When and how to leave your employer for that next step in your career is a difficult process for many. Timing, career path, the employment market, what your friends are doing…all weigh in on a decision. But the most emotional reaction you commonly use to make a decision is once you are ‘fed up, unhappy, ready to quit today’; this becomes the moment most people reach out to a group of recruiting agencies trying to vie for your attention and place you in a job. While this is a path many have taken, results tend to be mixed. Why? Usually it is due to the fact that you ran away from a bad situation to the first company that offered you a job. Remember dating in college? Same thing.
My suggestion is that you meet with a recruiter when you are happy and not looking to leave. Understanding that a good recruiter will have your best interests in mind and therefore they will work with you to find that ‘next great step’ in your career path, vs. a ‘get me out of here’ job. A good recruiter will help you understand what mindset you are in before discussing opportunities with you and tailor a search based upon your wants and needs. Great recruiters accept the word “no” and strive to understand the ‘why’ behind a ‘no’ in order to bring you opportunities that are a ‘yes’ so as to help you grow in your career and actually earn the fee they charge employers vs. throwing a bunch of jobs at you in hopes finding one that will stick. A great recruiter focuses on relationship vs. transaction, and therefore focuses on you and your career path instead of calling to try to get information from you for their use. A great recruiter is someone you offer information to rather than being asked for it (repeatedly). Finally, a great recruiter is someone that follows through on a promised action(s).
Your first step is to identify a recruiter to partner with on your career path decisions as a valued adviser. If you don’t have a referred person to contact, reaching out to a firm that specializes in your area is important. Ask to meet and understand that most will want you to come into their office in order to ‘meet the team’; make sure that you are able to meet as many in the office as possible. If that does not work due to your work schedule early or late in the day for coffee is acceptable. Set a time that works for your schedule as the recruiter is also busy; be respectful of the recruiter’s time much like they will be respectful of yours.
Once you set a time to meet; prepare. A good recruiter will have a plan and part of that plan is to listen to you: What are your wants/needs in a next step? What is your ten year plan? What type of leader to you want to work for? All are common questions. Common answers are “I want a raise, a great boss, and better work life balance”. Never has a candidate come to me and said “I want a lower salary, horrible work environment, and to live in my cube”. Prepare for the interview by doing research. Discussing opportunities as examples of types of opportunities is great…listening to job openings in hopes of finding a fit is not. Prepare for your interview with a recruiter much like you would with an employer, as we are extensions of our clients. Ask good questions…not “who do you know/work with”; instead ask “How will you get to work for me?”, “What is your method for taking me to market?”, and “How do I compare to other candidates in the marketplace?” are great questions. It’s better to get a fair view of who you are as a candidate than to just blindly submit resumes.
After your meeting with a recruiter, set up a follow-up phone call a few days later to check in. In the interim, determine if this agency is the one to work with. If you are a great candidate you probably only need one or two agencies to work with; if you are a candidate with a fuzzy background (many jobs in a short time-frame, light skills, heavy salary for comparable skill sets) you may have to work with more. A great recruiter will give you the feedback to determine what type of candidate you are relative to the marketplace and also advise you on what you need to do in order to find that ‘next step’, even if that best path does not involve working with a recruiter. Honesty and genuine caring about your career vs. making a fee is what differentiates recruiters from one another.
After all, do you want to partner with someone in the long run of your career path as a trusted adviser, or do you want to work with someone looking to make a buck off of your job change? A great recruiter is one that not only takes your call when you are not offering anything, but more importantly is one that continues to reach out to you when you are happy and not looking. If you’d like to chat further and determine if Oggi is a team that will do this for your search, call today at 612-333-6444.
So you’ve chosen a recruiting partner. What’s next?
Part II: Building Rapport