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Three Keys to Understand Recruiters

13/06/2014 16:14 BST | Updated 12/08/2014 10:59 BST

"Recruiters are evil". Sophie is convinced of what she just said. She had today her third interview since she's been looking for a job, and she never felt as uncomfortable as during these interviews. "They seem like they are trying to prove something is wrong with me. How can I feel at ease if they spend their time looking for problems?".

Sophie doesn't understand how recruiters think, and neither do millions of people looking for a job. It is actually a major concern, considering the efforts required to reach the interview stage.

So here are some useful insights you should always keep in mind when looking for a job.

Recruiters are "afraid"

First thing to understand is the role of recruiters within a company: they have to assess and make their opinion on people that will actually never work for them, and that will work in domains that they probably know very little. Quite a challenge!

Believe it or not, but recruiters are afraid. They are not afraid of speaking with you, or afraid of what you might think of them. Judging people is their role, and most of them love it, so do not worry for them, they still have a very enjoyable situation.

Their fear is much more rational. Recruiters are given the responsibility of bringing new people into the company. If these people do not perform well, or disturb significantly the organisation, a large part of the "casting error" will be attributed to them.

So here is the most important point: their true role is not to find the best talents, it is rather to minimize bad hires. You might want to know that a bad hire of a young graduate costs up to 50 000 Euros.

Companies spend a lot of money to recruit someone: to let people know that a job position is open, find the potential candidates, select them, assess them, then train the new hire, pay him, make him part of the organisation, and invest on him to make him efficient. When it ends bad, it results in the need to start the process again.

First conclusion: recruiters need to assess the risk of you being a bad hire before considering you as a potential candidate for the next step.

Recruiters are "victims"

They are not only victims of your crimes whenever you lie during interviews; they are also victims of their own company. More seriously, recruiters have to deal with the information they have. They only are a filter between you and your future field manager, and his role is to process and compare your information versus the job description information.

Sometimes, they don't have the full picture of what is required. And even though the power they have on your "life" is significant, they actually have very little influence on all other topics dealt with in the company.

If they have a very vague of poor job description, it will be harder for them to assess the probability of a match or a failure. In a way, it is their responsibility to ensure they have all they need to qualify or disqualify a candidate, but in the real world it is not that easy.

Field managers are not always able to explain properly what they need and what they want, and as they always deal with millions of subjects, they don't have much time, so there can be some misinterpretations.

Information transfers within a company are very often a major issue. Even when procedures are set to ensure clean processes, it is always human people in charge of providing with the necessary information.

Second conclusion: recruiters are like a filter where the efficiency is determined by the quality of information, yours and those about the job.

Recruiters need "relevance and coherence"

Now you know that they have to deal with the information they have, and make sure they are not opening the doors to a Trojan horse, let's see how they can perform this miracle.

Assessing a candidate accurately is honestly very hard, and it generally takes years to be good at it. But the way to do it is very easy to understand. It is only about relevance and coherence. If everything about you is relevant and coherent, then you are a good candidate.

And there are three areas of great interest for recruiters when they assess you: your Past, your Project, and your Personality. If it makes you any easier to remember, you can summarize it as the "3 P Focus".

Your past is obviously about what you have done so far: diplomas, experiences, hobbies, and achievements. If the whole thing doesn't tell a coherent story about you, then they will start digging... And of course, same thing for your project (what you want to do) and your personality (who you seem to be).

Third conclusion: recruiters are looking after the coherence and relevance of your profile, to formulate recommendations.

Recruiters love you

Do not forget that if there is no candidate, then there is no need for recruiters. They need you as much as you need a job. In a way, it might mean they love you ☺.