Job Hunting in a Pandemic, (Part 2 of 3)

Headhunters, Job Banks, and Searches, oh my!

Recruiters in a meeting.

Readers, a reminder: this is just my personal take on the business of finding work. There are hundreds more comprehensive and knowledgeable blogs and websites out there to help you do this. For a start, there’s https://www.linkedin.com/learning/search?trk=search-cluster_flagship_learning&keywords=working+with+recruiters&entityType=COURSE

The major job banks right now are: Glassdoor.com, Indeed.com, LinkedIn.com, and Ziprecruiter.com. Notice I don’t include Monster.com; it appears that they have lost their reputation and are on the wane. Then there are job banks inside professional groups, which I find are often not updated, and specialized job banks like HigherEdJobs.com, which can be excellent for saving time and making connections, if they are regularly tended.

Inside each of these job banks, employers post jobs which you can browse. Some employers want to deal only with applicants; many more use a recruiting company to contact applicants, set up interviews, etc.

I’ve found that interviewing with the company’s HR rep directly is preferable to arrangements through third-party, for the obvious reason that a good Zoom-to-face impression with someone inside the company gives you a better chance. They do, however, tend to be frazzled, because if their HR is doing it alone, they are bombarded with applicants. That also lessens your chances that your resume will jump out of the pile of electronic submissions and grab their attention.

Since we’re STILL in a pandemic, everything must be electronic. Now, some say that face-to-face and through connections is the only way to get a job. I say “Raspberry sound” to them. The paper-based-walk-in-crash-the-Conference approach was dying before COVID19, and that’s lucky for you, job-seeker, because it was time-consuming, expensive, and demoralizing. Or more simply: a big drag. Trust me. I remember.

For me, the only time a third-party is really useful is when you are applying for a contract job. Then, they can be your BFF. I’ve gotten more interviews through Beacon Hill Staffing in the past two weeks than I’ve had in the last three months by myself. Get to know a recruiter, and be scrupulously honest with them: it pays off because they want you to succeed, because that’s how they get paid. And they may like you a bit, too.

Truly, the quality of the resume and portfolio, and in which banks you choose to park them, are the things that will get you calls. Nobody has time to fool around these days.

One thing: be patient. Every single job bank will make you fill out a profile, and it takes time, and that’s frustrating. But many job banks/HR sites/Recruiting companies allow you to auto-populate from LinkedIn and Glassdoor, but make certain you check the information as sometimes it gets out of sync. When I’m applying, I keep my resume open and do a lot of cutting and pasting descriptions of jobs. Why re-invent the wheel?

My last piece of advice: there are scammers and just sketchy recruiters out there. I don’t understand how they work, but for example, I interviewed for a university job. The next day, my inbox and phone were swamped with “recruiters” wanting me to send them my resume so that I could be submitted for that same university job (you recognize the wording of posts after a while).

Many of these recruiters are on the other side of the world, and I have no idea how they make money, but don’t waste time with them. If you engage, they’ll ask for all your information, then disappear. And of course, anyone asking you for financial information is a scam, case closed.

I’ve been told there can be sticky situations around who pays the recruiter’s fee if you are hired through them, but I’ve never had any problem with that. It’s always been the company’s responsibility. If it isn’t — well, before you accept the job, ask the recruiter how that will be handled.

Got tips about recruiters or job sites you’d like to share?

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