Before I start let me say that the nature of recruiting has dramatically shifted in the last 20 years. Some of it is due to technology, but much of it is due to ''specialization''. Twenty years ago most recruiters worked a ''local desk''. In other words their searches were confined to a 50-100 mile radius. A few recruiters worked a regional desk, with searches out to about 250 miles. (An interesting side note. Research has indicated the bulk of an individual’s contacts are within a 250-mile radius.) There were a very few that did searches nationwide. Also recruiters worked a ''general desk'', i.e., sales, IT, finance, etc. Today recruiters are much more specialized, such as sales within the CRM space, HTML programmers, etc. Because of this recruiters work a much broader geographic area, many even a national desk. Many times you will see that recruiters don’t even work anything in their own backyard. So here are some suggestions.
Network with friends, peers, and former bosses in the same niche. Many of them have worked with recruiters and been placed by them. In fact many managers that do a decent amount of hiring have 2 or 3 recruiters they like to turn to that might not even be on the ''company approved recruiter list''. These are usually the very talented recruiters that get the job done and the hiring manager can rely on.
Contact HR people, especially ones at companies you might have just been laid off from. These are the people that deal with recruiters on a daily basis. They will typically have a list of several recruiters and can tell you the ones they have had the best success with. If you have just recently been laid off from that company there is also a little guilt you can typically use to get some recruiter names.
Check with professional organizations you are a member of. The best recruiters know a professional organization is many times a big untapped resource. It is also a much quicker way to the people with the specialties they are looking for. There are a couple of ways to use this resource. First of all if the professional organization does job postings for recruiters (which at the national level are many times charged for and therefore means the recruiter has the financial success to be willing to pay for the postings) you can find recruiters in your field through the job postings. Many times the organization will also have a list of recruiters. All you have to do is ask for it.
Subscribe to high end ''jobs organizations'' such as Ladders and Execunet. I don’t know as much about Execunet but Ladders has a list of recruiters you can search under I believe.
Use LinkedIn!!! Here is another great use for LinkedIn. Do a search under recruiter and your field, i.e. recruiter and telecom sales. Make sure you put the and in the search not just a comma. You can refine this search as much as you like. Some of these recruiters will have direct links to their company’s web sites. Others you might have to Google.
Do a general web search. Now obviously you will receive several hundred thousand hits. So again, start narrowing it down by using your search criterion.
Use specialty boards. If there are specialty boards, like Ladders, Career Crossroads, etc or even boards just within your niche search them for recruiter contacts. Many times they are found in the job postings
Look at trade magazines. I had a friend who a number of years ago asked me if I knew any recruiters in the restaurant/food industry, the industry she was in. I suggested she look at the top trade publications, one of which at the time was Restaurant News. She found a couple recruiters, and subsequently a job, through that source. Many times these trade magazines will also run jobs boards. I know at least three in the call center industry that do.
The Kennedy Book of Recruiters. This is the bible of recruiters. In their own words: ''Published since 1971, the famous "Red Book" lists 16,500 recruiters at 5,700+ search firms''. Visit their web site. The book costs approximately $60 (Most libraries have a copy) and an on-line subscription is probably about the same.
Join Gray Hair Management. If you don’t know this organization, they are a very good national networking group and the lifelong membership is insanely cheap. They have all kinds of recruiters posting jobs. Tell them I sent you. It won’t get you anything cheaper but it might get me a free book.
Use recruiter networks such as Top Echelon, NPA, and First Interview. There are others as well. The three listed are candidate friendly, free and allow you to search for recruiters as well as post your resume. They are also confidential so you do not have to worry about your resume getting out on the Internet.
If you start thinking creatively you can probably come up with many additional ideas. Remember to research the recruiter and organization. Look closely at their web site. Typically it will tell you a lot about the recruiter and organization. Select 5-8 to begin with. Don’t blast your resume all over the place and certainly don’t BCC it to a list. Recruiters know you are going to work with more than one firm. You don’t have to remind them. As a lot we are also a bit paranoid. If we see something that is BCC’ed we automatically assume it has been sent to 10,000 other recruiters (which is very time consuming to do with the list limitations most ISPs have. Finally simply ask them if you are somebody they can or want to work with or not. Don’t be whiny or snively, just direct and to the point. You might just get a no response, which tells you it is time to e-mail another recruiter. And for heaven’s sake stay away from the ''resume blasting'' services unless of course you want to be called for every job you are way overqualified for or don’t want.
Here’s Wishing You Terrific Hunting,
About the Author
Bill Gaffney has had 17 years of experience as an executive recruiter and a career coach. He can be reached at 937-567-5267 or firstname.lastname@example.org.