As we begin to see an increase in the number of layoffs across the country, healthcare executives who have been set free are busily calling recruiters seeking help in finding their next job. While some recruiters in larger firms will ignore their requests for a call back, there are some recruiters, especially those in boutique firms, who will take the time to get acquainted.

working with recruitersWith that in mind, remember, recruiters do not profit from “getting acquainted.” These are calls for mutual sharing. From the recruiter, advice on how to prepare for the search and what you should do to construct a resume that is a value-based, recruiter friendly document. Some also will provide guidance on developing a value proposition and interview prep tactics. From the out-of-work executive, recruiters are listening for actionable business intelligence; a recruiter’s livelihood is based on their ability to develop information that leads to new business. From my perspective, I am only to happy to help a candidate. Yes, I am looking for opportunities but I do not view this as strictly a quid pro quo arrangement.

That said, candidates need to be aware of some common sense suggestions to guide their interactions with recruiters:

  1. Before you request a call, look at their website to be sure their practice focus aligns with your interests. I specialize in healthcare provider services. I have little or no experience or industry knowledge in pharmaceutical sales or insurance for example. If you are from a health system, hospital, home health company, hospice, EMS company or ambulatory care business, for example, I am your guy. But if you are looking for a job with a healthcare law firm, medical technology company or for a position in medical device sales, you are barking up the wrong tree by calling me. Do not waste the time of those who are offering to help. The advice I can provide for those latter categories is probably not going to be well received.
  1. Understand who you are talking to. Is the recruiter you want to connect with a contingency recruiter or do they work on a retained basis? Here is why you need to know this: The contingency recruiters are more likely to market your candidacy to potential employers while retained recruiters work for specific clients and do not engage in cold-call candidate selling. Retained recruiters can provide an invaluable amount of information but do not make the mistake of asking them to “help me find a job.” That is not what they do.
  1. Send your resume before the call. It is difficult if not impossible to really help someone if we do not have a chronological resume to review. Forget what your outplacement coaches advises. Recruiters hate functional resumes.
  1. Don’t argue. You may not like or agree with the advice you receive, but it is a big mistake, especially if the recruiter specializes in your market segment, to argue about the resume suggestions or other strategic advice they provide. Yes, it is entirely possible that their advice will fly in the face of what your outplacement coach suggested. That is normal. Retained recruiters have different motives and objectives than your transition coach.
  1. If you want help, and you find a recruiter who is willing to volunteer some of his or her valuable time, do not make the mistake of asking them to call you. That sends an unbelievably irritating message: This is all about me. It is NOT all about you, it is about the needs of the employer.
  1. Be a helpful candidate. Smart sales types will tell you that they succeed more when they are in the “helping” mode versus the “selling” mode. From your contact with the recruiter who has volunteered time to help you, to the entirety of your job search process, be a helpful candidate. If you have trouble figuring out that concept, email me,, I am happy to help.

Join me on Saturday for another career management video on YouTube.

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