Many job seekers I speak to are confused about how the recruiting process works and specifically about how to work with recruiters. It is important to understand the recruiters role and how the process works in order to be successful.
Whilst there are some very helpful recruiters out there, a recruiter is not a career counsellor. If you don't know how to progress your career or what direction to take you need to talk to a career advisor, not a recruiter.
First, we need to establish the difference between a recruiter and a career advisor.
What are recruiters?
Recruiters are people who work for external organisations or from within a company to hire people for positions based on who the best candidates are. They won't be able to look at your resume and see how you fit into the company because they don't know you well enough. You need to be able to tell the recruiter what you want to do and where you fit in the company. They may be able to help but they can't guide you in your job search.
What are career advisors?
They are there to provide information, advice and guide you in your search for your ideal career. They will work together with you to get an understanding about your personality, likes, strengths and weaknesses to help you find the most suitable position. They help build your resume, cover letter and social media profiles (such as LinkedIn) to prepare your best self for work.
Types of recruiters
There are two major categories of recruiters, those that are internally hired by a company (also known as “in-house”) and external recruiters known as agencies, head-hunters and search consultants.
Internal recruiters are employees of the employer, they represent the company and are paid a salary by that employer. External recruiters are employees of a recruiting firm or agency. Their job is to help many different employers find employees.
Recruiters aren't in control of the hiring process and are seldom the decision-maker in determining your success of the job. They will be the one to deliver the good or bad news but normally someone else, usually committees in large organisations or hiring managers are the one to make the final call.
Working with internal and external recruiters are different processes. Internal recruiters are not on your side, no matter how friendly they seem. Always present your best self and do not confide in or ask them for any favours. Be professional in your communication and presentation of yourself to them. If you do have a query or concern you are usually advised to contact the recruiter, but be careful not to abuse this function because it can have a negative impact on your opportunity with that employer.
Don’t except them to help you figure out what you want to do. However, they can provide you with some insight into what is happening in the organisation, who will be your allies in the hiring process and who the real decision makers are.
Why you need to speak to a career advisor first
- Career advisors work for you. They are not hired by a third-party company. They are fully invested in your needs and want to help you find a job. You will come away from your first meeting with valuable insight that will help you succeed and you won't feel locked into a rigid career path.
- They can coach and guide you in your career so that when you get to the recruitment process you understand where you want to go. They can provide advice on interview techniques, resume formatting and terminology and how to address a cover letter for a position.
- They are constantly up-to-date with the labour market, economy and employment opportunities unlike recruiters who are simply there to employ people no matter the position.
- Your career advisor can suggest the best people to contact and provide access to networking that recruiters cannot.
- They assist you with the application process, help you locate relevant training courses and prepare you for your next position.
Preparing yourself adequately for a job is the same as putting a mortgage on a house or putting money into a large investment. You will research and weigh-up your options because making the wrong decision could be harmful to your future. Seeking proper guidance from a career advisor is the same.
They will provide you with the proper training, and information so that when you arrive at the recruitment stage, you are prepared and can put your best foot forward so that you don’t end up in a job you hate.