Yesterday I had lunch with a friend that is an Employment Specialist with WorkSource, part of the WA State Employment Security Department. Her job is to help people learn to help themselves during their job search, including helping them find resources.
We were talking about unrealistic expectations on the part of some candidates. We talked about the laid off executive that expected her to function as his personal headhunter, managing his entire job search including updating his resume and turning up job leads for him and scheduling his interviews. Then there was the recent PhD graduate that could only work 16-20 weeks, wouldn't commute more than 15 minutes away from home, wanted to make six figures, and had so many restrictions on her availability that she was basically unemployable given the parameters of her profile. (We reached the same conclusion that she would be best served as a consultant where she could set her own hours and fees.)
My friend and I used to work together as recruiters. She made the choice to pursue this career path due to her interests and strengths. As a state worker, she isn't making nearly the amount of money that she would in the private sector, but she loves her job. When I made the choice to be a very "public" recruiting presence in the local market, we weren't in a recession with the high unemployment that we have now. I constantly receive referrals (i.e. unsolicited resumes), requests from people to get them a job, and questions ranging from getting a visa to move to the US, to getting an introduction to hiring managers at companies I have worked for, to "hey can you check out my cousin's resume?". I also have hiring managers or other recruiters send me job descriptions to see if I know anyone that might be a fit, or if I have any resources to pursue that might yield quality candidates. I also have one or two friends that own their own business that occasionally need help devising a job description or posting a job somewhere.
I try and help where I can, but time is a tight commodity for me. And recruiting is my *job*; I get paid for my services. I realize that not everyone can afford to pay for individualized help on their resume or their job search, which is one of the reasons why I keep a blog and answer questions in my weekly column (and refer them to my friend at WorkSource). I know that small businesses without a dedicated HR department might need assistance now finding help on a project. And if I know you well either professionally or personally, chances are I'm more than willing to help out. We're all in this together. But people reaching out blindly and being unwilling to manage their own career don't get any points with me or my colleagues. "Recruiters" are generally pretty busy people. Just because we hang out where we are visible or post a job, it's important for job seekers to understand that we aren't personal headhunters for anyone. If we aren't able to help you specifically, please don't take it personally as a refusal to get involved. And if you ask us for advice, please don't act badly if that advice doesn’t sound like something you would be interested in. You asked, we answered with our professional opinion. Take it or leave it, but please don't be ungrateful.
Please remember that we guard our professional networks zealously. If you have a business idea you want to pitch to Microsoft, I'm NOT the person to contact for the name of the VP in X business division. Not only will I refuse to do it, asking me for that name damages your credibility with me if you decide next month to look for a job and I happen to know the hiring manager or recruiter for that dream job you found.
I love what I do. I enjoy meeting people from around the world, exchanging ideas, and helping people find jobs especially in these tough times. Most of my colleagues feel the same way or we wouldn't be doing what we do. I am just requesting that the workforce at large please respect me/us and to understand our boundaries when it comes to helping out.
Why “I Can Do That!” Isn’t Good Enough
"Learn To Face the Changes" -