How Recruiters Can Tap You Into the Hidden Job Market

by Versique

When I meet new people and they find out I’m a recruiter, they often assume it’s my job to find people jobs. Well, that’s not exactly true. While there are services out there that help people find jobs, the role of an agency/search firm recruiter is actually to help client companies find talent. Rather than being paid by candidates to help them discover new opportunities, recruiters are paid by client companies to help them find the most qualified people for their jobs – from both a skill and culture perspective.

In order to do that, a recruiter might speak with 50 candidates to find the right person who will ultimately receive the offer for the role. So, the reality of each candidate I speak with getting placed is not quite realistic, at least not in the short-term. That being said, there is a lot of benefit to connecting with well-connected recruiters – especially in the long-term!

In order to make the most out of the connection with your recruiter, you’ll want to change your mindset from, “What are you doing for me right now?” to “What can we do for each other?”

Recruiters, who are specialized, like me, spend 40-50 hours every week talking to people who do similar things to what you do. Your industry. Your competition. Your future company. Thus, we are bound to know someone who, at some point in your career, you’d like an introduction to. It might be a company you are interested in, or access to intel that could benefit your future career search.

That being said, I know it’s hard to focus on the long-term when you’re looking for a new career opportunity right now. When you’re in that situation, your focus is on today. Right now. Short term. I get it. But I also encourage you to shift your mindset to think about it from a recruiter’s perspective:

1. Have you truly impressed the recruiter you’re talking to, or are you in the mindset that it is the recruiter’s job to find you a job?

2. Have you asked the recruiter how you rank against others he or she has recently placed?

3. Have you offered up references that can speak to your strong performance and work ethic?

4. Do you know if your recruiter is making proactive calls on your behalf?

That last question is a crucial one. In fact, I’d consider it a little secret in my business: If you are that good at what you do, we will make proactive calls on your behalf to try to place you in your next role. Part of our job is to find new clients, and what better way to find new clients than by representing a rockstar candidate who has either helped make a company boatloads of money, saved a company boatloads of money, or improved a process that has either made or saved boatloads of money. You get the point. Does what you share with your recruiter impress them to the point that they want to proactively network on your behalf?

I recently met one of these rockstars and made several calls on her behalf. It just so happened that one of the companies I mentioned her to called me back, wanted to meet her, and several conversations later, created a role for her. This is what I call tapping into the hidden job market. Good recruiters can uncover opportunities that the general public doesn’t know about. Ask the recruiter you’re working with how he or she taps into the hidden job market, and then make a judgment call for yourself. Is this someone you think is good at his or her job? Are they worthy of representing you?

Bottom line: Although it’s not a recruiter’s job to find you a job, the career search process is a collaborative effort, and it’s important to make solid connections with recruiters you trust who will work on your behalf…because you’ve impressed them! Take a moment to think about it…have you impressed your recruiter to the point that he or she will want to make proactive calls on your behalf?

Photo credit: George Marks

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