It’s that time of year. Students across the country are donning their caps and gowns, picking up their diplomas and heading into the workforce. It’s a daunting moment in anyone’s life. When you realize that the time has come to find a job and earn your own keep for the next 60+ years, it can be more than a little overwhelming. But there are so many people along the way who genuinely want to help you. Parents, relatives, faculty, and career centers are all excellent resources to guide you in the process of finding a new job. But there is one resource you may not really be familiar with yet, the recruiter. Let us introduce you.
The splendid truth is the job market you are entering couldn’t be better. Unemployment is at a record low. What that means for you is that employers are struggling to find good, talented, (and yes, experienced) candidates to fill jobs. When employers need help filling positions, they reach out to specialized, outsourced recruiters. That is where recruiters come in.
So how does it work?
It is important to understand how the recruiting process works in business. It’s very different from campus recruiting. Campus recruiting generally involves a “recruiter” from a company coming to your college and conducting on-site informational interviews and then inviting you to an official company interview if there is mutual interest. But in business there are “third-party”, independent recruiters who work on a contingency basis. Recruiters working on a contingency basis are only paid when a candidate is offered and accepts a position, and there is no cost to you.
The best recruiters will conduct a thorough interview to get to know about you and your goals. With the inside knowledge and details of the clients, the recruiter is then able to match you up with the opportunities that are the best fit for you. After reviewing all the position details, you and your recruiter can agree which companies to present you to. Acting as your agent, he or she will create a formal presentation, highlighting your attributes as they pursue the professional interview with the potential employer for you.
A recruiter can be a valuable ally in helping you get your foot in the door at some top companies. They spend years building relationships with the HR departments in these companies and often have a personal connection.
The initial interview conducted with the recruiter can often leap-frog you over other candidates who are only applying online. While having a recruiter on your side can sometimes expedite the interview process with the hiring manager or corporate recruiter, be prepared for the potential long haul. The days on end of silence and not hearing back can be frustrating when you go at the job search alone, so you will appreciate the extra layer of communication you will have with your recruiter.
Know what you want and go for it!
Knowing what you want to do as you embark on your career is truly critical. It’s unfortunate, but today’s employment market is hyper-focused on past work experience. So, if you want to go into pharma someday, don’t start out by taking a job at a non-profit. If you want to get into a specific industry look at temporary or temp-to-perm positions in the field. Be prepared to step on the bottom rung of the ladder in order to start your climb. The starting salary for entry-level positions may be low and not what you expected, but you will be in your field of choice and the money will come with time. If you can’t find what you want right away in business, consider taking a position in hospitality and keep searching until you get into the industry you want. Don’t settle.
There are specialty recruiters in almost every field today including tech, finance, healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing — the list is endless. Specialty recruiters have the connections to help you get your start in a particular industry. Cultivating a personal relationship with one or two of them is a smart strategy. Over time, as your career matures, a specialty recruiter who knows you personally will become an invaluable resource to advancement. When you are ready to take a step up in your career, they can help you discreetly find a new position. Even better, as you build experience, they will bring opportunities directly to you for consideration. That’s when you know…you’ve arrived.
Congratulations, Graduates! The world is your oyster and a recruiter by your side is the pearl.