When I decided to leave my job as a Chief of Staff to a royal family and become a recruiter (aka headhunter: I use them interchangeably), never did I think the job would be as rewarding and challenging as it is. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect because my past experience with celebrities and billionaires only taught me to expect the unexpected. And, as hard as it is to please the high net worth, it’s even harder to please the candidates I work with – that I was NOT expecting. Here’s how you can get a recruiter on your side so that they work hard for you, and not forget about you.
Be open to constructive criticism
The recruiter has a vested interest in your success. If they give you some guidance, then you should probably take it because they know what works in the job market and what doesn’t. Candidates are limited – for the most part – to their own work experience, while headhunters have worked with hundreds of employers and thousands of candidates.
Don’t resist the notes given because those are gold nuggets and nobody else is going to dish it out to you straight. Potential employers certainly won’t tell candidates that they need to brush up on their attire or speak more eloquently in interviews, but recruiters will. It’s often those small details that make the difference in this competitive job market.
Have a good attitude
Headhunters are constantly under tremendous pressure from their clients, so don’t add fuel to the fire by being demanding or inconsiderate. Any professional relationship must be built on trust and mutual respect, and the recruiter-job seeker partnership is no different. Always make sure you stay in good communication and that your interaction is always positive; Nobody likes a sourpuss.
Don’t be a diva
We’ve all heard stories about divas in the music and motion picture industry, and I have dealt with plenty of them myself. Temperamental behavior is ugly and nobody likes it. Now, this may surprise you, but it’s actually pretty common for executive assistants who work for billionaires and celebrities to adopt some of that arrogant diva behavior and dump it right onto the lap of their recruiter. Here’s a real-life conversation I had with a celebrity personal assistant that wanted me to represent her:
ME: What kind of salary range are you looking at?
DIVA: (haughty) Well, $150K, of course.
ME: I’m sorry, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to place you.
DIVA: (scoffs) What! Do you know who I am? Do you know who I used to work for?
ME: (very polite) Yes, I know who you are. Yes, I know who you used to work for. The key words here are “used to”. We are in a market recession and many employers are only paying half of what you want. Also, there are some problems with your work history that would raise objections from employers.
DIVA: (absolute disbelief) Problems? What on Earth are you talking about?!
ME: You have no recommendation letters and were at your last employer for only 11 months. Before that, only 18 months. You’ve been unemployed for six months (which employers really dislike), and you don’t have a BA degree. Not to even mention, right now I have candidates who have a college degree and a pile of strong recommendation letters who can’t get work because it’s so competitive in the job market.
I think you get the point. I could keep going, but just know that whatever your situation is, there are candidates out there seeking jobs who have more experience, are better educated, who will work for less. In short, being humble and not exhibiting diva-like behavior will be appreciated. In sum, if you win over your recruiter and understand that it is a partnership, they will go out of their way to guide you down the right path and, possibly, get you a job you really love.
About the author: Before becoming a recruiter for the top one percent, Brian Daniel was an executive personal assistant to celebrities, billionaires and royal families. He is founder of The Celebrity Personal Assistant Network and author of the book “Dream Careers: The Tutorial for Finding Elite Personal Assistant Jobs.”