One of the most misunderstood aspects of executive job search among executive candidates seems to be the nature of recruiting firms and how they operate. I have addressed this topic on several occasions, but the fact that I continue to encounter clients who have major misconceptions regarding the recruiter community tells me that this is a message worth repeating:
“Do not expect an executive recruiter to ‘market’ you!”
A recent thread on the Career Masters Institute e-mail forum examined the fact that most companies and recruiters do not even acknowledge resumes they receive, let alone have any interest in actively working to place any individual candidate. They are very task oriented toward fulfilling current job orders, and if a candidate’s qualifications are not a very close match for the requirements, they have no interest.
One member mentioned that a speaker at the recent Kennedy Conference in Las Vegas pointed out that 90% of job seekers will not receive a response of any kind when they submit their resume–whether they send it to a recruiting firm or directly to a company. Even among companies that rank high on “best places to work” rankings, 30% do not acknowledge resumes or applications submitted online through their websites.
Another colleague had a recent client who had done a large e-mail campaign to more than 800 recruiters who specialized in his area of expertise and received a measly 40 auto-responses. A former recruiter pointed out that in his experience there will be no response unless an unsolicited resume is an exact match for a current assignment. He also said that recruiters do not try to “place” candidates because there is simply no money in it.
So definitely do contact recruiters who recruit at your level and in your specialty areas. But do not expect them to “market” you or in most cases to even acknowledge your contact. An additional caveat: It is best NOT to follow up by phone. This is an annoyance and pet peeve of recruiters.