Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Working with a Recruiter or Talking with Myself

Yesterday I got a call from a recruiter who was seeking help for a friend in the wine business. This recruiter has been recruiting in a separate technical field for the last 20 years. When her friend returned from an international stint she started to think about how he could find a job in the wine industry. Talking to her on the phone yesterday was a breath of fresh air, and a bit like talking to myself. I noticed some great traits that transfer well to job hunting.

1. Leave a message with the reason for calling, your phone number, and repeat the information. Yes, I've written about it before, but there is an art to leaving a good phone message. Always give your name and reason for the call. Let the person know when you are calling. Then leave your phone number, and if necessary a good time to reach you. Then repeat your name and number. With the wide-spread use of cell phones, bluetooths and call waiting, it isn't unusual for a blank spot to hit right when you are leaving those final digits of your phone number. It might seem trivial, but your phone number is very important to get right if you expect a return call.

2. Be responsive when you get a call back. When you get your message returned, appreciate the call. My contact let me know she was doing some research on WineTalent and explained why she had reached out to me.

3. Be prepared to explain your situation. My recruiter was calling on behalf of a friend, and she quickly caught me up to speed on her search. If you are calling to find out how to work with a recruiter, let them know that. If you are following up on a resume submitted, let them know...etc. A few things that are worth mentioning is if you were referred by a colleague, if you are currently working but looking for a new position, or if you were just laid off. Make your case with the recruiter, concisely.

4. Ask for advice if you want it. Being in the recruitment business, this woman and I look at resumes constantly. She wanted to find out if wine industry resumes were different from other industry resumes, and we discussed it. If you have a burning question or need advice, now is the time to ask. Recruiters are in the business because we love helping people advance their careers. We know what works, and are happy to talk about it. Just ask.

5. Plan next steps. This could be sending a resume, setting up a call for later to discuss options further, or getting references to your recruiter. Make sure you know what your recruiter is looking for, and do it.

6. Schedule a time. This is when I knew I was dealing with a professional. When I advised my contact to have her friend get in touch with me, she scheduled a time with me that worked for both of us. Recruiters are experts at this--nailing down a time when a client and a candidate can interview is crucial to moving the process forward. By doing a "presumptive close" me on a time, I knew when I would be talking to her friend, I was sure to make myself available then. This helps avoid a long game of phone tag. I cannot stress enough how important and helpful this is--try it.

7. Follow up. Nothing can get accomplished if you don't follow through with your side of the equation. If you said you would send a resume, do it. If you are gathering names of references, get those sent along as soon as possible. Success has always come to people I know who are masters of following up on things--myself included.

8. Keep it personal and professional. When I was talking to my fellow recruiter, we were both interested in each others' business while maintaining a professional demeanor. Job hunting and career advancement is a very personal matter. Recruiters understand that, and knowing a bit more about you helps. While we want to know what makes you "tick", you need to make sure you present yourself in a professional light.

9. Network. Yes, I got the call from this recruiter because she had been talking to her friends about her friend's job search. This is networking 101 and crucial to a job search.

Just looked at my watch and it is time for that call that she booked. Gotta Go.

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