Getting Your Recruiter To Work For You

By: Bonnie Cox


I am a corporate recruiter. I attend 30 job fairs a year. There might be 1500 job seekers attending the event, and I will personally shake hands with a thousand candidates in the crowd. I treat them all with respect, but truth be told, I am on a treasure hunt. My mission is to find the gems.

To a recruiter, candidates are like jewels. They all don't have the same value ­ and just like in the real world, their value fluctuates with market supply and demand. A jewel that is common today could be worth a fortune tomorrow, or vice-versa (think dot com.) Even though recruiters look for applicants with a specialized skill set to fill specific job orders, good recruiters ALWAYS have their eyes peeled for excellent candidates with potential future value.

It's not as easy as one thinks for recruiters to find the jewels. Here are some insider tips that can help you stand apart from the crowd, and sparkle brightly enough to catch my eye:

1. Be Prepared to Be Assessed
2. Do What You Can to Become a "Good Find"
3. Know What to Expect from a Good Recruiter

Insider Tip #1: Be Prepared to Be Assessed
How will I know when I've found my gem candidate? They don't just come right out and shine! I wish it were that easy. We have to exchange dialogue. I've got to understand what value the candidate brings to the marketplace and how to show this value to a buyer.

It is up to the candidate to do what s/he can to "sparkle"; in other words, candidates should be prepared.

The following should be standard:

·Dress Appropriately - wear a suit or other clean, pressed, professional attire to a job fair or interview. First impressions are important; if a recruiter meets several hundred people that day, she will choose quickly with whom to spend her time. Let's see, Candidate A in a rumpled sundress, or Candidate B in a freshly dry-cleaned suit? You decide.

·Personal Hygiene is Critically Important -­ Make sure you are freshly showered, with your hair clean and combed, and have clean nails and hands. Bad breath is the biggest turn-off, so make sure your breath is fresh.

·Have a Current Resume - and lots of them - to hand out. If you run out of resumes to hand out, it will look like you are unprepared. A recruiter has to work twice as hard to talk to someone who doesn't even have a "marketing piece." If it becomes too much work to represent a candidate, the recruiter might opt to help somebody else. In the current market, there are lots of candidates and a recruiter has to choose which gems have the greatest potential value.

Insider Tip #2 ­ Do What You Can to Become a "Good Find".

·Network ­ until it hurts. The more people you talk to, the more chances you have to be chosen for an employment opportunity. Get your resume into as many hands as possible, even if you only get a chance to talk to the recruiter for a brief second. A good recruiter goes through her resumes after the job fair and sorts them into categories. You want to be in one of those categories with the potential to get a call back.

·Take Suggestions From Your Recruiter ­- If you don't understand something, ask questions! Sometimes a candidate is afraid they might not sound intelligent, so s/he may not ask a question. By not asking anything, the candidate may appear to be uninterested or aloof! When you start asking questions, your recruiter may reveal some "inside scoop" on the best way to interview or what the company is really looking for.

·Be Flexible - Know what's most important to you ­ If you are willing to work a temporary job, it will put money in your pocket and food on the table until your dream job opportunity comes your way. Some of my best candidates won their dream jobs by "temping" at their current firm. If they weren't flexible enough to take a temporary position, they would have never been considered by the employer.

Insider Tip #3 ­ Know What to Expect from a Good Recruiter

Not all recruiters or placement services offer extra mile service. It is important to spend your time where you will get the most return. This is what you can expect from a good recruiter:

·Partner with a Dedicated Hard-working, Results-Oriented Recruiter. Good recruiters have passion - you can hear it in their voice, feel it in their positive energy when they greet you. If you are prepared (see Insider Tip #1) and have done everything you can to become a "good find" (see Insider Tip #2), your recruiter will do her share to help you find employment.

·Don't Get Discouraged if You Haven't Heard From Your Recruiter ­ Be proactive, be persistent, and above all, stay positive! Don't be alarmed if your phone calls or e-mails are not returned in ten minutes. You will be called the minute they have a lead for you. Needless to say, recruiters are incredibly busy people! We conduct interviews all day, call clients, prospect candidates, status job orders, run background checks, call for references, attend job fairs and deliver paychecks to name a few of our duties.

We've looked at three insider tips that can help you have greater success in marketing yourself to a recruiter at a job fair. Don't forget to smile. You are a gem just waiting to be found!

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