Written by: Sonny

November 7, 2013

How do you give advice to a job seeker without him/her thinking we as recruiters have ulterior motives. It's no secret that while we help people find jobs, we also earn a fee for our services. Sadly, the latter part of that statement can negatively impact the effectiveness of the first part of that statement. Why is that the case? I have a few potential reasons.

There are a lot of firms around that do what we do. To say our industry is crowded, is an understatement. And by virtue of that, there are some consulting companies that do things the right way and others that do it, ummmm, lets just say the wrong way. I’ve heard countless labels for what we do from “placement firm” to “handler” and most of the time the adjectives used to describe us are not that flattering. So, how does this happen? I’ll give one very recent example. Just last week, I was at Starbucks have a conversation with a Project Manager considering entering into a job search. We are having a nice, engaging conversation and 20 minutes into our discussion two people sit beside us. The young man has a tie on and is holding a piece of paper, which is clearly a resume. After a very, very brief introduction, he proceeds to ask the lady – “So, what are you looking for in a pay rate?” She has a bit of a befuddled look and in a much softer voice responds. This guy has been talking to her for 2 minutes and his first question (which he barks out quite loudly) is – how much money are you looking for? I could be mistaken, but I believe I even put my hand on my forehead followed by an embarrassed head shake. This is essentially, my competition. I should be happy, right? We do things very differently and can easily differentiate ourselves from a recruiter like this. HOWEVER, when the majority of recruiters are like this guy, job seekers start to label all of us as “handler’s” and assume all we care about is that next placement fee – thus, trust is a very hard thing to earn.

Another observation; What may motivate one job seeker and be the most critical factor in obtaining a new position surely won’t be the same for the next. It takes time, building rapport with the job seeker to understand what is important to that individual. It also takes a lot of listening to really understand how we can help. Lastly, we have to understand our industry. If a job seeker is going to put their trust in a consulting company to help them find a job – the recruiter better know what the heck the job seeker does and must be able to effectively convey it to a hiring manager. Too often, a recruiter doesn’t understand technology and doesn’t do their homework before sitting down with a candidate. It leads to very superficial conversations and further creates a poor impression of our industry and the services we provide

I think this collection of failures all contribute to the lack of trust that a job seeker can have with a recruiter. When you have the greater majority of recruiters doing the bare minimum, its no surprise this challenge exists today.

In our office, we do everything imaginable to create the exact opposite experience for a candidate. We strive for every conversation to be a worthwhile, productive dialogue regardless of the circumstance. Sharing leads, sharing contacts, offering advice on resumes…following simple practices like this will make a difference. Talking to someone over the span of four to five years never to have placed him – that is true relationship building. We see the value in investing time to get to know the job seekers we talk to. If someone calls in to talk to me, to Jason, to Vinnie or to Scott – it is the same approach. Its how we are all wired and another reason why the four of us work together. We may not be in the majority when thinking about our industry, and our approach may take a little longer, which may negatively impact how many people we talk to each day, but the core of our business is building relationships and we will continue to do that with every new person we meet. We are proof that nice guys DON’T finish last!