good question I take for granted since I’ve recruited for so long.
For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume you are speaking about contingent recruiters and not an RPO.
In terms of client outreach, there are different client contacts depending on the organization’s structure:
Full-Desk Contingent Recruiters (those who work both the client side AND the candidate side).
Account Managers (those who work for a contingent recruiting firm and only deal with clients).
Contingent recruiting firms generally develop business in 3 ways:
First, they network (cold call/email/message) with internal recruiters or hiring managers, so that when those companies have a recruiting need, they reach out to the recruiter. They typically then negotiate the fee and refund policy, sign the agreement, and then recruit/submit candidates for that role.
Second, they look at job postings and then reach out to the company to promote their services, negotiate terms, sign a contract, and then recruit/submit candidates.
Third, they market a candidate, meaning they can either 1) Remove the contact and company info (any identifying info thanks to LinkedIn) and submit a candidate’s resume as a sales tactic to get the job order or 2) Look at a job posting and contact the company saying they have candidates that match the opening, ask if they would be interested in reviewing the resumes, and then get a signed agreement before submitting.
Some recruiters will say they have people, get the signed contract, and then have to proceed to actually find candidates because they lied.
Stay tuned for Pt 2 next issue, and if you have a question you want answered about recruiters, send an email to [email protected] and I’ll try to fit it in.
STUPID INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
I was applying for a job, and the owner of the company phone screened me...they asked me my astrological sign?!! She wanted to make sure I would be a good fit working with her.
In an interview, if a hiring manager asks you what sign you are, say “dollar.” Go capitalism!
OMG I just had to write an acrostic poem with my name for a part-time community role. 😮🤔
I would’ve written one that spelled out
Want to share your stupid interview questions? Reply or email [email protected]
I received an interview call out of the blue from a recruiter for my first post-graduation position. As any rational person would, I panicked and barricaded myself in the closet to answer.
She asked a variety of questions in a typical manner. And, with my anxiety, after responding to each question, I held the phone an arms-length away from my face to calm/block out my panicked breathing. I thought I had done well in masking my interview anxiety. Oh boy, was I wrong!
At the time, I was not aware that the little white box on the iPhone (wired) earbuds included something other than simple volume control buttons: a microphone. So, I realized days after the call that my mid-question hyperventilating was actually going right into the microphone, amplified in all its glory for this poor recruiter's ears. What a mortifying realization! Needless to say, I did not receive that position; however, I now have an amusing story to share.
Thanks for sharing and let us all learn from that mistake 😅
If there's a jobseeking horror story you’d like to share, reply or email [email protected]
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Pretty exciting that the newsletter was featured in a recent Inc. article:
Looks like I’m doing a good job prepping you for interviews because the author is telling companies to pay attention to these top questions. Go check it out!
This week, I'm answering a premium subscriber's questions whether they’re being too cynical in their job search, and if following-up really makes a difference.
And don’t forget about that checklist to qualify recruiters!
Keep on scrolling to read more!
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Jobseekers, have a great rest of your week, and good luck with those applications!
PS! I have a tiny ask- If you're enjoying the newsletter, let people know! Feel free to forward it, post it on social, tag me, whatever...the bigger the discussion, the better! The idea is to help as many people as possible!
About Adam- Recognized as a leading voice on hiring and workplace trends, Adam has been recruiting and providing career advice since 2003, developing high-trust relationships based on honesty with companies and jobseekers. A highly sought-after speaker, he has appeared in numerous outlets, including Bloomberg News, Business Insider, LinkedIn, and CNNMoney. For more info on Adam or Karpiak Consulting, click here.
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