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Be Your Own Recruiter

By Matt Lowney

There are basically two types of recruiters—corporate and third party.  A corporate recruiter's job is to find the best available employees on the market for one company.  A third party recruiter is more like a free agent.  Her job is to locate and place candidates with a multitude of companies.  In my opinion candidates rely too heavily on third party recruiters because they think that these recruiters have the “inside track” on openings.  Most of the time recruiters do not have any better access to an opening.  In addition, companies would rather work directly with a candidate because of the fees associated with agency candidates.  How can you do the work of a third party recruiter to unearth openings?  The first step is to think like a third party recruiter.  Here are some helpful ideas on how to channel your inner recruiter. 

Create a plan.  Typically a third party recruiter's day is broken into two parts, business development and locating candidates.  Since you are working to find only one candidate (you!) a job, you can focus all your energies on locating the best opportunities available.  First, you must create a game plan.  How are you going to structure your day to focus on locating opportunities?   Start by making a list of contacts you are comfortable calling.  These contacts are usually former co-workers and professionals in your field.  Let these people be your foothold into other companies.  You will be surprised at the number of connections you can make just through your list of immediate contacts.  Next, make a list of targeted companies, both in and out of your industry, for which you would like to work.  Once you've exhausted your personal network you must really start acting like an agency recruiter.  Make a list of companies you would like to work for and start calling.  Your ideal point of contact is a hiring manager or department head because these people make the hiring decisions.

Work your plan.  Once you've begun the process of making extensive contacts, ask to meet with key contacts, even if they are not looking to fill a position right now.  Request a short meeting to conduct an informational interview.  As part of working your plan, you need to set aside certain rewards for attaining goals.  For example, if you have a goal to make 5 new contacts each day, then you should have a reward mechanism set up once you reach this goal.  Often the reward is something simple like watching an afternoon TV show or leaving the house to get a cup of coffee.  Many of the successful third party recruiters I know have a daily built in reward system for meeting incremental goals.  You should do the same.

Measurable results.  Most third party recruiters are commissioned for their success.  The only way they make more placements is to make more and better connections into the communities they serve.  As a jobseeker you should adopt this mindset.  So once you have created and worked your plan, you need to have some way of measuring your success.  Obviously landing your dream job would be the ultimate measure of success.  However you need to measure success along the way.  Perhaps a good benchmark would be having three in person interviews per week.  The more people you get in front of the more success you will have in uncovering opportunities.

Matt Lowney is a corporate recruiter, radio host, and career consultant specializing in the areas of healthcare and information technology.  He can be reached at for additional information about his services.