I may have been playing toy soldiers with my wee boy the other day, so please indulge me for a few minutes…
There is a war going on, a war for talent, and you are in the thick of it. You need to arm yourself with all the right weapons and the right people, and be confident that the person beside you has your back.
We can either be viewed as cannon fodder that is expendable, whose sole purpose is to introduce you to a client, but the real value is in the special forces agents, with a direct line to the commander-in-chief, who knows what they are after and how they plan on going around getting you the job.
Recruiters are likely to play a part in your strategy, but the question is, how do you use them to your best advantage? The decision is yours, but how you approach this relationship will have a big impact on your chances of success.
There are, of course, many types of recruiters out in the market, and choosing the right one to engage with can make the difference between success for you in an application process or missing out on that dream job.
The best place to find reputable recruiters is within your network. You can hit Google, but that will only tell you how optimised their website is. To find out the real story you need to turn to people you know; friends, colleagues, or even better, people in your industry. Whilst some recruiters are mercenaries and will “sell their granny” to get candidates through the door, the majority will be genuine and have the candidates best interest at heart.
With these things in mind, here are my three suggestions on how to get the most out of your recruiter:
In any battlefield you’ll need the right equipment. In the initial stages have your CV up to date and know what is written on the CV. Be open to receiving advice and suggestions on the CV as the recruiter will have the insight into exactly what the client will be looking to see stand out from a CV.
Your CV will be your sales tool but a relationship with your recruiter can add real value to it. People’s own opinions on how best to interact with recruiters may vary, but I truly believe that in order to know whether someone will be a good fit for a client, you have to get to know them as a person.
Trust your comrades.
The more that you engage with a recruiter the harder that recruiter will work for you. Bear in mind that a recruiter, usually, won’t get paid until they secure a candidate a new role. So it is in their best interest to build a real and lasting relationship with you. We’re in it for the long haul.
Get in front of your chosen recruiters. Take time to meet with them, grab a coffee and explain to the recruiter exactly what you want from a new role. You have to map out your assault strategy. Have an idea of the types of company, the culture and work environment you would thrive. That way the recruiter can narrow down their search and their requirements and put the right roles in front of you. Push to meet a recruiter, and remember, those that want to keep the relationship at arms length and not get to know you are ones to avoid, especially for permanent roles.
Sometimes you’ll have to take orders.
This might come off as cheeky, but really take the advice on board from a recruiter; they will have your best interests at heart too. We are battle-hardened, we have been in this battle many times before. If the recruiter is giving you advice on interview techniques, what an interviewer likes/dislikes take, that on board. After all, anything that will help you connect with a client will be in a recruiter’s interests as well, and a great recruiter will know his or her clients well enough to know what they like and dislike in prospective candidates, putting them in a better position to give you comprehensive insight.
Hopefully you will have a few recruiters who will fit the bill and be able to add real value to your army. You must remember that it is a two way street and the relationship is built on trust.
That doesn’t mean that you will get every job, but remember, we may lose the battle but we can still win the war.