Thursday, July 7, 2016

Recruiters work for Employers- NOT YOU.

I wrote about this recently on this blog (May 17th).

I'm adding more because I'll soon be a live case study on how a recruiter can put THE CANDIDATE'S best interest first (and their own, of course) while still effectively managing the hiring company expectations, requirements and placement fees.

In the coming weeks, I will be contacting many of the top 10% (+/-) in Construction Management-or at least the top 10% from profile appearances. Appearances meaning stability and tenure, career progression, what I can gather about past project performance and specialized training and education.

It's my belief the industry's top performers want to take charge in managing their careers- "managing" meaning understanding their value in the open market. This includes commensurate and fair compensation, avenues to promotion inside and outside their current organization and reasonable expectations of a life outside of work. It also means weaning certain professionals from the endless noise that is LinkedIn. For every nugget of value on LinkedIn, there are 99 nuggets of complete horsehit.

The best time to understand your place in the market is when you are on top. Like everything else of value, it requires some work on your part (and plenty on mine). Don't wait on your network of industry friends and/or professional contacts to hand-deliver something for your exclusive benefit- not advisable for driven people who claim to know what they want from their work.

I wrote previously how the recruiter, regardless of industry, is acting in the best interest of the hiring company- no exceptions. The agency recruiter is always a 3rd party representative for the company doing the hiring. When a recruiter introduces you to a company for a position you have a legitimate interest in, regardless of how strong a track record you have, the hiring company has a leg up. The company expects and often demands your salary history from the recruiter who, in turn, requests it from you.  This is a HUGE advantage to the hiring company before and during any type of negotiations regarding what your pay could be.The hiring company also expects the recruiter to present more than just you for the position. The company often has additional agency recruiters presenting candidates for the position. The hiring company's directive, whether spoken or not is: "get me the best person at the best (lowest) price".   None of this should be new information to you if you've been down this road before.

Having a 3rd party agency recruiter present you for an open position to an employer is not how you, an elite producer, want to maximize and leverage years of exemplary work.

Because companies' hiring hold the cash does not mean they have all the leverage. But that is how the system works- this is how it ALWAYS has worked- regardless of what is being said.

I've had some smart people tell me that the system can't be changed because of who is holding the money.

Let's look where it's the talent that has the agent and not the entity holding the money.

The top earners in high visibility fields such as entertainment and sports have agents.

I wish I could say we're talking about the same dynamics here- BUT WE ARE NOT. The world's elite athletes and entertainers have something to offer that virtually nobody on the planet can replicate. In real-world professions, no matter how exceptional you are, there are always at least a handful who can perform close to, equal to or even beyond your output. This is where we're told the candidate agency model in untenable.

So what's the good news? For openers, the candidate agent already exists but NOT by design. That is a separate blog post. The net of it is recruiters are unable to recruit the best of the best. And in the rare instance they've got the ear (and resume) of an elite producer, they typically blast the resume to the hiring managers they've worked with. That's all they do. They spray-n-pray..and hope someone answers. Good grief.

Back to the good news...let's change that to great news. 90% of your peers are incapable of your production and profitability. The ones who supposedley are- what are they doing to ensure their employer (or another employer) is providing them what they have earned and desire? Almost all of them are doing nothing, Only so many hours in a day and (seemingly) all of theirs are accounted for.

So your real competition is not even in the game.

It all comes down to smart positioning and sequencing in how you present yourself to the market. That and your agent busting their ass to get the right doors opened.

So how does it work? How does one use "an agent" but not participate in the system described above? That's what I do. Though I have some marketing panache and a rigorous methodology, it's mostly just hard work. If you've read this far, your retinas need a rest. I'd like to leave you with a few things that took me a long time to learn- as a candidate in a previous life and later as a recruiter.

Recruiters who tell you what THEY want (to fill a position for their client), tread lightly.

Be VERY judicious when discussing your salary history and requirements. Recruiters ask you for that information early and often- for the express benefit of their client(s).

Market your track record and credentials, NOT YOUR NAME. Your anonymity is critical and needs to be kept as long as possible- ideally revealed only when you come face to face with a hiring manager. Sounds improbable in an industry where people know each other- but it's not.

Don't be fooled by recruiters who boast of all of their "relationships". WHO KNOWS WHAT..AND WHEN DO THEY KNOW IT. That's what companies care about in terms of recruiters. They're not hiring someone because Recruiter Ricky is a swell fellow.


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