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How To Work With Recruiters

On May 31st (2012), I was a panelist at a local FENG program (FENG is the Financial Executives Networking Group - see  While there were multiple topics we were being asked to address, the main topic was on how these financial executives can work with recruiters.

Finance and inaccurate stereotypes

We are currently involved in filling a very exciting CFO position for a Twin Cities' based company.  We are seeking a broad-based CFO background with specific industry-related experience.  Many possible candidates have found out about this search and have proactively contacted us.  In many of these cases, we have had to tell these candidates that they are not a fit based on industry experience.  To our surprise (we should never make assumptions), these same candidates then make excellent and relevant referrals to us for the search.  This group appears to understand the value of networking - very likely thanks to FENG and its programming.

As part of the panel preparation, we were given likely question areas.  Here are a few - and the key talking points.

How can candidates 'get noticed' with search professionals?
  • Be ACTIVE in professional associations and industry groups
    • Write for their on-line newsletter
    • Present on a topic - or volunteer to introduce the presenter
    • Get on a committee (the Welcoming Committee is an easy one - you have to attend the meetings and you get to meet every attendee)
  • Use referrals to us - and use them appropriately
    • Mention the referral source's name in the subject line of your e-mail or in your voicemail to us
    • Make sure to get our name right (clarify how to pronounce even simple-looking names and never assume the 'shorter' version [I am David, never Dave])
Any advice on using Social Media to get noticed/hired?
  • Remember that, no matter how good you think your privacy settings are, social media can be a 'dialogue' in front of thousands
  • LinkedIn is for professionals/professional interaction; Facebook is for personal/lighter interaction
    • Keep them separate
  • Keep Twitter on the professional side - and be careful.  Mistakes are easy (ask Congressman Weiner if you doubt this)!
How do you balance a current job with a job search?
  • Adopt a One-A-Day® approach - each day try to at least do one thing to push your search forward.  Simple ideas include:
    • Leave a key networking contact a voicemail (hopefully they will answer the phone)
    • Read a professional association newsletter article
    • Add an accomplishment to your resume
    • Add a key contact to LinkedIn
  • Take a class - you learn something AND meet people in the same career area
  • Make time for lunch
    • Most of our work involves doing things with and through others.  Why not gain information (and reconnect with key people) over lunch?  (You have to eat anyway!)
  • Participate in a professional association - go to a meeting or networking event

One final word . . . . .

The title of this panel (and this post) is somewhat of a misnomer . . . . . . recruiters work for the employer regardless of what you are told.  Working 'with' a recruiter is part of a job search strategy - but only part. Now - go practice One-A-Day®!  (Yes - reading this counts for today!)