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How to attract recruiters

Turn yourself into a great passive candidate by keeping your job materials current.

© (Getty Images)   Help recruiters find you by improving your online professional profiles.

By Arnie Fertig, U.S. News & World Report

If you aren't desperate to get a job, that's great! This is the best time for you to set yourself up for your next career move. Just as people with high credit scores who don't need a loan are the ones banks clamor after, you can be the person companies and recruiters compete over to add to their payrolls.

Given the historic low rate of unemployment in 2018, now may be the right time to position yourself for career advancement by making yourself into what recruiters call a "passive candidate": someone who isn't actively looking but who is open to new opportunities.

Employers are using new technologies, including artificial intelligence, to develop algorithms to locate candidates, determine which ones will have the closest "fit" for long-term success at their companies and actively contact them.

At the same time, independent third-party recruiters, also known as headhunters, play a crucial role in helping companies identify and attract individuals with hard-to-find skills for critical positions.


To earn the high commissions they charge, recruiters are challenged to:
  •     understand a client's needs
  •     find the talent to fulfill those needs
  •     convince the client company of the worthiness of their candidate
  •     persuade the candidate of the high value of the job opportunity
  •     close the deal

If you are in the upper echelons of management, hold unique skills with a solid educational background or are in some other way part of a rare breed of employee, a recruiter may be able to facilitate your next career move. It is essential, however, that you have a solid understanding of whom you are working with and how the recruiter goes about his or her work.

Recruiting companies run the full gamut of highly reputable and very effective individuals who hang up a digital shingle over their home offices to large, white-glove, retained firms employing thousands of people in multiple offices around the world. At that level, their work often goes beyond simple talent acquisition to leadership development and organizational strategy, among other services.


Passive candidates are a recruiter's holy grail.

The reason companies use external recruiters is to find candidates that they can't find themselves. Therefore, if you are in a company's applicant tracking system, no recruiter will benefit by referring you to that company.

Instead, headhunters prize finding people who would be great for the role they are seeking to fill but who are not already actively applying directly or working with competitor recruiters.


Set yourself up to be 'actively passive.'

There are a couple of key things you can and should do to make yourself recruiter-ready without tipping off your current employer that you are up for making a move.

Make sure your resume is current and modern in format. Include a personal branding statement that actually describes who you are and what you've accomplished without resorting to stock phrases and gibberish that everyone else uses. Include your current job and emphasize accomplishments rather than responsibilities in your bullet points. This way, when a recruiter calls, you have something to present to him or her.

For LinkedIn, get a professional headshot and include your personal email in your summary. When describing yourself, be informal and write like you are talking with people instead of using third-person narration. Make sure to include all of your skills that may be relevant to the job you want to obtain, and join groups. Once in a while,  post articles of interest to people like yourself. You don't need to author them, but at least share pieces others will find valuable in their professional lives.


Passivity isn't for everyone.

While you may have much to contribute to a new employer, if your job search is particularly time-sensitive due to unemployment, or if you are one among many available with your general background, you may not be "recruiter bait." You may want to do the things that active candidates do to become noticed: Indicate your availability on your LinkedIn profile, network your way into companies, engage in informational interviewing and directly submit your resume for appropriate positions.

Happy hunting!

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Career Advice: How to attract recruiters
How to attract recruiters
Turn yourself into a great passive candidate by keeping your job materials current.
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Career Advice
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