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Recruitment Secret 'You Are Not Important to the Recruiter' and What You Can Do About It & the offer

Updated on February 8, 2011

Its true.
I am sorry, truly sorry.

If you just read the statement once you would feel I was nuts.
The recruiter gets paid (and in some cases, exceptionally well paid) because of you.
You are good, you get selected and hence his business thrives.
Why wouldn't you be important to him? ridiculous.

Now, hear me out.

1. There are just too many candidates
In a recent job posting for an HR Manager position, I received over 4000 applications.
This, after being very clear, that it was not a fortune 500 company, did not pay top dollar and has no international operations.
imagine the response for postings from the best of the best.
there are just too many people out there, with your qualifications,  your experience, your drive, your ambition and your results.
a tad too many.
That is one part of the problem, and I will tell you what to do about it.

2. The company pays the recruiter.
The Best person for the position is who the company says is best for the position.

I was once told by the company boss, that I should look for round faced candidates.
yes, you read that right.
In his experience (considerable, vast and successful) he had come to believe that round faced people are more dedicated and nicer as human beings.

There are similar comments made about companies.  For the Oberoi's they say, you should be tall, fair and a punjabi. If you are all these things, the rest will fall in place.
some companies have a penchant for defense kids (children of defense forces personnel), others like to recruit from certain institutes (not without good reason for some, but for personal reasons for others) and still others on the marital status (marriage is supposed to slow you down till a certain age & position.  Being single is a sign that you may not be stable or committed enough  and so for senior positions, people with families are preferred)

The point I am trying to make here is that, for the recruiter its about the company, the hiring manager, the operational manager and the finance man who will sign his cheque. When you read the posting or the job profile you may think you are the best qualified and it may be true too, but that is of little relevance.  You may not fit into the off-the-record parameters set by the company.

3. There is no loyalty anymore

recruiters get paid only if their candidate sticks in the company.  some blue-chip companies can bargain this 'free replacement period' to 1 year or more.
What is the 'free replacement period'?  If you are send by a recruiter, selected by the company and you quit within a stipulated period, the recruiter has to find a replacement for free.
the recruiter will have to spend a lot of time and energy if you quit within that time.

today, and I am generalizing here, the average time spent in a job is less than 2 years.  some people quit multiple time within the first 3 years of their career and some leave for the silliest reasons.

every time you leave for something better, the recruiter has to work twice as hard to make up to the client.

The other part of loyalty is that as a recruiter one cannot work with competing brands, but that doesn't apply to candidates (most candidates).  So while you as a candidate can move from one brand to another, the consultant has a tough time doing the same.

4. The best candidates are sometimes the most difficult to manage

They demand more - as they should, have multiple offers - as they should, and are more likely to progress to another company faster - as they should.  All this puts them against the interests of the recruiter.  the recruiter wants someone who would love the first offer the company makes, looks and behaves like a stable candidate (see point 3 above) and will not be poached that actively by other recruiters.

Now, what to do about this?

Now that you know, what can you do?

As an aspirant, you absolutely want to grow, need a job or are looking for a change.

Here are my suggestions based on where you are on the career ladder

Green – You are a fresher just out of college/ hotel management school.

For most recruiters you are non-salable product. Companies are loath to pay for freshers.

You do 1 of two things:

1. Join a career management service from a recruiter. Now that you are paying them, you are important to them.

2. Avoid recruiters and approach company HR directly.  Walk to the company, call, drop resumes, find contacts etc.

Blue – You have some experience, but there is nothing in it that is extra-ordinary

  • decide the company you want to work with
  • spend some time if possible looking at the profiles of some of the people who already work in that company.  Look for similarities or trends.  Is there a particular college/ Institute that is favored? Do you have similar sets of skills, exposure or attributes?
  • do an internet search (look for job listings, use job search engines) or ask your network for the consultant who recruit for that company
  • Contact the consultant/ recruiter and offer to meet or discuss why you are suited for that company.  Use the research you have done on the company employees to offer the points that give you the 'halo effect' (we like people, like us)

some words of caution:

  • do not ask for a new position within 2 years of your current job, until unless you have a very good reason to do it ( marriage, education completed, new skills learnt, family addition, current company downsizing  etc)
  • do not assume you are the best candidate for the job.

Purple - You are a hot-shot. You are doing extremely well and are in a good position with a good company. things can only get better.

  • reign in your attitude.  you may be good, but as you can read above, that is not the best thing for the recruiter.
  • do not approach recruiters. if you are that good, you will and should be head-hunted.
  • do not offer to meet and discuss every opportunity that comes your way.  exclusivity is the key.
  • tell the recruiter what it is that would interest you.  now the recruiter will work for you.   he would either try and look for something that can be sold to you or not bother you at all.  both ways, you are now special in his/her mind.
  • always, always display your affection for your current company.  talk well about your current employers all the time, it adds to your charm. The message you are sending out is 'I am happy, this place is great, your offer has to be something really special to take me away from here'.
  • don't job hop.  Its not a good sign anywhere.


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    • profile image

      James 5 years ago

      Terrible grammar/spelling and wording but not a bad read. Interesting points. :)

    • prabhjotbedi profile image

      Prabhjot Bedi 7 years ago from chandigarh

      @Afan thank you. I am gald you found it useful

    • profile image

      afan 7 years ago

      this is really good advice. wow!