Are recruiters your natural allies in the job market? Sadly no. As handy or comforting as it would be to have access to your own personal ‘career advisor’, it’s not the job of the recruiter to patiently ponder where your strengths lie or figure out where your skills would be best suited. Here, Nick Everard, of J1 Consulting, who has been on both sides of the recruitment ‘game’, shares how to get the most value from recruiters and why asking them out for ‘a quick coffee’ is unlikely to be met with a positive response.
41% of you think recruiters will only place obviously well-suited candidates
Nick agrees this is a fair assessment. He says: “Recruiters work for the employer, not you. Their specialty tends to be ’round pegs for round holes’.” He adds: “As ex-military, you could be perceived as a ‘square peg’.”
Recruiters tend to be risk averse, so it’s important to be just as selective as they are, in regards to who you approach.
Focus on what you want to do
Agencies as big as Michael Page (for example)will have large specialist divisions. After taking the time to research various sectors, decide which one you’re most interested in, tailor your CV for roles specific to it and find the right person to approach.
A generalist CV or aimless registration email won’t cut it. Neither will expecting a recruiter to work out where you’ll fit best.
Nick says: “You’ll need to give a recruiter something to work with. As well as the sectors you’re interested in, they’ll need to know your availability, salary expectations and geographical constraints.”
Be sure not to hide your military experience. Nick says: “Many employers are attracted to the work ethic that the military bring and can directly relate the core values of their organisation to those of an individual leaving the Services.”
Reflect what you’ve done in the military but be relevant
Despite having skills and qualities that employers perceive as desirable you may still be seen as a risk by recruiters. Nick advises ‘looking forward, not focusing on what you’ve done in the past but rather, what you can do for them in the future.’
It’s also important to ask yourself what your actual abilities are and how you can translate them for the workplace. If you’re a weapons engineer, ask yourself – are you an integrated systems engineer or a hydraulic specialist? Nick says: “Make them visualise you working in an organisation, not as the man in khaki, in some far-flung corner of Afghanistan.”
Know Your Own Mind
Ex-military could often do better at developing their self-knowledge sufficiently. Nick advises taking the Myers Briggs test online if you’re struggling to find your focus. This may indicate where your skills lie and help you identify the areas you’re suited to.
Nick says: “You need to decide what you want first. We’ve got no time to pop out for a coffee to have a chat about this.”
Please bear in mind though that a decent recruiter will always want to meet you face-to-face, before putting you forward to a client. As Nick points out: “Compatibility with the client is key. A candidate may not be a perfect fit on paper but sometimes you have a hunch they’ll be right for an organisation.”
Listen to the webinar here: Recruiters: Their Value to Job Seekers