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What I’ve Learned Sitting Across from a Recruiter for 5 Years

Around four years ago I wrote a short article on LinkedIn outlining the top five things I learned from the recruiter I work with during our first year of being in business. These were geared towards potential candidates, giving them some tips on how to best prepare for a job search. The bottom line: KNOW THYSELF. (Of course, this is good advice for life as well, not just work. It’s not an easy task either way, especially for me. I keep changing! As we all do.)

It’s been just over five years now and we’re still going strong, working with fantastic clients and candidates in top industrial manufacturing and services companies. I still love the work and the people. We’ve grown so much and moved offices and expanded our global network, but we’re still the same people doing the same thing: finding the right executives for the right companies. In today’s tight job market, maybe you would think it would be tougher than it was five years ago, but we still get it done. Why? Because we understand that it’s all about fit.

One thing a successful recruiter knows: if the candidate’s personality and style fits with the company’s culture, they succeed. If they don’t, they won’t. Of course, experience matters. Skill matters. But the challenge is not identifying executives with the right experience and skills… shoot, in this day and age, if you know how to use the right keywords with the right modifiers, a search on LinkedIn or Google will find you a reasonably qualified person. But that’s not what companies pay a retained executive recruiter to do. Companies seek a recruiter’s help to get the executive’s attention, learn who they are and how they work, and make sure they will fit with the company’s culture. Only when that is established, the experienced recruiter will then be able to extract the right professional from where they are and lead them to the next, better opportunity.

How do we do that? By knowing our client’s company culture, tailoring and communicating it very clearly to potential candidates, at least as well as (maybe sometimes better than?) the hiring manager would. This takes time and attention to detail, but it saves so much disruption and energy in the long run. Our client companies attract – and retain – the professionals who fit in and can thrive in their unique environment, because they know their culture. And we know them.

And that’s the bottom line. Candidates should understand themselves, be truthful about who they are and how they work best. Companies should recognize the culture they foster, be truthful about that culture, and recruit for executives whose management styles work well in that environment. The result? Happy employees and successful businesses.

Five years in, as I take time to reflect, my message is the same: KNOW THYSELF. Be truthful. Communicate accordingly.

(Sounds like good advice for life too, doesn’t it? Ah well, something to strive for as we head into 2019.)

Happy New Year, my friends.

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