The recruitment industry is a cut-throat and ruthless arena. Or so I’ve been told. It’s fast paced, with no time to spare on ifs, buts and maybes. Recruiters have a race against time to find the right candidate and get their details over to their prospective client. This race against time is not necessarily to fulfil the start date of the position. It is more about finding candidates before any other recruiter does – and those ‘other recruiters’ may well be in the same company and indeed, on the same team. It’s a competitive environment. Understanding this fact helps us to understand which tools work and why others don’t in the struggle to find that next opportunity. Let’s face it, they may be 1000 candidates that could do the job (you included), but are you part of the 10-15 that are returned in the recruiter’s search? Getting your CV into that shortlist is what counts and hopefully I’ll be able to help you get there.
Recruiters much prefer trying to find candidates before they advertise a job on one of the online job boards. This is primarily because having to wade through the hundreds of CVs they get emailed on day one of posting an advertisement is not very efficient. Those CVs are not searchable or in a standard format, they are literally a heap of emails that the recruiter has to go through one-by-one to find the right candidate. Far too time consuming. They would much rather be doing the searching, and hunting for candidates through the online job websites and their own internal systems/databases is their preferred method for doing so.
Note – this post is angled at the UK market, although some tips may also be useful in other countries.
Spreading yourself far and wide.
Set up a folder in your web browser favourites and give it an applicable name (recruitment, IT Job sites, etc) and then add the following websites:
Now go to each and create a profile and upload your CV. The most important part of creating your profile is completing the skills and experience section as it applies to each site. This is important as it is what the recruiters will use to search for potential candidates. Put down as much information as you can as this will mean that you appear in more search results.
To make sure that you are on the radar, ‘refresh’ your profile at least once a week (simply making your profile private and then public again has this effect). Refreshing your profile has the effect of putting a ‘last activity’ date onto your profile, which recruiters will use to narrow down the search for candidates to just those who have been ‘active’ in the last n days. The best website to use to generate a lot of calls is Jobsite, as this site has the best search facility from a recruitment point of view (apparently).
Don’t bother with emailing the recruiter about a job that you have seen (refer to earlier point about the hundreds they receive). if the job posting does include a telephone number, CALL THEM! I can’t stress this enough. If you send an email, you’ll just be one of hundreds of others doing the same thing. Calling affords you the benefit of having the recruiters ear and instantly being on their radar. Then, when they ask for you CV (and they will) send it to them while you are still on the phone. Check that they have received it and then you can be sure that you have done everything you can for that particular position. Wash, rinse, repeat.
The search is on
Whenever I get a call from a recruiter about a potential job I try to find out from them where they found my details and what search they did to get them. For many of them this is Jobsite (as mentioned above), but, more calls stem from recruiters searching their own in-house databases for candidates. Knowing this helps to understand what the best options are for placing your CV.
Now, when I get an email from a recruiter asking for an updated CV, I add ALL of their details to my address book and label them as a recruiter and then reply with the following information:
- Summary of skills and experience (i.e. SQL Server 2005 5yrs)
- Start Availability – for current available start dates (this may be 3 months off, but still worth stating).
- Call availability – for when the recruiter should check in with me for an update on my situation.
- Rate – the day/hour/annual rate that I’ll be looking for. It’s important to have a range here as this will make more jobs available to you. And while some may be at a lower rate there may be other factors that will make this preferable over one paying a bit more. An example of this is finding a job close to home – how much is that worth?
- Job type – contract/temp/perm. This ensures that recruiters don’t waste their time and yours when marketing for positions.
- Contact details – your primary email address and phone number. I have set up a gmail account just for recruitment purposes, which I auto-forward to my personal account. This ensure that all my recruitment-related conversations (and contacts) are kept separate from my personal ones and helps to control the spam (well a little anyway).
You WANT to be on their database. Trust me. As long as you are clear about all the facts then you should find that you are only called about applicable jobs at applicable times for applicable rates. You need to “help them, help you”. You are (mostly) database professionals, you know the value of good clean data and what you can make of it. Conversely, you also know that incomplete data can lead to all sorts of problems when it comes to marketing. I know that you are concerned about spam, I am too (that’s why I have a separate email address), but don’t let this one fact detract from the major benefits of having your details readily available to the recruiter who may have your dream job.
Think of this another way. You are searching for your next vehicle, you know you want a 5-door hatch, between £6000 – £7500. You get hundreds of results. So you start to narrow your search criteria, entering a max distance from where you are, max engine size, etc. This is what happens in a recruitment search. Initially, you are part of the hundreds of candidates that have “SQL Server, Reporting Services, Integration Services” listed as skills, but are you part of the few that also have their availability, rate, contact details, location, etc listed? If the recruiter refines their search by including a rate range and you have not filled this in, then you will be automatically excluded from any of the results. Recruiters need to find the most likely candidate to fill the position, and not appearing in their search means that y
ou are not one of them.
LinkedIn. Use it or lose it
Yes, I’m on LinkedIn and yes most of my ‘connections’ are recruiters. Whilst I have not had many (comparatively) opportunities originating from this site, I have had a few and those tended to result in more CV-forwards and interviews than other channels. There is also an iPhone app, which is great at making it easy to stay up-to-date with what’s going on in your LinkedIn world.
There are many websites offering online CV creation and storage, but LinkedIn has the added bonus of professional networking. Linking you to many other people through your own contacts – have you looked at how many people are contactable through the 2nd/3rd level? Use this single fact to generate leads.
Love it or loathe it, LinkedIn does open the door. Sometimes.
A heads-up to Recruiters (if you are listening)
I doubt that a) any recruiters will be reading this and, b) even if they do, that they’ll take some of this to heart, but it’s worth trying:
When you leave me a voicemail, clearly state your name, company and contact number so that I can call you back. I’ve had several calls that have been so rushed that I couldn’t catch some of the pertinent information and effectively meant that I could not call that person back. Also, leaving a message with “I have a few openings I’d like to discuss with you..” being the extent of the details of your call, means it will be deleted. If you leave message with a short but specific description of a job that you’d like to discuss then I’ll more than likely call you back. My time is precious too and being an information source for you is not how I want to spend 5 – 10 (15?) minutes of my day. The call needs to be win win.
Thanks for listening.