Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Coaches, Conselors, Recruiters

Quick note on a Q&A item I read in the Wall Street Journal this morning. (To view the article, go to www.careerjournal.com. The complete link is: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB117193763424013221.html?mod=careers_left_column_hs A subscription is required)

For job hunting you might consider enlisting the help of a career coach or counselor. The Journal article talks about some items to consider before signing on with a coach.

Career coaching has been an expanding field in the last few years. Career coaches help people identify career aspirations, identify and minimize personal foibles that could prove detrimental in an interview or on the job, and help you along the way in your career. I recommend researching the background of any coach you are considering. See if they will give you references and make sure you understand their fee structure before moving forward. Make sure you feel completely comfortable with this person. They will be talking about some very frank issues with you, and you want to make sure you can be open and honest with them.

Career counselors and coaches are working directly with you, and are typically paid by the person they are coaching. A recruiter, which is what I am, works to match candidates with companies. Recruiters traditionally are paid by the company that hires the individual. With this difference, the incentive of a recruiter is quite different. A recruiter wins when their candidate gets the job. Recruiters are not as incentivized to help job hunters identify their career path, but instead are always looking for the ideal candidate.

But there is a great reality of how recruiters can be beneficial to job hunters. Recruiters are constantly talking to people who are looking for a job, and also companies that are looking for people. Recruiters tend to know where your next job might be. Also, if you have great skills, a recruiter will be thrilled to work with you because the possibility of placing you is quite high. This means money in the pocket of the recruiter.

Another option is a temporary placement company. Temporary firms work to place people at companies for both short term positions, and increasingly for long temp-to-hire positions. Hiring a temporary is a great way for a company to "try before they buy" and make sure an employee fits in with the company culture, has a strong work ethic, and handles themselves appropriately. This also allows employees to try out an employer before becoming a regular, full time employee. Many, but not all, of the positions are more entry-level, so are a great opportunity for an inexperienced worker to gain experience at a variety of companies.

So when you are planning your career path and are considering employing the help of professionals, keep in mind where you are in your career. A temporary service is great for a career field changer or recent graduate. A counselor is good for someone mulling over where they want to go with their career. A coach is generally best for highly experienced and often management level job hunters who want to plan their next step. A recruiter is good to work with when you have figured out what area you want to work within, and are ready to make the move.

Recruiters, AKA head-hunters, are by no means blood hungry savages--at least not the good ones! Do enlist the help of a recruiter to keep abreast of what's going on out in the job world. My best advice for working with a recruiter is to explain to them your strengths, explain the next job you want, and tell them your position specifics. These specifics include required minimum salary, acceptable commute range, ability to relocate, benefits needed, expected profit sharing, and any related needs. A recruiter should be straightforward with you about your marketability and also how long your job hunt should take. And once you get involved with a recruiter keep them in the loop with what you have going on as well. Every recruiter has great war stories about the perfect candidate who their client was drooling over who just took a job minutes before the recruiter called.

And one last item. Make sure you are comfortable with the level of confidentiality your coach, counselor or recruiter gives you. My first priority with all my candidates is their complete confidence. I never want my actions to adversely affect a person's career. Make sure your career confidant feels the same way.


Richard Jennings said...

You can get free access into that Wall Street Journal article with a netpass from: http://news.congoo.com

This was in several blogs last week.

Amy said...

Thanks for the info. I haven't used that free access, but hope it's helpful for readers.

Anonymous said...

Nice informative article. thanks for sharing and keep sharing such kind of articles, as these articles really helpful for experienced and new comers.
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