What to do when recruiters aren't getting you interviews
Firstly, I want to start this blog by stressing that it’s in every recruiter’s interest to help a job seeker secure new employment. If there is a reasonable chance they can help, they will certainly try to do so.
There are however plenty of instances where a recruiter feels they are unable to assist. This could be for a number of reasons; some perfectly logical, and some based on the recruiters own instincts.
They may for example concentrate on permanent vacancies and struggle to secure interviews for individuals with a series of temporary placements over a number of years (logical). Or they may just feel they have met with several other individuals with similar experience who they feel would be more likely to be of interest to their clients (instinct).
So what do you do when you find yourself in a position where the recruiters who hold the vacancies you are interested in don’t seem able to able or willing to help you?
Firstly, you need to assess whether it’s just the market conditions that are the hold up (perfectly likely over the last few years). If not, you need to get some honest feedback from them. It may be that you’re being unrealistic in the opportunities you are applying for (lacking suitable skills & experience, being overqualified, being too expensive etc), or it may be for reasons an inexperienced recruiter is a little uncomfortable raising with you (e.g. poor grammar on written communications with them, concern over interpersonal skills, your approach, etc). Try to find out the issue and in some circumstances, be willing to take on constructive feedback.
Whatever it may be, it’s never personal and can be invaluable feedback to take on board. Remember that a recruiter has every incentive to place you with their clients and will want to do so if they can. If you can take their feedback and use it, it’s likely to have a positive impact on your career prospects.
It may mean having to reassess your career expectations, even if only for the short term. If several recruiters have fed back to you that you don’t have the level or type of experience required for the move you want to make, they could be on to something. In this circumstance, can they give some advice on how to address this or keep you posted on stepping stone opportunities that can get you there?
If you find that you’re still banging your head against a brick wall and getting nowhere with your job search through recruiters, you may experience more success applying for roles directly with employers. Work out which firms you’d like to work for and add the ‘Careers’ page of their website in to a ‘job search’ folder on your internet browser. Check the sites weekly to see if any new suitable positions have become available.
A bit of networking (real life and social) could also strike gold. Speak to your network of contacts and former colleagues to ensure they know you’re looking for a move. Make sure you have a professional online profile, by setting up an account on LinkedIn and update it frequently.