How NOT to approach a recruiter – a rant

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How NOT to approch a recruiter – What you should NOT say.

This is how NOT to approach a recruiter: every so often I get an email that says “Dear Recruiter, Here is the link to my Profile/resume.  Find me a job. From (name)”* (from a construction person from India as I discovered when I looked him up)  or “I am back on the market. Let me know if you have a search going on that matches my background”* from a programmer.

How rude!  No please or thank you, even. And no notion of what sort of jobs I fill. 

How lazy!  No introduction, nothing about even what industry they are in, nothing about what they really want, nothing about what their next job possibly would be titled.

But even the polite ones within the industries I work in can be off-putting, “thanks for accepting my linked in connection request and I am desperately looking for a suitable position in California area in Biotech & Pharmaceutical field. Please let me know if can expect some help from you in my job search.”*  And spelling counts.

How arrogant!  What makes them the gods’ gift to me or my clients? 

I am a person, not an online catalog of jobs; I don’t have a connection to every job in every industry and company in the world.   Please treat me as a person and use the manners your mother taught you.  Please and thank you really are the “magic words”; no one is too good to use them.

I cannot read your mind and I am very busy. 

Make it easy for me.  Introduce yourself: your name, your last title or “what you do”, your industry, your preferred “niche” and geography, but briefly.  How would you introduce yourself to me at a party at your cousin’s?  Ask about what sort of jobs I fill – for instance, I never fill programmer roles, but I do fill biologist jobs.  I don’t usually fill construction roles (although I have in the past).  I do fill roles for scientists, managers, clinical trials, marketing, translational medicine, etc. Very specific roles with very specific skill sets.

If all of these things match (your industry, skills, etc. and my industries and niche), then we can move to the next step, developing a connection and relationship.

Some recruiters with a very specific niche keep a “stable” of candidates and move them from job to job.  These are the people with whom they have established a good, solid, relationship.  Most of us have a broader niche and don’t expect to place you more than once or perhaps twice.

Some (perhaps most) recruiters rarely have the same search twice

Really great people with whom they have established a relationship will not likely be needed for the particular job that the recruiter is currently working on.  However, such a search may start tomorrow. 

You see, recruiters don’t actually have the jobs or the pain of an unfilled job. Recruiters have “job orders” or “searches”.  The hiring managers and their teams are the ones who are hurting because the job is unfilled, no one has the specific skills needed and someone is missing from the team. Recruiters get a job order about the time that the job is posted but after the hiring manager has asked his staff if they know anyone to fill it.

So what are recruiters to you? If you would like to begin a relationship with me, please do email me at or

To learn what works best for a bioscience job search, click here

*actually received email and LinkedIn messages.

A recruiter works, by definition, for the hiring company

Job search  A recruiter works, by definition, for the hiring company as that is who pays them

Most recruiters don’t have time to work with candidates and a candidate really can’t “hire a recruiter”.  You can hire a coach and you can work with an agency.  But it has been illegal for an agency to charge you for “finding you a job”, especially if they don’t fulfill that promise. 

I cannot bring myself to simply ignore really great people with excellent skill sets for whom I don’t currently have a potential role, nor those who “came in second” for jobs I do have.  So I have been “giving advice” or casually coaching these people for years.  I started writing this blog and sending out a free newsletter.  Now I’m teaching classes in how to manage your own career, find jobs through your network and really maintain your career network.  I’d love to have you join me.  

You can get more information about the free class and sign up here

I’ll post more about the paid classes if I get enough interest.  Tell me you are interested by signing up for the free class or emailing me at

For a free initial job search strategy coaching call, please do schedule a call here.

Job Search Myth #1: Recruiters


recruitersThe Myth: Recruiters are the key to getting your next great job

People spend valuable time reaching out to recruiters with the expectation that the recruiter will gladly (and with no cost or effort from the candidate) find them the job of their dreams.

The Truth: Recruiters only fill maybe 5% of jobs and no one recruiter knows all the jobs that you would think are the ones for you. The chances of any one recruiter having your job at the time that you need it (not 6 months ago or 3 years from now) are nanoscopic.  And even less if the recruiter does not specialize in your industry and niche.

You may be thinking of a job search strategy or career coach. These professionals are paid by the candidate (you) to teach you how to not need a recruiter and how to position yourself as the best possible person for the job. You may just have a few questions or you may need a full program.

No one person knows all the jobs there are. And you don’t want all the jobs there are, just the one job that is right for you.  



updated 4/19/17

What recruiters really do

I was interviewed by a reporter writing a story on “How to be attractive to Headhunters”. 

