Many job seekers do something that drives me (and other experienced executive recruiters) absolutely bananas: They insist on being the right fit for a job opening for which they are unqualified, and they don’t give up.
Maybe these individuals think they appear strong and proactive in a candidate-driven market. But to recruiters, they seem desperate, and that’s never a good look.
We managed a search recently where a tremendous number of candidates were excited about a C-level, digital agency opportunity. After telling candidates they weren’t a fit, many followed up both via phone and email several times, not quite understanding the role involved more than the position overview we shared with them.
Executive recruiters spend significant time getting to know their hiring teams. We spend an extensive amount of time learning about their culture, personalities and what makes their business successful. We’re trained to pick up on the nuances of these teams and their talents, vision and interpersonal skills. When a candidate doesn’t check all of the boxes to fit a team’s business and culture, we’re in a position to deliver the news they don’t want to hear: “Unfortunately, you’re just not what we’re looking for at this time.”
The truth is, for one career opportunity, only a handful of candidates nationwide are truly qualified. That’s the precise reason we’re hired—to find the needle in the haystack.
In fact, we’re often tasked with persuading executives to entertain a move when leaving their current position wasn’t close to being on their radar. We believe this is how you find the best talent, by pursuing professionals who currently exceed expectations and are likely up for a promotion.
Our hiring teams would be highly disappointed—and we wouldn’t be doing our job as gatekeepers—if the talent we proposed were people convinced they deserve a job that they don’t. We’d be doing our candidates a disservice, too, if we pitched them for positions they can’t possibly get.
At Talentfoot, we want to support the professionals we represent not only through their next job but also through their entire career journey. We study career paths and career mapping for a living, which puts us in a position to think strategically about the right moves for individuals looking to stretch themselves and find ultimate professional and personal fulfilment.
Here are 3 simple ways to succeed with your recruiter:
1. Understand the recruiter must meet the specific needs of the organization he/she represents. If your recruiter needs to make sure 10 different boxes are checked (and they have confirmed this talent and skill-set exists), then don’t argue if they say you’re not right for the role.
Even if you do check all the boxes, and you’re still not being endorsed for the position, there’s a good chance that other executives are scoring higher.
2. Tell your recruiter precisely what you bring to the table. Help them understand your personal value proposition and what sets you apart. Communicate with them regularly, updating them regarding your employment status, skills or relevant parts of your personal life (relocation, etc.).
Be honest, share your motivations as well as your experience. Keep your LinkedIn profile and resume professional, complete, updated, and user-friendly.
3. Be professional, yet personable. Get to know your recruiter as a partner in your flourishing career and invest time in the relationship. It’s their job to understand what you like to do outside the office so they can market you as a strong professional fit and also a good cultural fit for a potential employer.
It’s also a wise idea for you to do the same. Find common ground with your recruiter, show gratitude for their efforts, and build rapport—not just for now, but for the future. Take time to meet them in-person so they can see how you shine, where you might need a boost, and whether you could be a fit for an entirely different opportunity.
Each week, high performing recruiters typically speak with 50 to 60 professionals and receive thousands of resumes. You need to make yourself memorable so when the right job comes along, they immediately think of YOU!
What have you learned about working with a recruiter? Share your ideas here.