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10 Steps To A Great Career - Step 3 of 10


Should you use a Recruiter

or go it alone?

This is a critical question.  And can determine the outcome of your search.


  • Recruiter, Solo or Combo? 

Determine early if it makes sense, given your particular situation, to work with a Recruiter.


Be honest about accessing your skills and marketability. If you're in the Top 10% of your peers, you should run, not walk, to your nearest phone and call a recruiter who is also tops in your industry.

If you’re not, you may need to evaluate if working with a recruiter is in your best interest.  Keep reading to further examine this.

Quick Tip: If you're in the Top 10%, please see if you qualify for the Private Executive Talent Pool Program I’m piloting. I've had great interest to date; I would love to hear what your thoughts are!

You’re employed, extremely good at what you do, but are not in the Top 10% of your peers.  You should still contact a Recruiter (or better yet, several - just not from the same office/location).  Make sure you're choosing a Recruiter that’s in your area of specialty. Much more on this in Top 10 Reasons To Work with a Recruiter, coming in a Blog entry shortly.

  • Contact A Recruiter 

You’re Currently Not Employed: 

The key in contacting these recruiters is to be completely honest with your current situation.  If you’re not currently working, be upfront about it.  Don’t try to hide it by being vague in your dates of employment.  Don't get creative and play certain tricks so it's hard to determine if you're at the last company listed.  You'll only frustrate the Recruiter.

Yes, most recruiters won’t call you back if you’re not working, that’s true.  But you don’t want to hide it and have a Recruiter call just to find out you were hiding the truth.  That would be far worse and you could be banished without even knowing it.

It’s better to be honest and upfront from the beginning.  Explain in detail why.  Then explain why you feel they should call you back.  There’s still no guarantee they will, in fact, most still won’t.  But you don’t necessarily want them to. 

If you’re out of work, a recruiter may actually be detrimental to the process of getting you your next Career.  Why?  Check out Top 5 Reasons Recruiters Don't Call Back.

If after reading this you believe with 100% certainty you're still marketable and a Recruiter should be the one marketing you, then call the Recruiters you sent your introductory email to.  Make sure you have clearly stated you’re worth the $XX,XXX fee (the fee would be 30% X the annual salary you’re seeking) a potential employer would pay to hire you.  You'll most likely get voicemail.  But if your story is compelling and there's a solid reason an employer would pay to find you, please leave a detailed message on the Recruiter’s voicemail.  They'll have every incentive to call you back. 


First, introduce yourself via email. State briefly the top 3 to 5 reasons you’re good at what you do. State them in terms of evidence, not opinion (i.e. Sales Professional - I was #1 in my region for the last 3 years, with $3 Million in new Revenues and $2 Million in continued relationships, that’s 20% more than #2).

Next, call the Recruiter. Chances are good you’ll get voicemail. Leave a message. In your voicemail, state you sent an email and reiterate the top 3 to 5 reasons you’re good at what you do. There're several reasons why (nothing personal against you) you may not hear back from the Recruiter. Curious? Much more on this in Top 5 Reasons Recruiters Don't Call Back.

After 2 days, (hopefully you’ve reached out to several Recruiters at once thereby increasing your odds of someone calling you back) of not hearing from anyone, it’s reasonable for you to start planning your own Career Search. Take control! Use Lorena’s List to help you along the way.

If a Recruiter reaches out after you’ve started your own campaign, be honest as to what you’ve done to date and ask if they’d still like to work with you. If they’re good and are in the business for the right reasons, they should still work with you as long as you're working in full disclosure and not hiding anything from them.

If you’re really a Top 10%er, you may want to consider turning over your entire campaign to a Recruiter.  Make sure to get an exchange of commitments on both parts. It's in both your best interest to work this way.

In any case, make sure you give your Recruiter an exclusive list for them to market you to.  In other words, agree on a list of X number of companies you would die to work for. X is the number of companies you are giving this one Recruiter to focus on.  If you're working with multiple Recruiters, make sure each Recruiting Partner has a distinctively different list from each other.  DO NOT try to “pit” one Recruiter against another by giving the same list.  You’ll only hurt yourself.

Be honest with all your Recruiting Partners and tell them what you're doing.  If one Recruiter asks if they can have the whole list and market you exclusively, you should consider doing so.  This is the best type of Recruiting partnership you can have. 

Ask for complete honesty in return.  After the Recruiter has tried to get you an interview, but the company has declined, ask the Recruiter for their opinion if this is one you should try to market yourself into.  Be very delicate about this question.  If you’re currently employed, you have time on your side.  It's still better to give the Recruiter some breathing room to try different tactics to get you in.  It’s much better to have “representation” versus you trying to do it yourself.  However, if the Recruiter agrees they will not be able to get you into a certain company, it would be wise to develop a follow up plan together. 

There is much more on this topic!  Go to Step #4 Be Proactive

Coming Very Soon: Top 10 Ways to Select Your Recruiter and Top 10 Ways to Work With Your Recruiter.

In the meantime, check out more Tips Here!

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