Thoughts from a Frontline Recruiter

Forbes recently wrote an Article by Dawn Graham entitled Here’s Why Career Switchers have a huge advantage in this job market. I believe it’s a fairly accurate article on “the new normal” of today’s job search. However, here are some thoughts from a front-line recruiter.

1. I don’t see clients underpaying… yet. My clients in the CPG industry that are currently hiring are not offering less due to the candidate flood. I have not yet seen the candidate flood at least not at the level I’m recruiting in my industry which is consumer products.

2. I do believe that getting caught in the “internet ozone” is highly possible no matter how good you are. If your keywords don’t match and you are just applying for a job online you will get lost. To stop this from happening make a relationship with a recruiter that specializes in your industry. And I don’t mean just any recruiter. They really do need to work in the industry in which you want a job or you’re wasting your time. There are some very good generalist recruiters but most specialize in one industry and can’t help a nurse if they work in manufacturing.

Recruiters have the ear of the hiring manager. They have created a relationship based on trust and expertise and can help the right candidate rise above the madness. If a recruiter reaches out to you on Linkedin, answer them even if you aren’t looking now. You never know when you may need them in the future and they could also have an opportunity that would be too good to pass up.

3. Most hiring managers are very savvy at making hiring decisions. The author states So yes, as a candidate you’ll be dealing with the whims of unconscious bias and mood swings.” And although this could be true I don’t see it. Many hiring managers have created a process that is used to eliminate candidates that are not fit for the position. They are sticking to the process and not recreating everything because they have more candidates. I also don’t see mood hiring OR panic hiring.. Yet.

4. “Referrals” work. This is the best way to get a job in today’s market. And yes recruiters recommending you to the hiring manager works equally as well if not better than recommendations from an employee.

A recruiter is a trained professional that was hired by the company to cut through all of the noise and get to the right skill set. I have often heard “I’m interviewing X candidate because they were a referral but I don’t believe they have the skill set so please send me more candidates”.

“That number increased to 91% if the referral originated from a director-level employee or above.” Yes, I agree with this. If you have a relationship with a Director in a company that has openings USE that relationship. Don’t be shy. NOW is the time to call in those markers!

5. NOW is NOT the time to switch industries. I spoke with a top-level executive yesterday seeking a career change who mentioned he may be interested in making a change to another industry. I’ll give you the same advice I gave him NOT TODAY. In this industry, companies will be looking for a proven candidate who can help them kick start their company back to the levels they were prior to Covid 19. I’m not saying to squash that dream. I’m simply saying to put it in a drawer and pull it out at a later date. They will not want to train you today; they don’t have time for that.

6. ATS systems ARE your enemy. Applying online can be maddening. You will get lost.

Corporate recruiters are often working 40+ jobs at the same time on a national basis and can only spend a limited amount of time on each position so they may only get to the candidates who applied most recently.

If you think that applying first on a job is great… it’s not necessarily true. Most recruiters start at the top of the list and go down. The top is often the candidates who applied today, not the ones who applied first. That is just a hard truth. These recruiters try HARD to make sure they get to everyone but sometimes that is just not possible.

 Recruiters who work for an executive search firm often only work on 8 to 12 jobs at a time. You will be more visible working with an agency recruiter. However! And this is a big However. When cash is tight… like now… Companies put pressure on the corporate recruiter to find talent because they don’t want to spend money on external fees. So what should you do and who should you connect with to get seen?

 I know it’s really confusing but the answer is BOTH. Create relationships with recruiters… Corporate AND Agency. If the company “won’t pay a fee” you have the corporate recruiter. If you get lost in the “internet ozone” you have the Agency recruiter. You won’t know where you stand so just answer the call of the recruiter, connect live with them on Linkedin. Be friendly and sell your skillset even if you aren’t looking. The recruiter is your friend, the ATS is NOT.

7. “Fair or unfair, the internet is oversaturated with candidates, and even companies who engage these online hiring strategies have learned that the best hires come from trusted resources.” TRUE although the internet is ALWAYS oversaturated with candidates and the best hires ALWAYS come from trusted resources. YES, recruiters are trusted resources in most cases or the companies wouldn’t use them.

This was a thoughtful article and has some great advice, however, as a front-line recruiter my personal feelings are apparently a little different. I don’t believe you should switch industries today. I do believe you should create strong relationships with internal AND external recruiters. I do believe that you should answer the call of the recruiters that reach out, whether or not you are looking, to build a relationship that may benefit you in the future. I believe that sending your information to just any and all recruiters is a waste of your time and the recruiters’ time. I do believe that if you have a friend or acquaintance working for a company USE that relationship especially if they are Director level or above. Call in those markers and rise to the top.

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