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How can you find the right recruiter when you’re job hunting? What are some of the biggest mistakes candidates make when working with recruiters? What really makes the difference when it comes to getting invited for an interview? Ben de Grouchy taps into his 10+ years of recruitment experience to explain how to work effectively with recruiters and headhunters during your career transition. In the Mental Fuel® segment, I’ll address a listener question about what tweaks you could make in your career to improve your career satisfaction.

Key Career Insights

  1. When you’re working with recruiters as a candidate, honesty and transparency are key to having a solid relationship.
  2. Remember that attitude and interest can trump skills and qualifications if you’re really passionate about landing a specific role.
  3. Being on LinkedIn is close to mandatory for any serious professional right now, as it tends to be one place recruiters consistently go to quickly learn more about candidates.

Interview Summary

How do find the right recruiter to work with?

  • Find specialist recruiter who aligns with your specific professional aspirations (industry, role, geography)
  • Consider Google & LinkedIn as a starting point to find the key recruiters who specialise in your specific area
  • Don’t be too concerned if you haven’t heard of the recruitment agency you identify. Some of the best recruiters run very small, boutique operations.
  • Trust is key!

What’s the best way to establish contact? 

  • Email- great place to start for a first introductory point of contact. Be specific about what you’re seeking.
  • Phone- can be especially effective if you have a less traditional background, or if you’re making a nontraditional change.
  • Face-to-face- the most powerful way to connote whether you’re a good fit for a specific company. If you take the time to do this, you might also have the opportunity to receive some guidance & feedback on your interviewing skills

How much follow up is effective? 

  • There’s no exact rule of thumb
  • Best practice is to clarify what cadence is best with the specific recruiter you’re working with.
  • Generally, no need to follow up multiple times a week.
  • Make sure you check a recruiter’s website, and if you spot a role, it gives you a good reason to reconnect with your recruiter and drive top-of-mind awareness with them.

Where do recruiters go to find candidates?

  • They start with their known network
  • Referrals from other candidates
  • Advertising network
  • LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful tool these days. Make sure you keep your profile up to date and ensure you’ve indicated you’re open to opportunities.

On LinkedIn how much info should you include?

  • When your profile’s more complete, you will be more searchable and findable
  • Having a more detailed profile may allow you to be easier to find, so err on the side of including more rather than less detail (within reason)
  • Having a bare structure is better than nothing at all

Do you HAVE to be on LinkedIn?

  • Recruiters will almost always check LinkedIn for a profile. If you’re not on there, it doesn’t allow recruiters to as easily perform some quick research on you.
  • Recommendations can also be a very powerful signal of your effectiveness as a professional.
  • LinkedIn allows you to further improve your credibility online

What makes a recruiter more likely to present a candidate to a client? 

  • Candidates who ask thoughtful questions demonstrate how seriously they’re taking the process and how interested they are in the exact role.
  • Having a great attitude can often help propel you to the top, even over other more “qualified” candidates.

How can unemployed people work well with recruiters? 

  • You can actually spin this toward your advantage.
  • Not having a job allows you to invest more time in the job search process.
  • You have to be able to clearly justify WHY you’re not employed..
  • Make sure you tell the truth and be honest

What’s a common mistake candidates make when working with recruiters?

  • People being evasive or misleading about their salaries.

What’s something candidates should understand about working with recruiters? 

  • Keep in mind that recruiters are paid by their clients/hiring companies to fill a role, not the candidates to get them a job.

How effective is it to have a more stylised custom CV/resume?

  • It’s all about the audience. Consider whether the recruiter, HR representative, and hiring manager will appreciate your approach.
  • The standard CV/resume tends to be the least risky, but there are situations where a more gimmicky CV could work if that approach demonstrates a skill relevant to the role.

What’s the biggest misconception candidates have about the recruitment industry?

  • Recruiters are not just out there to make money. They want to have a solid, long-term relationship with their clients, which means they have an interest to find the best candidate for a role which leads to high client satisfaction.

What surprises you about the types of candidates hiring managers end up choosing?

  • Passion can trump skill. Companies are willing to train people on skills, but it’s harder to train someone on  attitude and interest.
  • Transparency and integrity carry tremendous weight, and hiring managers really appreciate this.

Any final advice for candidates who want to build stronger relationships with recruiters? 

  • When you find a solid recruiter, make sure you invest the time and effort to nurture and maintain that relationship, both as a candidate and a client.
  • The candidate-recruiter relationship doesn’t have to just be transactional in nature. Treat it like an important, long-term professional relationship, and it can pay huge dividends.

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Listener Challenge

During this episode’s Mental Fuel segment, I talked about 3 tweaks you could make to improve your job situation: 1) changing projects, 2) changing companies, and 3) changing teams. What’s one tweak you will plan to make with your work or recruitment situation that could help you feel better about your professional situation? Leave a comment below with your plans!


About Ben de Grouchy, Recruiter & Founder

Ben de Grouchy-DG Partnership ecruitBen de Grouchy is the founder of ecruit and director of DG Partnership. With over 10 years of recruitment experience in the UK, Ben currently focuses on online sales recruitment and executive marketing recruitment in the consumer goods sector. His sales & marketing headhunting agency J-DEG, which he cofounded, was successfully merged into the DG Partnership in March 2017 after growing the business from 0 – £1mn+ turnover and employing a staff of 10 people. The DG Partnership works exclusively in the consumer goods sector, from middle to senior management levels and is proud to be a trusted advisor to clients including Pepsico, Unilever and Nestle. ecruit is an online recruitment advertising network that allows companies to hire sales people directly, for up to a 90% discount vs. using a recruitment agency. Check out the ecruit blog where you can find really useful articles about the hiring process, and follow Ben on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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About Joseph Liu

Joseph Liu is a Career & Personal Branding Strategist with a passion for helping people gain the clarity, confidence, and courage to pursue truly meaningful careers. Having gone through three major career changes himself, he now shares insights from building & relaunching global consumer brands to empower professionals and business owners to build & relaunch their personal brands. At JOSEPHPLIU.COM, he shares resources and tools for people who aspire to make a career change

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