It was quite interesting because it was for people just finishing their graduate work. Here are some facts that more experienced job seekers already know and some new data that makes this obvious that this hope is part of the fantasy of the Job Fairy.

First, recruiters (headhunters) are hired by companies to find people for jobs. We do not find jobs for people.  Those professionals who do find jobs for people are called job developers and are usually paid by government grants (if there is any money) to find jobs for special classes of people – the developmentally handicapped or some other group that is deemed unlikely to be able to find a job and be a tax-paying citizen on their own. 

There are also career coaches who are paid by their job seeking clients to help them decide what they want to do and walk them through the process of finding a job.  But recruiters are neither job developers nor career coaches.  They have been hired to find specific people for specific jobs, usually ones that the companies have not been able to find for themselves.

Second, there are not as many jobs as there were before 2008, especially in the biosciences.  Many small and start-up companies simply vanished; many more tightened their belts and made do with fewer people. 

Third, companies, feeling that they could do their own recruiting with the advent of LinkedIn, simply stopped using recruiters.  There are far fewer recruiters today than there were in 2007.  Those that still exist need to be placing experienced people with just the right skill set in order to remain in business. 

All of this means that, as it really has always been, you, as the job seeker, need to take your job search into your own hands. 

normal_Sorting_Hat_Cake (1)There is no sorting hat a la Harry Potter.  No Fairy Job Mother to plop the perfect job in your lap. You have to make choices and do some hard work.

If you need some help – discovering what you want to do in your next job, which companies actually hire people to do that, how to be known, remembered, liked and trusted, call me to set up an appointment to discuss my job search strategy coaching.


Get noticed before they hire a recruiter!


Recruiters, Candidates and Money


One of my colleagues, Phil Rosenberg, spoke to the question of money, candidates and recruiters.  What do you think of his answer?


Job Search Answers – Why Don’t Recruiters Understand My Financial Needs?

Feb 9 2012 in Featured, Job Search Strategy, reCareered Blog by Phil Rosenberg

“The fact is, recruiters really don’t give a damn about your financial needs. Recruiters don’t work for you, they work for employers.

It’s not a recruiter’s job to find you a job that meets your needs – it’s their job to find a candidate that meets an employer’s needs. And one of those needs is based on budgets.

When a recruiter discusses salary with you, they aren’t looking at what you made, what you’re used to, or the lifestyle you’ve become accustomed to. They are merely comparing your skills/background to what the market currently pays for that skill/background.

There can be circumstances where a candidate’s market value could be less, sometimes significantly less than what the market will bear. This is rarely pleasant information for the candidate, but it’s critical information for a you to know.

You may be wondering … You’ve worked hard, managed your career, continued to invest in your own education, so why do you have to take a pay cut?

Look at it from an employer’s (and therefore, the recruiter’s) point of view. The longer you work for an employer, the more knowledge you gain about the employers’ operations, competitors, customers, and the industry … so you become more valuable to that employer the longer you’re there. Over the years, your value to that employer has been rewarded with pay raises, which can eventually allow you to enjoy above market value salary – because you’re more valuable to that one employer.

That excess value often doesn’t translate to other employers. If other employers need your specific in-depth knowledge of your past employer, of their competitors or customers, you’ll have a better chance of continuing to be paid an above market value salary. It’s when you move beyond your industry, your target employer probably won’t see the same value. All that concentrated information about your past employer, competitors, customers, industry just isn’t valuable to companies outside of the industry – so why would they pay you for it?

While this can be a bitter pill to swallow as a candidate, it’s important information to receive. It’s important to know what employers see as your market value, even if that information is disappointing – because it gives you a wake-up call.

Waking up to smell the coffee allows you to make important decisions effectively:

  1. Do you try to stay in the industry to make more money (if that’s an option)?


  1. Do you change your lifestyle so that you can live within what the market is willing to pay?

It’s never fun to be disappointed.

But it’s better to be disappointed than to keep living beyond your means, based on unrealistic salary expectations, isn’t it?”

It is much better to be upfront with the recruiter early in the conversation and save you both some time.  But don’t do this with the company interviewer/hiring manager until after you both feel that the fit is right. If the recruiter made a mistake and called you about a job above or below your pay grade, then you can make points by referring someone who would be a better fit.  And you will find out approximately what that company considers the right salary level for the skills the recruiter is looking for.  This is valuable information and will help you either screen in or screen out that particular company.

What do you do?

updated 4/4/17