Help Wanted: On The Hunt For A Recruiting Job

unemployed clownToday, there are about 90 million unemployed people. The causes of job loss vary drastically, as we all know from talking to job seekers regularly. There are those who got fed up and said enough is enough, walking out of their job feeling bold. There are those who experienced a layoff. Veterans transitioning into the workforce. Listing every scenario would take days, if not weeks, but there’s one scenario I find particularly interesting: when the recruiter becomes the job seeker.

I mean, looking for a job sucks regardless of your career background. It’s a mix-up in your otherwise happy existence. That ugly little thing called change is being forced on you and you have to bounce back and put on a happy face for a litany of interviews and applications with the hopes that one will shake out to be a good fit for you. You also have to answer all those random questions about “what’s next” and more importantly – actually consider the options.

The only thing that makes the job search context worse is when everyone around you assumes you know everything because your last job was in recruiting. It’s hard to get family and friend to commiserate when despite your current unemployed status, they’re still asking questions and offering comments like:  “Don’t worry, you’ll get another job in no time. You’re a recruiter – you know how to get a job faster than anyone, right?” After some time passes, the conversation then turns to, “What’s happening? Why aren’t you working yet? You were able to get other people jobs, but you can’t get one yourself?”

Shame tactics. Harsh, I know. But it happens. We function as the primary job contact for so many people, then when the tables turn – what are we supposed to do? How do we use all of that to make a better job search strategy? 

Fundamentals and Faux Pas

recruiting job dreamsBut first, let’s go back a step to that part about “knowing it all.” I have two fundamental problems with that assumption that recruiters know everything about the job search. The first is that recruiters and sourcers don’t find jobs for people, they find people for jobs. These are two very different things and it’s a stereotype I’m constantly fighting against.

The second is that just because we may have heightened search abilities does not mean our own efforts to find a new gig are any easier. No matter how hard you try, repeatedly (and with great fervor) pressing that big red “Easy” button from Staples doesn’t work. I know, I tried. It seems like people think that new jobs just appear, as if there’s a team of “job gods” who grow and harvest jobs from the magical job tree in Jobville and then ever so delicately present those jobs at our feet for review. Nope, not so much.

Job searching is by and large no different for those of us in recruiting. It has to be strategic, targeted and it takes time. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, your education, or your background – unemployment doesn’t discriminate. And neither do bad candidate experiences.

That’s really the biggest difference between recruiting candidates and other industries: our lower threshold for black hole candidate experiences and bad recruiter behavior. There’s a lot of discussion surrounding candidate experience nowadays and rightfully so, but when the shoe is on the other foot and recruiters are the ones who are the candidates, you can be sure that candidate processes and flow are even more scrutinized.

The worst version of a bad candidate experience? Trying to apply for an opening that requires you to create an account and register to be part of their “special” talent network. Seriously? I do one thing when I come across a job post that requires such silly hoops to jump through: close the window. Nope, not even gonna play. Why would I spend anywhere between 10 and 45 minutes going through some elaborate and duplicative application process? I could be applying for 30 other jobs in the time it takes to complete one online profile and then manually entering my experience. Ridiculous.

Sourcing Work: A Recruiting Job Search How To

unemployed recruiterI take the same approach to my job search that I would with a really specialized, niche candidate. First – avoid the lame-o ATS when possible and use my sourcing superpowers to find a name and email to connect with. Then, I use the research and writing skills I put into recruiting talent into my applications. Showing off skills during the apply doesn’t have to be as lame as a one dimensional resume.

Or here’s a crazy thought: in addition to sourcing my direct emails, I utilize my network to see if someone I know is connected with where I’m trying to apply. It’s taking the typical sourcing approach and flipping it for the recruiting job search.

There are a few more resources and pieces of advice I highly recommend for recruiters on the job search. If you’re not yet familiar with Jim Stroud, you need to be. One of the resources on his site includes a pdf doc of search strings for Recruiters looking for work. Very handy. Also, Jeff Newman. He’s been in recruiting for 20 years and has some great info on his own site as well, in addition to discussing his own jobsearch experience on the Recruiting Animal Show last year.

About The Authors:

David NicolaDavid Nicola has over 15 years of experience in various Human Services functions and has been in staffing since 2010. In addition to founding the Central Coast Recruiters group on Meetup, his sourcing background covers agency, corporate, and startup environments. After hanging up his sourcing cape and tights each day, he enjoys spending time with his amazing family and watching his beloved San Francisco Giants. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Jose WatsonJosé Watson is a data driven recruiter who enjoys storytelling about employment brands. He believes the best way to recruit is to combine old school methods with modern approaches.

David Nicola


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