Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Identifying the Right Recruiter For You

My recently posted blog regarding 11 Recruiting Myths surrounding recruiters posed a question from a reader that was along these lines:

I enjoyed a recent article you shared regarding recruiting myths. As a job seeker, for a company you are interested in, what is the best way to find out if a recruiter works with that particular company?

It struck me that this is probably a question many job seekers face. So I will share my response........

We feel that the first thing you need to do is identify a recruiter, or recruiters, that specialize within the insurance industry. Screen your recruiter(s) so you have a comfort as to their actual understanding of the industry and your specific discipline within the insurance industry. Next be certain the chemistry is good between you and the recruiter(s). Next, what is the philosophy on how they proceed? What I mean here is, will they secure your consent prior to ever sending your resume out? If not, perhaps you don’t use them. In addition, will they share the name of their client with you? If not, perhaps you don’t use them. You have to do all this first.

Once you've screened out the recruiter(s) meeting these expectations, then you ask them if they work with ABC company. Here’s the scoop: Some recruiters work with a handful of companies and that is all. However, we at CSG, for example, work with virtually any company within the insurance industry. So for our firm it is more about who we DO NOT work with. And there is a reason we do not work with those companies. Then there are a few companies that simply do not use recruiters, period. These companies are what we call recruiter resistant. So you as a candidate are always better going direct regardless of what a recruiter may tell you. A recruiter’s job is to help you get seen by the right people. It should not be about their best interests but your best interests. It should not be about whether they can try to make a fee verse your best interests.

Now there are some companies where you must be on a “preferred vendor” list. If the recruiter is not on it then they will not work with that recruiter. Or they may be open to the recruiter being added to their list. They may be open to that! Or they may not be. A recruiter should know if they are on the “preferred vendor” list. A recruiter should know whether a company is open to adding an additional recruiter. That is simply industry knowledge. An experienced recruiter should know this.

There are companies that we are not willing to represent as well. Based on our interactions with them we do not feel it would be in our best interests to serve as a representative for that particular company. That decision could be based on various factors.

In addition and worth noting, the days of companies being loyal to using a certain recruiter/recruiters is long gone. This is not a jab at insurance organizations. It is simply a statement on where the job market is at currently. A company is interested in hiring the best candidate. Companies will happily accept qualified candidates from the recruiter that can bring them to the table, assuming they use recruiters and assuming they are not restricted by the “preferred vendor” list.

Our firm enjoys established relationships with countless quality insurance organizations across all 50 states. We've earned those relationships by being knowledgeable, being ethical, and providing quality service to the client. But we also understand that if another recruiter brings the right candidate to the table they will accept that candidate. And they should. It is about making the right hire.

So in summary, screen your recruiter(s) based on the above. Then simply ask them if they work with the company you have in mind. They should tell you one of the following:
  1. The company does not use recruiters and you should go direct.
  2. The company uses a “preferred vendor” list and they are or are not on it.
  3. They are actively working with them and happy to contact them.
  4. They are not actively working with the company but glad to contact them.
  5. They only work with specific companies and this is not one of them.


Friday, December 12, 2014

11 Recruiter Myths

I was speaking with a member of my staff the other day regarding a search assignment project we were working on, and as we were speaking I had told them that we (our firm) continue to battle the various stereotypes that surround our profession. The fact is that every profession has stereotypes; some not so flattering. But the professional recruiting profession seems to have more than our fair share. I find it frustrating that there are recruiters out there who still practice with limited knowledge of those they serve, and practice the “resume dumping” technique. Then you have the job posting chasers. And the ones who operate under the practice of throwing the job out on a job board and just referring on to the client company anyone who responds verse actually “recruiting.”  Although that kind of stuff really does happen, there are certainly very reputable and knowledgeable recruiters. So this goes out to all the great professional recruiters that share the love and passion for helping out individuals reach their career goals, helping families get closer together, and helping individuals better their financial position. And also to those professional recruiters who enjoy an excellent partnership with their clients because they are knowledgeable and truly care about sourcing and securing the best talent for their clients.

Here is a list of common recruiting myths from a candidate perspective as well as hiring manager/employer perspective, and the truth about those myths! 

CANDIDATE PERSPECTIVE:

MYTH: You should only work with one recruiter at a time.
You can work with multiple recruiters (2-3) at a time. Recruiters often have a relationship with many companies but certainly not all companies in an industry. So working with a few recruiters simultaneously can help you be exposed to multiple opportunities. However be certain you tell your recruiters who else you are working with and what companies they are submitting you to.

MYTH: A recruiter will find me a job.
Working with a recruiter is just one piece to a job search. Just one tool in the job search tool box. (along with networking, direct contact with employers, and other methods).

MYTH: Recruiters can help me make a career change.
Recruiters are often working from very specific search assignments where the employing company’s criteria is well-defined. Therefore, they are looking to find candidates with those specific qualifications, not someone with an interest in the field. The better your credentials meet the search assignment specifications, the more likely you will be considered as a candidate, and the more likely you will be successfully placed in the role. If you want to make a career change, working with a recruiter isn’t likely to be an effective strategy.

