Networking, Job Searching and Dealing With Recruiters… Oh My

Wizardofoz460 Today, I’m featuring a reader question (actually several questions in one email) that myself and other Recruiters get in some form practically every day. Networking and job search can be scary ya’ll. Networking and job searching in today’s economy can be even more scary. Throw on top of that confusion trying to figure out how to deal with scary Recruiters, and it’s a confusing and debilitating quandary for many. But it doesn’t have to be…

The Question(s)

Hi Jennifer,

I’m following you on Twitter and I’ve checked out your blog and company’s website. I’ve not looked for a new job in over 10 years – and I’ve never talked to a Recruiter, as I’m not sure how everything works. I’m employed full-time right now (in a good job), but I’m beginning to explore options. Do you deal mostly with companies or individuals – or both? How does a recruiter work? If I were interested in putting myself out there to search for a new opportunity, what’s the best strategy to go about that? Are there easy answers to these questions – or is it not so simple?

Thanks for your help in getting me started.


The Answer(s)

Hi “Bob”,

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step” (Lao Tzu) – so congratulations on taking the first steps toward finding your next great opportunity! (And thanks for connecting on Twitter/reading my blog!)

As for how our firm works – we are engaged and paid by the company (our clients) to find a specific type of person for a specific role within their organization. While some firms do specialize in certain industries, we don’t, but we do focus on leadership roles (typically Director level and above). We’re what’s called a “retained search’ firm – and we’re paid to search for, identify and recruit candidates that are an exact match for our client’s needs. There are also other types of Recruiters though and some will even take your resume and market you or call some companies where they have contacts to see if they may be interested in interviewing you. There aren’t many Recruiters who will do that – but there are some. So I encourage you to contact several Recruiters and ask how each one works/what their process is.

The best strategy for getting in the game is networking, meeting people, building relationships and making sure that the people you meet are clear on what you’re targeting/what you’re best at. If you’re searching confidentially, you can still do that well – just package it as you’re trying to develop your network/meet new people to stay current and grow your career. The ultimate goal is to get people to “like you” and remember you – so when they hear of opportunities that may be of interest, they’ll refer you or make you aware of them. Networking isn’t always easy, but it is truly the most effective way to find your next great opportunity. I hear from a number of people each month who’ve landed new jobs (companies ARE still hiring) and I always ask them how they connected with their new opportunity. Almost 100% of the time, their answer is through their personal networking efforts.

There are a number of studies out there on how people get jobs, and while the percentages vary a bit by the level of position, it’s typically something like 70% through networking, 20% through job boards and 10% through recruiters, so I encourage you to spend your time networking and searching for a new opportunity in similar percentages.

I hope that this information helps and I’m excited for you as you start the process!

Jennifer (the not so scary Recruiter)

More Networking Tips

Below is a link to copy of the slide deck from a recent talk I gave at a local Job Search Workshop that contains a few bullet points and tips for networking and interviewing success:

Cincy Recruiters’ Five Quick Steps for Networking & Interviewing Success on Slideshare

As always, I welcome your comments and feedback, and if you have any more suggestions for “Bob”, let’s hear ’em!