Know When to Walk Away, Know When to Run

Because I’m your career mentor, I always read The Workologist column in the Sunday New York Times.  This past Sunday had an interesting question from a reader about the behavior of a recruiter.  Check it out…

While this story is bizarre, and not the norm, it gives me the chance to get into why I think that job seekers should never court recruiters.

Yes, recruiters can help you find a job, I once was placed by a recruiter.  But remember recruiters work for companies, not job seekers.  If you are contacted by a recruiter and the job interests you, go for it.  But don’t waste a lot of time seeking out recruiters in the hopes that they will actively look for jobs for you.  It just doesn’t work this way.

The best way to generate interviews is to follow this simple method.

  • Identify your core competency.
  • Find companies who need someone with that competency, and for whom you would like to work.
  • Tailor your cover letter and resume to appeal to hiring managers in those companies.
  • Use your personal and LinkedIn network to find and build relationships with people who will introduce you to hiring managers in those companies.

If a recruiter can introduce to a hiring manager in one of your targeted companies, go for it.  But remember that recruiters fill about 3.2% of all jobs.  About 45% of jobs get filled through employee referrals. The common sense point here?  Simple.  Spend your time cultivating relationships with people who work for companies where you would like to work.

Your career mentor,


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  1. Phil Blaydes says:

    Hi Bud, any data to back up your 3.2% assertion here?

  2. Phil:
    I found these data when I was doing a search on the topic for the HR Management class I teach. I don’t have the citation right at hand. Sorry.

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