MYTH: It doesn't matter which recruiter I contact, they all do basically the same thing.
Some recruiters are generalists, but most are specialized. Specialization may be by industry, role, professional area of focus, region or location, experience level, or other factors. It’s important to understand what a recruiter specializes in, and whether that’s a good fit for you and what you’re looking for. One of the largest factors is whether they work with the clients or types of clients you’re interested in.

MYTH: If I’m interested in a company I should apply online or give my resume to a friend first. If that doesn't work, then I’ll try a recruiter.
If your resume has already been submitted to a company, then the process has likely already moved beyond the point where a recruiter can get involved on your behalf. If you’re working with a recruiter that has that company as a client, contact them first. Or figure out what recruiters that company uses and get in touch with them. The recruiter can help you evaluate whether the position is indeed a good fit for you, and present you to the client to get primary consideration. If that position is not a good fit, they might know of other roles the client is looking to fill that would be better suited to your needs and experience.

MYTH: The recruiter doesn't need to know what I've applied for, or all the details of my background and career.
A recruiter can be a strong advocate in helping you gain consideration for a position you’re interested in, but they are only as good as the information you share with them. If a recruiter contacts you about a position that you’ve already applied for, let them know right away. Details of the situation matter…how long has it been? What job did you apply for? Did you have an interview? Nobody likes surprises--if the recruiter knows what’s important to you. If you keep them in the dark, you’re not helping them help you.

MYTH: You make less money when you are placed by a recruiter.
Not true. Companies who seek the assistance of a professional agency pay the agency based on a pre-negotiated contract. Those fees are completely aside from the candidate compensation. No fees will be taken out of your base pay or annual compensation to pay the agency. If a company were to reduce your salary to cover part of the recruiter fee, that is not a good company to work for anyway.


EMPLOYER PERSPECTIVE

MYTH: I can recruit myself.
You certainly can recruit candidates yourself, but have you ever wondered why even companies with large HR departments still work with recruiting agencies? It takes a lot of time and effort to recruit effectively. Improve your efforts and get more quality candidates quicker. Recruiting takes two things companies don’t have in excess: A lot of time and specialized skills to dedicate toward just one vacancy. Even if you have an amazing recruitment team and/or HR department, they can’t dedicate the equivalency of a full-time job to filling each vacancy that comes up. A recruitment agency, on the other hand, can.

MYTH: Recruiters don’t specialize in my industry.
Actually, you probably can find a recruiting agency in your industry. A niche recruitment agency is always your best choice. So be certain you partner with an agency that understands your business and industry.

MYTH: Recruiters take a huge commission.
Obviously recruiters get paid for what they do, and if you want the best recruiting agency on your side, that’s going to cost you. Break down the cost-benefit analysis, and ask yourself what the best workers are really worth. In the long run, those commissions aren't as costly as you think. Time taken out for background checks and interviews all add up quickly. In the grand scheme of things, it can cost several thousand dollars to hire a new employee, so the fee paid to a professional recruiter is actually pretty comparable.

MYTH: Recruiters don’t work.
A recruiter isn't a magician, and if you don’t treat the relationship as a partnership then even the best agency in the world isn't going to be able to fill your opening. There is no pixie dust. There is no magic wand.




Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Job Search Phenomenon

An object at rest stays at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. This means that there is a natural tendency of objects to just keep on doing what they're doing. All objects resist changes in their state of motion. Okay this is a non-human way to describe the phenomenon we see with some professionals when it comes to not making a job change that could benefit them. The benefit I refer to could be: 
  1. Provide career growth
  2. Provide an opportunity to learn new things
  3. Provide a better work/personal life balance
  4. All of the above 

Professionals may remain stuck in the wrong positions, not living up to their potential and sacrificing professional fulfillment. The problem lies in basic human motives: we fear change, lack readiness, are unwilling to make sacrifices, sabotage ourselves.

Perhaps you've been with the company for a number of years so you have the emotional attachment; the guilt of what will they think about you, or leaving them in a bad situation should you leave.

Perhaps your social network is centered within your co-workers. If you leave the company, you are leaving your friends.

Maybe you feel a strong loyalty to your employer. After all, they were the company that gave you your first break into the industry.

Or maybe the job opportunity involves a relocation. Upsetting the household with a move is unsettling to you.

At the end of the day, only one person is responsible for your career: you. Just as it’s unwise to impulsively leave a job for the wrong reasons, don’t allow fear of the unfamiliar to hold you back from accepting a new one. As for the move, look at it as a temporary inconvenience. One that after six months will likely be ancient history. Moving your household is never easy, but if it is the right opportunity for you and your family, this should not prevent you from following through on a good opportunity.


The bottom line is that changing jobs always carries some degree of risk. But, if you've thoroughly analyzed the situation and your gut is telling you to make a move, trust your intuition. At some point you need to stop second-guessing yourself and embrace the new opportunity.