When people find out what I do for a living, I am always asked the same question – the conversation goes something like this. I say that I identify and source candidate talent. “You mean you’re a headhunter?” is their first response – and this is usually followed up by a statement like, “I don’t get it. I have a friend who is always being recruited and I never get a call. How come some people are always on a recruiter’s radar?”
It’s a fair question and a good one. It does seem that there are those special people who always seem to get the best job or are trying out a new venture. Recruiters want to contact you, they don’t typically want to you to contact them. That’s because they are always on the look out for specific skills, keywords, job titles and experience. Some professions are highly desirable so recruiters are always banging down the doors of those candidates just because they have the right title. I specialize in Executive Retained Search, Nonprofit and Life Sciences, so I’m always connecting with people who are Heads of Clinical Research & Development, Directors of Medical Affairs, Medical Science Liaisons or Chief Administrative Officers. But if you are not one of these, how can the average career professional get noticed by a Recruiter?
You Need to Assess Your Own Marketability
To do this, perform two types of searches. First pretend you are looking to hire your job title and industry. Do a LinkedIn search – how do others with your title and experience stack up against you? How does your profile compare to theirs? Is their headline better, what about their professional summary? Now go to a job board, search for your job title and industry. Are you using the keywords that are in those ads in your own job description? How do the job postings match up against your resume? You need to know if the talent that companies are seeking equates well with what you have to offer. – And, if you have adequately described your skills and experience in a way that is desirable to recruiters and employers.
When did you Last Update your LinkedIn Profile?
87% of recruiters use LinkedIn – more than Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Snap Chat combined. Take a good look at your profile. Have you added new coursework, new software, noted that you attended recent business events or incorporated new buzzwords trending in your industry into your descriptions? If your profile photo is dated, change it! Make sure it is just your headshot, not you next to the ear of your significant other who is sort of cropped out. Put a profile image behind your photo, maybe something that represents something a little personal and intriguing – that photo of you skydiving or a favorite vacation spot (scenic, not family). Read the job description and duties you have provided for every position listed in your timeline. Start posting updates in your activity feed – share content you find interesting. Continuously add to and refine your network to include people who will enhance your professional credibility and lead to others who may see you come up in searches or shared posts.
Have a Current Resume Available
There is nothing worse than hearing from a recruiter and your resume is old! Keep yours fresh and up to date and be ready at a moment’s notice. Make sure it’s compelling and tells what you have done in quantifiable, meaningful terms.
Monitor Your Digital Footprint
Recruiters sometimes use social media tools to find the passive candidate (someone not actively or overtly job hunting) which you probably are. Remember that a good recruiter can find anything they want to find. You want to make it easy to find you, but you want to make sure they find the Professional You, not the Party You. Make sure that your profile on any of the popular sites is up to date and cannot be perceived negatively in any way – be it a photo, comment or something where you’ve been tagged. Digital dirt can move you quickly off the radar screen.
Don’t be Too Easy!
If you do get a LinkedIn message, screen the recruiter and don’t let a lunch or dinner offer persuade you to immediately deal with him or her. It’s the hard-to-get-candidate that will have the best recruiters chasing them and will find the best positions. Some recruiters like the thrill of the chase – the too easy candidate looses out. I spoke to someone recently who had just changed jobs using a recruiter and he said that for every ten LinkedIn connection invitations he received from recruiters, he typically accepted four. His current and past titles, “Staff Accountant” and “Accounting Manager,” garnered him the most interest. When he realized that, he said he made a point to craft and hone his job descriptions using words used by the recruiters in their messages to him – because he learned those were the most current in-demand skills in his field. When one recruiter finally sent him a message about a position that would be a good next step, he was ready to move forward.
Which One is Different than the Rest?
People think recruiters are paid to find the needle in the haystack when in reality, their goal is to find the superior needle in a pack of needles – the sharpest, strongest, most versatile, best one for the job. It’s kind of a crazy game – being elusive enough to make a recruiter pursue you, but being findable too because you stand out from the all the rest. With a little effort, reflection and online homework , you can do it. Good luck!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lori Sin-Rossini, CSP, is the Director of Research and Recruitment for LLoyd Staffing where she specializes in the Life Sciences and C-Suite/Leadership sectors. She joined LLoyd in 1994 and leads a team responsible for recruiting candidates at all levels and industries throughout North America. Lori places heavy emphasis on targeting the passive candidate and is well versed in cold call prospecting, competitive intelligence and referral techniques through social media networking sites. Prior to joining LLoyd, Lori spent 5 years as an HR Generalist/Recruiter for St. Charles Hospital on Long Island. She is a certified Personnel Consultant and a Certified Staffing Professional with a Bachelors in Human Resources.