General Musing

blaze your trail

Educating Recruiters: Gatekeepers to the HR gatekeepers #jobs #career

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If you are a recruiter reading this this is not an indictment of your profession, but a guide for your clients.

I’m unlike many people who work with recruiters in that I’ve never gotten a job via a recruiter, usually I find something under my own steam. This doesn’t mean that recruiters don’t help me to keep my resumes up to date and my skillset relevant. When a project has finished I often go to appointments set up by recruiters. And there are a number of reasons why I mostly don’t match with what the customer is looking for. So why is this?

  • Recruiters are looking to match keywords not people
  • Recruiters are looking for certificates not knowledge
  • Recruiters are limiting themselves and you
  • Recruiters are selling you, not working for you

Matching Keywords Not People

Java is a good example, recruiters are looking for J2EE. Even when the end customer doesn’t need all the extended parts of J2EE they will skip Java and look for J2EE first. Just look at what comes up with the keyword J2EE when put into Google Sets. Worse is if they call with a .NET position when there are only Linux Java or PHP jobs on the resume because they match the keywords developer or programmer.

Certificates Not Knowledge

Saying you’ve been a RedHat Systems Administrator for the past 5 years is worthless next to a RHCE, even though RedHat recommends “substantial real-world system administration experience.[1] They don’t realize this, so you need to educate them.

Limiting Themselves and You

A good example is when they ask where you have been introduced in the last 12 months. Often enough I have already contacted certain companies within my network, they would rather not introduce you a second time. Unlike many other people I customize my resume for different positions, so although my layout is the same the text is customized for a different position. (I’d advise you to do the same.) I never tell them!

Selling You, Not Working Nor You

You are the product, you are what they are selling. They earn more when they get a better package for you, but they don’t earn anything if they don’t place somebody.


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Recruiters are not dumb people, they are smart, sometimes they even know what they are talking about when it comes to talking about your skills. They are mostly more knowledgeable than the HR gatekeepers for who they are working. They are however not in the job of finding the best match. Recruiters are filling holes in a brickwall, the brick (you) doesn’t need to fit as long as it matches the masonry (company).

You can help them to do their jobs better.

Image source: AttributionNo Derivative WorksSome rights reserved by meahtsingan

Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

July 23, 2009 at 7:32 pm

One Response

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  1. […] my article Educating Recruiters: Gatekeepers to the HR gatekeepers I was not asked to clarify, nor was I put in my place. Julie Holmwood wrote a well augmented piece […]

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