Yes, this is for you.


So, you’re not a recruiter – good.  This article wasn’t written for recruiters.  It was written for you, the job seeker.


How many of you have engaged recruiters to help you with your job search?


What’s your own person opinion of recruiters?  Be honest.


If it’s less than positive, do you ever allow that personal feeling to slip into the meetings or conversations you’re having with them?


If you do, they probably pick it up, and here’s the thing – it does color their perception of you and whether or not they will push hard for you if they decide to represent you to their client.


And that’s not a given, by the way.  Many people think that recruiters are merely an intermediary they use to deliver a resume.


The very best recruiters out there are highly perceptive.  They see things others don’t.  That gives them an edge and it makes sure their clients (the employer) get access to the very best available talent (the job-seeker) that suits the corporate culture and the team for which this new employee will be working.

Yes, there are many others who treat recruiting like they’re herding cattle, and that’s primarily why recruiting and recruiters get a bad wrap in some circles.


If you think that, you’re missing the bigger picture.


The recruiter has the ear of the client.  They may present 4 or 5 people to the client for a particular job opening, but they have license to recommend 1 or 2 of those people.  In other words, if they have justification to do so, they can choose to thoroughly recommend one candidate over the others and help get that person the offer.


Perfect on Paper


When you’ve been in recruiting long enough, you’ll have encountered this situation.


You get handed a resume that looks amazing.


Presentation, impact, content – all knock-out. You think “This is the person I’ve been waiting for.  I can’t wait to get them in front of my client”.


So, you call the job-seeker in and… all goes horribly wrong.


I’ll tell you a story about just such a situation I experienced in the early days of my career.


One of my colleagues was interviewing job-seekers for a role we both had an interest in filling for our client.


He had arranged to meet with this job-seeker who looked great on paper to interview him for the vacant role.


However, 25 minutes into that meeting, I got a knock on my office door.  It was my colleague asking me to come and sit in on this meeting.  On the way to the interview room, my colleague gave me a quick rundown on what had transpired up until that point, and it all sounded quite strange.


So, I joined the meeting and sat face-to-face with one of the most obnoxious people I’ve ever met.  I couldn’t believe it.  All that hope and excitement of getting this person in front of my client dissipated fast.


Sitting opposite me wasn’t a job-seeker ready to engage in a discussion about the role or their suitability.  What I faced was someone ready for a fight.


Aggressive demeanor? Check.  Hostile posture? Check. Passive-aggressive commentary? Check. And to cap it all off, when he left I asked the receptionist for her first impression of him, and it wasn’t good.


My impression was that this guy felt he was too good to be going through this process.  He had no patience for speaking with a recruiter half his age.  He resented the questions.  He was indignant at being asked how he accomplished the things he said he did on his resume.


During the meeting he demanded direct access to the hiring manager of the company so that he could make his own representation as to his suitability for the role.


That’s not how it works.  That wasn’t going to happen.


#1 Reason Why You Won’t Be Presented


The #1 reason this job seeker wasn’t presented was because his personality type did not fit the client’s corporate culture.  He was rude and aggressive.


Yes, on paper he looked great, but that’s only a piece of the puzzle.  A pretty big piece, but it meant nothing without the other part.  That’s why we interview, and not just make offers of employment based on a resume.


How could anyone in good conscience present their client with such an individual?  If a recruiter presents someone like that to their client, then one could reasonably expect the hiring company to be quite unamused.  Such a gaffe could cost the recruiter an opportunity to work for that client again.  The stakes are high.


One of the tasks of the recruiter is to filter these types of personalities from the process in the event their particular personality would otherwise be highly disruptive to the client’s team, corporate culture, and unsuited to the personality types preferred by that client.


Can you imagine the client’s response?  Why did you send him here? Do you even know us?  Do you not understand what we’re trying to build here? Did you not listen to us when we told you the personality types that would fit here?


Having that type of discussion with a client is not good.  And that is what would have happened if we were to send across someone so blatantly unsuited to the client.


So instead, you have the conversation with the job seeker.  “We won’t be representing you for this role”.  Now, when you have the type of personality I’ve just outlined being told they weren’t getting what they wanted, you can expect the toys to get thrown out the buggy.


The job seeker in question was free to make their own representation to the client and attempt to gain an interview directly. They did.  But they didn’t get an interview.




Don’t be rude or aggressive..obviously!


We can all take a lesson form this scenario.  For job seekers, the main lesson is that if you choose to engage a recruiter, your interview starts the moment you meet them and not necessarily the company you’re targeting.


You go in prepared to do yourself justice.  You’re ready to tell them what you’re looking for, why you’re a good fit for the target role, and why a client should be interested in meeting you.


So, everything else you know about interview technique, preparation, and displaying your personal brand kicks in the moment you meet them.


At this point, the recruiter is an extension of the hiring company.


If you can sell your recruiter on your main strengths and differentiating factors, you are giving them ammunition they can use to impress their client.


Don’t expect them to be willing or able to figure out your truly differentiating features.  If they have 4 or 5 people going forward, they’re looking at one person getting an offer.  They will win either way.


If you want that one person to be you, you can boost your chances by getting the recruiter on board with your talking points that they can regurgitate to their client.