The Recruiting Game
More than half of small businesses believe there is a lack of qualified applicants for their open positions and 65 percent of recruiters believe the talent shortage is their biggest challenge in hiring. IT recruiters in Austin, TX can definitely relate, as Austin has one of the hottest job markets in the country. Even though there are more job openings than there are candidates to fill them, many candidates prefer leveraging the assistance of a recruiter to help them land their ideal job. Choosing that recruiter, however, isn’t always as easy as it may appear.
Typically, a recruiter is well-versed in how to read a candidate. They know the questions to ask and how to assess a resume. Based on their knowledge of the candidate, they will place the candidate in an open position they believe is a good fit. Unfortunately, many recruiters don’t take the extra time to really get to know both the candidate and the hiring companies so they can ensure that placement is, in fact, a good one. They have something of a checklist from the hiring company and then search for a candidate that checks most or all of the boxes. Done.
Not so fast. With so many jobs out there for candidates, it’s important to be able to discern one job opportunity from another. It’s often more complicated than simply comparing salaries and benefits. There is quite a bit more that goes into what makes a job one in which the employee enjoys and is engaged.
Gallup defines employee engagement as: “those who are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace.” This is an important factor. Engaged employees are more productive, take fewer sick and personal days off, are better team players, are more likely to go above and beyond what’s expected of them, and are less likely to jump ship for a better offer at a rival company. Sadly, 51 percent of U.S. employees are not engaged and another 16 percent are “actively disengaged.” Interestingly, 51 percent of employees are therefore searching for new jobs or watching for openings.
Few candidates accept a job with the intention of being disengaged. Few take on a new job believing they will be back on the market within months. A good recruiter will be able to reduce the chances of this happening, simply by taking the time to understand their clients.
The Candidate Checklist
Candidates who use a recruiter to help them land their next job should recognize they are interviewing the recruiter as much as the recruiter is interviewing them. There are lots of recruiters out there. Austin tech recruiters are on every corner. Some work independently, others work for a recruiting firm, and many work in-house at a large company who staffs their own recruiters. It is estimated that 5 percent (or one in 20) of all U.S. LinkedIn profiles are recruiters, sourcers or HR professionals.
All of this to say, candidates have options.
It’s important for candidates to know what to look for when considering recruiters. We put together a list of best practices to help candidates vet and choose the best recruiter for them so they can increase their odds of finding a job they’ll love.
Look for Red Flags
It’s a red flag if:
- The recruiter begins the conversation discussing the job description at hand instead of first asking what exactly you are looking for in a new role.
- The recruiter emails the job description with their introductory email.
- You tell the recruiter you aren’t qualified for a certain position, yet the recruiter still wants to submit your resume.
These red flags boil down to one thing: your wants and desires should trump their wants and desires. They get paid by the hiring company. Unfortunately, this motivates some recruiters to fill positions as quickly as possible and they don’t always take the time to get to know the candidates. You want to find a recruiter that makes the effort to get to know you as a person and professionally.
Consider How Much Time They Spend with You
Recruiters should take a consultative approach with any potential job seeker. Initial communication may be over email, but they should discuss your interest in new roles and any potential job descriptions over the phone or in person.
If the recruiter is hesitant or resistant to speak with you over the phone or in person, you know they have their own interests ahead of yours. Look elsewhere.
See If They Are Listening
Recruiters should find out first why you are interested in exploring the job market. A good recruiter who is actively listening to you should be asking follow up questions to discover your motivating factors for looking to leave your current role.
This is important because many recruiters will simply look at your resume and your current job description and assume you want to be placed in a similar role at a different company. If they aren’t asking you what you really want to be doing and where your untapped talent may be, you may end up at the same song, different verse.
Check If They Got to the Details
A good recruiter should know their client companies. They know enough about them that when they ask you certain questions, specific client companies come to mind as a good fit. They should be able to rule out other client companies based on your responses to their questions, not wasting your or their time in submitting your resume.
Details, such as commute, team and company size, expected salary and benefits should all be uncovered before discussing any potential roles. It makes no sense to offer up potential job positions before they understand your boundaries. They should ask you what your maximum commute would be (for tech recruiters in Austin, this is a big consideration given the traffic issues), whether or not you are willing to travel and how much, whether you like to work on a team or solo, what your minimum salary requirement is, whether or not you expect bonuses and incentives, what type of benefits you have now and want to have. These are basic questions whose answers will narrow their focus and your considerations.
Verify They Follow Up
It’s one thing to give you some leads and set up an interview. It’s quite another to follow up to see how things went. A good recruiter always follows up on job descriptions, interview preparations and interview feedback. If they truly care about you and your job search, they will want to know how things are going so they can either help or direct you elsewhere.
For instance, they can be a great resource in your interview preparations if they know their client companies well. They can go through some likely questions and how you can highlight your skills and qualities to ensure you sell yourself well. Similarly, they should contact you after every interview to see what you thought about the company and how your preparations worked. In this way, they can better direct you on future interviews or determine whether they should shift strategies on where they are sending you. It helps both of you improve your practices.
Determine If They Are Good at Keeping in Touch
Even after you accept a job position, a good recruiter should keep in touch with you for networking purposes. If your best interest is their only interest, they will always have an ear to the ground for new opportunities for you. They can monitor your performance at your new job, as well as your job satisfaction, and know when it may be a good time for another move.
Many recruiters also work with their client companies’ HR departments to help them hire from within, promoting existing employees to fill positions and prevent attrition. Ask your recruiter if they establish these relationships and how much influence they have. Transitioning to a new company takes a lot of time, energy and stress. If you have someone working for you on the inside, however, you can often avoid a company move and work your way up the ladder at your existing company much faster.
Your recruiter should be your partner. Find one who is willing to walk side-by-side with you throughout your career and you’ll more likely find those jobs that keep you engaged. Ask questions, look for red flags and hold recruiters accountable.