Purple squirrels are valuable to a recruiter. But if you are not one, well maybe not so much, so don't count on much help.
When I was an executive recruiter I learned a lot about how the recruiting industry works. I learned if you want to use them, it's important to understand what makes them tick and how to market yourself effectively.
There are differences between internal recruiters that are employees of a hiring company, and external recruiters, those who work for recruiting firms.
They have several things in common:
- Both are measured by finding top talent.
- They behave differently because they are paid differently.
- Neither will always be completely truthful with you.
The internal recruiter:
- Is an employee of the hiring company.
- Is not rewarded financially for filling jobs. Is paid a regular salary which may not be a lot.
- May or may not understand your discipline very well.
- Often views work as a 9 to 5 job.
- Often has many other responsibilities in addition to recruiting.
The external recruiter:
- Works for a recruiting firm
- Typically works on a commission-only basis, is only paid if the candidate is hired.
- Can earn very large income. Is paid a big percentage of the huge service fee the firm receives.
- But usually there are several months of delay before the recruiter receives payment for a placement, therefore he/she is under constant pressure to place new candidates and must make many calls each day to keep the 'pipeline' filled.
- Therefore views you as a meal ticket, someone to focus on if you are a "purple squirrel", otherwise may have little interest in you.
- While there is potential for high earnings, the reality is, the probability of making a lot of money is not high, which leads to making many prospecting calls vs. staying in touch with you.
The takeaway is this: Create a resume that postures you as a “purple squirrel”. Otherwise don't rely on getting much attention from either type of recruiter.
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