Job seekers, help your recruiter help you

Posted 8/28/09

Navigating the job market is challenging for a lot of folks right now, no new news there right? The question on the minds of many is how to make that …

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Job seekers, help your recruiter help you


Navigating the job market is challenging for a lot of folks right now, no new news there right?

The question on the minds of many is how to make that navigation a little easier and more productive. Several readers have asked specifically about the best way to work with a recruiter during their job search or time of transition.

The first thing is to set realistic expectations when contacting a recruiter. It is important to understand that recruiters are stacked with resumes these days. So if they don’t respond immediately, don’t panic. Also, “Know what the recruiter specializes in” says Brad Gray of McAleer Gray, a top recruiting agency in Denver and added that “job seekers need to take the time to research the agency’s website, just as they would research a company that they were interested in working with.” This will help as some firms specialize in IT, Healthcare, Telecom, etc., so it is important to approach the recruiters that are most connected to your industry and potential employment prospects. Brad also suggests that you become aware of the arrangement that a particular recruiter may work under as retained firms offer a high degree of confidentiality and specificity while contingency based firms may shop your resume more widely.

Even if you are currently employed, the best thing to do is to make sure that you have a relationship with a top recruiter. This way in the event that something happens where you find yourself looking for work, you already have a solid contact. Judy Kennelley of Integrity Network Inc., has been an executive recruiter in Colorado for more than 20 years and offers this advice: “Even if you are employed and you receive a call from a recruiter, always take the call or return the call. You may not be in the market, but you could know someone that would be a good fit for that search. This will help build the beginning of a strong relationship that will help down the road if you need it.”

For those in the job seeker mode right now, Judy shared that “Job seekers sending cover letters and resumes into a recruiter need to keep the cover letter brief with a clear focused message.” She cited that too often she sees cover letters that try and explain the whole life story or go into too much detail about why or how they became available or unemployed. Because recruiters are so inundated with potential applicants, they can’t possible read and screen the longer cover letters and resumes.

The same concept here should be applied to reaching out to a recruiter. Send the resume and brief cover letter, follow up with a call and if you get voice mail, make sure your message is clear and concise not long winded. You can also follow up with an email and if no response, it is absolutely okay to follow up with a second voice mail message or call.

The other advice Judy provided was that applicants should offer to help the recruiter too. Meaning that if you make contact with a recruiter, also ask how you can help them in the event you are not the best fit for any openings they currently have. You can offer to introduce them to companies looking for a recruiter or to other talented, skilled, and motivated candidates in your network looking for employment.

And remember Zig Ziglar’s philosophy, “You can have everything in life that you want, as long as you help enough other people get what they want.”

Lastly, treat the recruiters with the same appreciation and respect that you would show any hiring manager from within a company you were interviewing with. Top recruiters like Judy Kennelly and Brad Gray as well as others throughout Colorado can help you with everything from your resume to your interviewing skills if they feel you have the talent, motivation, and skills that will add value to their clients. So take the time to do the research on the recruiting firm, build the proper relationships, and keep them in the loop throughout all aspects of your job search. If you navigate the recruiter pathway properly, you will certainly increase your chances of securing your next career.

Keep the faith, stay positive, and help your recruiter help you. Let me know how the search is going at and make it a better than good week!

Michael Norton, a resident of Highlands Ranch, is the former president of the Zig Ziglar organization and CEO and founder of


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