Recently I had the opportunity to be interviewed for another podcast, but this one was a twist as it was 100% for recruiters. I had a few questions sent to me before the interview but of course we didn’t get to everything… so I wanted to have some follow-up thoughts here even though the podcast isn’t live yet Remember, these answers are for recruiters, and I was representing “the job seeker”… so these aren’t typical answers that I’ve give to Joe Job Seeker.
Why did I start JibberJobber?
You have to realize that when I got laid off I went into high gear on my job search. I worked about ten hours a day, six days a week for at least two months straight. During this time I developed “relationships” with about 30 recruiters, and I quickly learned that most recruiters had no reason to follow up with me. I used my pre-JibberJobber spreadsheet to keep track of who my recruiters where, log any activity with them, and set up action item dates.
This system (which would soon become JibberJobber) was very useful to keep track of where I was at with each recruiter and ensure that (1) I kept in touch with them regularly to see what opportunities might have come up recently, and (2) stayed fresh in their mind so that hopefully they’d think of me first when something came up. There’s now way to keep track of these 30 very active relationships without some kind of system like JibberJobber.
Did I work a lot with recruiters, and how did I find “the process?”
Kind of! I say I had 30 recruiters but the truth is it was a lot of Jason sending out e-mails and leaving voice mails… and not getting much in return. It was common that I wouldn’t get a return e-mail or phone call, to the point that I wondered if they were full-time, or on an extended vacation, or just didn’t work their business that hard. Granted, I didn’t understand the role of the recruiter, and my role. I had been accustomed to the basic courtesy of getting a reply back on my e-mails – even if it was one or two words – so to switch to no replies at all was really weird.
What have I heard from candidates (that’s recruiter-speak for “job seeker”) about working with recruiters?
Most candidates that I talk with are really excited excited to establish a relationship with a recruiter, and I think they usually see this recruiter as their savior that will lead them out of unemployment into a bigger and better job than they left. Later I hear about the regular frustrations of recruiters not getting back to the candidate (there is a difference in sense of urgency for sure) and bad advice (I heard of an executive recruiter that advised a candidate to get a low-paying step-job while she searched for a higher-level position (the candidate was furious)).
My favorite advice (not because I agree with it, I really don’t, but it was funny) was from a senior executive that said “spend two days shooting your resume to as many recruiters as you can and then don’t even look back.” So basically he’s say get your name out, see who bites, and then spend your time in more productive areas of a job search!
What can recruiters do to improve the process?
I can tell that there will be other blog posts spinning off of this one, so I’ll keep these short. I’d really like to get some dialogue here from recruiters and candidates… and we’ll go from there. Here are some of my ideas:
- Please have some kind of system for follow-up. I know you are busy but so is everyone else. At least let me know that you got my resume (or whatever) and if something comes up you will call me – at the very least. (candidates, realize that some recruiters get over 100 new contacts a day, and following up to 500 every week could be… impossible?)
- Please tell me what your role is, and what my role is! The best feedback I got was: “Jason, you’ll find a job for yourself quicker than I’ll find a job for you.” This made me rethink our relationship, and start to reevaluate my strategy. If you are not my silver bullet, please don’t lead me to believe that you are.
- Please inform me that I am not your client. I need to understand this so that I can understand your job, what makes you tick, and perhaps how to work with you in a way that you appreciate me more (like, opening my network to you).
- Please tell me what I should be doing aside from talking to you. Perhaps an article (or a series of articles) on your website that I can learn about this job search process, and avoid pitfalls. This can include things such as how to use job boards, how to use LinkedIn, how to use JibberJobber, how to format e-mails when approaching a potential hiring manager, recommended books, networking events I should attend, etc. I know this sounds like a lot but I bet you can put together short, valuable primers in less than 30 minutes (for each one).
- We both know that I’m talking with other recruiters… let me know how you feel about that. If you think I should be then tell me to… don’t try and hoard me as “yours.”
- Please treat me as a valuable long-term relationship. You never know if I’m going to be in a position to bring you in, or open my network to you later. If you are serious about being a recruiter, why do you want to show me how bad you treat me as a job seeker?
Now, this is not a bash on recruiters post – I can name some recruiters that I had an excellent experience with, or those that I have a ton of respect for. This post is direct response to a recruiter asking me what I think about the process and how to improve it, from my perspective.
Why don’t you tell me what YOU think about the recruiter/candidate experience?