I recently had lunch with someone I have just placed and the conversation turned to how I identify candidates and what he could do to get himself noticed by recruiters for his next role. So, we discussed the process that occurs behind the scenes.  

My world as a recruiter 

Regardless of the role and the way in which my client has chosen to engage (search, interim, contingent), I always go to my network first. I start by asking myself the questions:

  1. Who have I met with?
  2. Who have I worked with?

I'll then send an SOS on LinkedIn to my community and I'll also engage my colleagues and their communities. Working in a boutique firm and having a network of former colleagues and respected senior recruiters, we often recommend high calibre candidates to one another (which does not happen in bigger businesses).

This seems obvious, but I would rather place someone that I have met with and already have some semblance of a relationship with. It offers a level of assurance around their character and capability. If there is a relationship in place there will hopefully be mutual levels of trust and respect, as well as a knowledge of working practices and approaches.

Download "A Guide to Interim Management" eBook to find out what makes an interim executive outstanding


The dull but important bit 

If, after exhausting my direct community and the extended networks of my direct and indirect colleagues, I still don't have a relevant pool of candidates or there is no one I know with the skillset my client is after, I will advertise. It is my least favourite option but it is good on two counts:

  1. I don't know who I don't know, and it brings in new people to my community.
  2. Brand recognition - for all the obvious reasons.

As a candidate, what you need to know is that a large proportion of recruiters have access to an aggregating tool called Broadbean.

This allows us to send out the same advertisement to multiple sites, including LinkedIn, in one go. It also then acts as a central repository for all the responses that come back in from those websites. It allows me to grade the responses - red, amber or green - and go back to those people with an appropriate response, or contact them about the role. Depending on the role, I can have anywhere between 0-300 responses in 24 hours.

The bit you need to know 

Broadbean shows up every job you have applied for through that agency or consultancy.

Rightly or wrongly, if we see someone who is applying for diametrically opposing roles - for example, claiming to be a Solutions Architect and a Head of IT, or a HR Manager and a Rewards Specialist, or a Finance Manager and an Audit Manager - it sends the wrong message to the recruiter. (We are aware that a large proportion of these will be automated responses from websites that do keyword searches and send your CV.)

If you have a relationship with the recruiter you can always call to ask if you are suitable before applying. If you don't, then it is always worth sending over an email with four to five salient points on your suitability, or to call.

I genuinely understand that recruiters can be elusive and that it is hugely frustrating when you don't get a response, but manage them as you would any internal project stakeholder.

Things to consider 

Own your recruitment journey - in this world of digital enablement, personal relationships are even more critical. Not all recruiters are made equal, so build relationships with the ones you get on with, have integrity and work openly and honestly.

Be aware that everyone says they are perfect for that job. Please help us by validating your experience and applying for roles you are suitable for (for more advice in this area, you might be interested in our blog on CV writing).

Have your core consultants you work with but be aware that the tail of the snake is very long, and you will need to keep an eye on the jobs popping up with firms you have never heard of.

Like us or loathe us, neither of us can survive without the other. A good recruiter can identify opportunities that you would never know about and sometimes (although not every time) create opportunities because we know you and your skillset.

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