I’m sure you’re great at recruiting for your own industry sector, but are you sure that you understand the dynamics of when recruiters are recruiting you?
This level of introspection is crucial when you are looking to move on in your recruitment career, but it surprises me how unprepared many recruiters actually are when it comes to searching for their next roles. If they could interview themselves, many recruiters may well be concerned at what they hear.
Much of this is the common-sense advice that they give to their own candidates, which they somehow fail to heed for themselves. When they turn up for an interview at a prospective client, they feel like “one of the gang” and this relaxed attitude sometimes proves costly.
They might sit on the phone with a candidate in their reception area, but doing so while they are waiting for their own job interview is very bad form. The basics of chatting with the PA, accepting a drink if it is offered and mirroring the behaviour of the interviewers is crucial, but I have even heard of recruiters going to an interview and leaving their coats on because it was cold in the room. They are not in charge of the dynamics anymore – they have to seek to fit in.
Some recruiters feel that they can let their billings speak for themselves. They walk into the room, mention that they brought in a huge sum last year and then sit back and wait for a pat on the back. Trust me, this is a mistake. The best recruitment companies are looking for people with business acumen as well as a deep understanding of their industry sector. That is the only way that recruiters will continue to differentiate themselves from the threat of technology. Have a few case studies in your head and get ready to showcase how you got to those fantastic numbers.
There is also a psychological aspect to the recruiter interview. Recruiters are used to controlling the conversation, but when they are being interviewed, it is worth taking a few deep breaths and waiting to be led rather than leading. You potential employers will have their own agenda, so rather than led them through how brilliant you are, let them ask the questions that are relevant to them. They know a good recruiter when they see one.
Another common issue is being as assertive in a salary negotiation with a potential employer as you would be with one of your clients. Persuading a client about the merits of a candidate is very different to persuading a future employer that you are worth a 20% pay rise. By all means, sell yourself at interview, but let them tell you what they think you are worth. Being motivated by money is fine, but if you are seen as unrealistically obsessed by the financial side of things, future employers will see problems on the horizon.
Strange that it might sound, it is almost worth looking at yourself in the mirror before any interviews and asking yourself some difficult questions. How will the answers sound to an interviewer? Do they reflect who you are? Are you able to tell your story in an authentic way? And, the most important question…. Would you give yourself the job?