Using a Recruiter: Tips for Getting the Best Results

Many people have misconceptions about using a staffing firm or recruiter to aid them in their quest for the perfect career. Sometimes these misconceptions prevent people from taking advantage of a staffing firm or recruiter. Let’s get one thing clear: The firm and/or recruiter’s job is to find you a job and help companies fill positions. It’s a win-win for companies and you, the potential employee.

When you decide to put the misconceptions aside and work with a recruiter, there are a few things you should know before diving in. First, recruiters are professionals at reading people. They have to be; the success of their company lies in them finding the perfect match. That being said, a recruiter is going to analyze your attitude right off the bat. When you first meet your recruiter, be professional, courteous and make eye contact; in short: be yourself (but the best you can be). Be open, answer their questions and show them that you are the ideal candidate for a position they are trying to fill. Treat this as you would an interview with a company because IT IS.

When answering questions from the recruiter, be as specific as you can be. Let them know the tasks you handled at your previous job, even some of the more mundane ones. Play yourself up while still being honest; sell yourself. Opening up your work history and tasks you’ve managed plays an important role in the recruiter assessing your abilities. You may not think that a certain, everyday task you handled previously is important to the job you’re applying for, but it could very well be.

While the relationship with your recruiter should be maintained as a professional relationship, also realize that they are there to help you. Ask them any questions you have regarding the process, hiring companies, etc. Follow up with your recruiter on a regular basis to keep yourself fresh in his mind (not that he will forget you, but this also helps your recruiter keep your details in the forefront).

Working with a recruiter can be an excellent way to find your dream position. The recruiters know where the jobs are, and they are often privy to jobs that aren’t posted elsewhere. In today’s world, networking and making contacts can go much further than what’s listed on your resume, and the recruiter is a great contact to have on your side.

Employers Care About More Than Competence

This post was originally posted on Career Rocketeer and written by Harry Urschel.

There have been multiple articles written in recent years about how younger job seekers too often act very poorly in the networking, interviewing, and hiring process.

There are ample stories of…

  • Taking phone calls during an interview
  • Speaking far too casually with the interviewer
  • Texting during a meeting
  • Presenting resumes full of typos and grammatical errors
  • Dressing far to casually or inappropriately in other ways
  • Having an attitude of assuming they will automatically get the job
  • Little to no knowledge of the company or the position
  • Chewing gum, or candy, or bringing in their own beverage

And some stories that show a complete lack of understanding of the hiring process, like bringing a pet or a parent to the interview.

In many cases, the individual got the networking meeting or the interview in the first place because they have had relevant training or experience. On paper, they seem to have the qualifications and a great degree of competence related to the job opening at hand.

And yet… they don’t get the job because other factors completely disqualify them!

While certain technical skills for a position are critical… employers don’t often hire the most technically qualified person. Rather, they hire the person that offers the best all-around package!

They are looking for someone that…

  • Has at least a certain baseline of necessary skills
  • Can represent the company and/or department competently and professionally to other around them
  • Can communicate effectively and professionally
  • Understands and can demonstrate appropriateness in a variety of situations
  • Understands the objectives of the company and will contribute

An employer is looking for someone that will be able to accomplish the required work and solve problems. They are not looking for someone to fill a slot for the benefit of that individual.

That perspective is often THE deciding factor between two ‘competent’ candidates. The person that takes the process seriously, shows appropriate respect and professionalism, and demonstrates a desire to contribute will get the job!

Simply because a resume shows someone has the most relevant experience, does not mean they will be the one selected. Employers care about more than competence!

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Harry Urschel has over 20 years experience as a technology recruiter in Minnesota. He currently operates as e-Executives, writes a blog for Job Seekers called The Wise Job Search, and can be found on Twitter as @eExecutives.

What’s Your Personal Brand?

We often equate branding with large companies like Coca-Cola and Apple, but branding is essential on every level from the employee, the team, to the bigger picture of the corporation. When it comes to your personal brand, it’s important you have clearly defined what it is you want to portray to job seekers and future companies.

Not sure where to start? Think about these things.

1. What’s the story you want people to know about you when it comes to your career? Have you climbed the corporate ladder the traditional way, being sure never to miss a step—or have you had some other strategy with super star ideas? Once you define your personal story, you can begin to create your brand in more depth.

2. If you had to pick three words to describe your personality and working-style, what would those words be? Now, once you know those words, go and review everything that represents you and ask yourself if those three words can be felt through what you’ve put in front of someone. Check your LinkedIn, references, resume and even your personal appearance when you show up to a meeting.

3. Next, it’s time to look at the evidence that supports your personal branding story and “feel.” Do you have proof to back up what it is that you want to portray or are you trying to create an image of what you think people want to see from you? If you have the evidence, create a portfolio – even if it’s just for yourself, so you don’t forget. If you lack the evidence, begin to create it. Take on an extra assignment, enroll in additional coursework or find another way to coincide your brand with your actions.

Make a statement about yourself and your career by being clear about what you want to portray. But what you portray isn’t everything, it’s also got to be accurate!

What other tips would you share on creating a personal brand? What are you doing to create yours?