Job Search Tip: Asking The Wrong Question in Networking

Here’s a question I am asked regularly that I don’t like:

Do you know a recruiting in abc industry (or xyz profession, or this city, or that state)?

It seems like a good question, right?  I mean, recruiters help people find jobs, right?  Here are four reasons I don’t like this question:

  • Many times I’m asked about recruiters in a city or state… I think about all the recruiters I’ve come to know locally.  None of them will give you (or me) the time of day unless you are the right fit for an opening they have, or you are hard-to-get talent they know they will be able to place.  In other words, they don’t care about you… and,
  • Their job is NOT to find you a job.  Their job is to fill openings for their clients, which happen to be the hiring companies.  Get that?  You are not the client, you are what they call a “candidate.”
  • Recruiters know a lot of people, that is true.  Keith Ferrazzi, in Never Eat Alone, names “headhunters” as “power connectors.”  This is really important.   However, my experience with recruiters is most are so busy, and so focused on working for their client, they are not helpful in making introductions.  Yes, they know everyone.  No, they won’t introduce you, unless they are compelled.  How do you compel them?  Keep reading…
  • Most people who ask me this question want an email address or phone number, so they can then send a resume to the recruiter.  Is this compelling?  No.  Not when recruiters receive hundreds of resumes each day.  I don’t care how good you think you are, your resume is not going to magically rise to the top of their list just because you are awesome.  You need to develop a relationship with the recruiter, which can take weeks or months… not just throw another resume in their inbox.

I do have a few recruiters in my network list who will help job seekers, and bend over backwards for them.  I love these recruiters, and really appreciate what they are doing.  They realize that treating a candidate right today might mean making a placement tomorrow… so they nurture all of their networks.  If you can find one of these recruiters you are lucky – make sure you give to that recruiter to nurture the relationship.

Also, I guess you *can* have something land in an inbox and have it make an impression – check out Harry Joiner’s (aka, The Marketing Headhunter) blog post titled 10 Reasons Why This Cover Letter Rocks.

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