What a recruiter is really looking for
A great suit? A strong handshake? What is a recruiter really looking for when they meet you?
What they’re looking for is you. Not the ‘you’ in your CV but the other one. The one with motivations, successes, strengths, weaknesses. The real you.
Of course they’re looking for the basic essentials: your skills, experience and whether these are a good match for the current opportunities they have at hand and the organisations they work with. But much of this can be gauged from reading your CV or LinkedIn profile and what recruiters really want is the information that lies beyond that, the elements that have a much greater bearing on recommending you for a role.
To match you to a role you will love, and have a strong chance of securing and succeeding in, recruiters need to understand far more about you than what’s on your CV. They need insight into your work preferences, career plans and motivations – the kind of things that get you out of bed in the morning and the kind of things that don’t. Why? Because it’s only with this knowledge that they can match your strengths and expectations to a role that’s best suited for you. Because the highest indicator of future success in a role, according to the Hudson Performance Driver Model, is not your “know how” or knowledge but instead your “want to” or motivational fit.
And that means that in order to find you the best job that you will really enjoy and where you will really perform, a recruiter needs to understand you: what drives you, what motivates you, what you want.
So how do you show a recruiter the real ’you’, in a professional sense? Here are five ways to give a recruiter the genuine insights they need to know, in order to help you and help build your career.
- Be clear about what you want
A lot of candidates feel they should position themselves as generally as possible when they meet a recruiter, but that’s actually not helpful. It means the recruiter will be limited in finding you the right opportunities because they simply don’t know enough about you to know exactly where you would excel. The clearer you are about what you want, the more you will stand out from the crowd and the easier it will be for a recruiter to find and propose the right opportunity to match your career aspirations.
- Outline your key successes
Ensure you explain not only what you’ve done in previous roles but your key successes. This gives your recruiter concrete examples of your achievements that they can tell directly to clients. In my experience, when we have a candidate for whom we can quote a concrete example of their success, there is always a higher chance they will get through to the client interview.
- Highlight your niche skills
Most recruiters will understand the basics of your role. But by highlighting niche skills you immediately distinguish yourself and become more memorable and marketable. So if you’re a change manager with expertise in M&A, detail this. Or if you’re a marketer with specific expertise in developing content marketing strategies, detail that. The more information you share about your niche skills the more a recruiter can propose you for both generalist and more specialised roles. It gives you a far greater chance of hearing about more opportunities.
- Be candid about what you do and don’t enjoy at work
Hudson research continuously shows that cultural fit within a team and organisation is a key indicator of an individual’s success. The more you feel at home in a team, buoyed by the work environment and aligned with the company’s values, the more likely you are to achieve to your potential. So when you’re speaking to a recruiter, tell them about the kind of workplaces you do and don’t enjoy; the more they understand this the more they can put you forward to organisations where you will thrive.
- Be upfront and honest
Think about the toughest question a recruiter could ask you and prepare an honest and professional answer. If there is a gap in your profile or you’ve already left your role, it’s better to be honest about this from the start because it is likely to come out in the interview process, anyway. If you’ve already approached an employer directly, let your recruiter know. And if you’re thinking of exaggerating your current salary be careful – some employers ask for proof of this with a pay slip. Whatever the scenario, honesty is the best policy: be upfront and direct about your situation and most people will appreciate your candour.