Question: “Somer, you know lots of people. I’m looking. Can you send my resume to a few of your clients or contacts?”
Answer: I know it sounds easy. Why not just send a resume of someone I like to a company I respect? As much as it pains me to say this… what you’re asking is really hard for me to do. You know me. I love helping people. It’s what I do. But sending your resume is actually full of dynamics and nuances.
- The number of times I’ve done this in the past 12 years that I’ve been in retained executive search: four.
- The average number of job seekers who reach out to me every day: four who I don’t know, one who was referred. This is excluding candidates who get referred to me for active searches, or people who I already know who are actively looking.
Let’s dive into the dynamics, and give you different questions to ask when you reach out to recruiters.
In retained search there is a methodology and a process revolving around understanding a company’s needs, and being strategic about how and where to hunt for talent. It’s intellectually stimulating. The magic is in the details. I’m engrained in my client’s strategy and become their biggest cheerleader in the market. I get to the point where I know what “great” looks like to them. It takes time, iteration, data, communication, and relationship.
Each company decides which retained search firm is their “go to,” and their door is constantly being knocked on by the competition.
In retained search, a client has an expectation that if a resume is coming their way, it’s one of the top five people in the world for their position. There are more than five people I know and like, but they expect me to make that cut.
In the situation of sending a resume outside of a specific position, there has to be something unique about that candidate that makes them the absolute best person I know who is uniquely positioned to take the company to the next level. If the company didn’t know about them, they’d be missing out. This isn’t about a candidate being stellar or unique as a person, it’s about a candidate being unique for this specific company at this specific time.
Client relationships take years to build, and recruiters are only as good as their last search, and at times their last candidate introduction. There is risk involved in every name that’s put forward.
And if you think about it, introducing candidates to companies is how recruiters earn a living, so this in itself is tricky. So now the recruiter is posed with a question. Should they charge a fee if the company hired you? That’s a harder introduction to make.
Many people have asked me if I can be their candidate agent. I’ve thought about it a lot, but I don’t want to charge candidates a fee to help them out. That’s a different business model, and expectations change. I help because I want to versus it being something candidates pay for. This is part of the reason I love Austin so much. This is normal. People help people just because.
Every day I spend time helping demystify the hiring process and recruiting dynamics for candidates. I explain the reasons things are happening so that candidates can be successful, and so that they can stay sane. I’ve been helping people articulate their value, create a search strategy, position themselves, prep for interviews and negotiate offers. I listen to how people explain their background to me, then compare that to what they’re putting out there. I help them show up as the best version of themselves. Questions have been everything from “I’m looking… now what?” to “Which offer should I take?” This is what I love, developing relationships and helping people win.
I’ll leave you with this: When you reach out to recruiters, instead of asking them to send your resume along, here are some other options: Of the searches you’ve run in the past year, do you think you would have put me forward? Why/why not? How did I come across on this call or in our email correspondence, anything you recommend I could do better? Does my LinkedIn do me justice?
Here’s to relationships, community, and being in this together.
See this post on LinkedIn here.