Direct From Jen: 2 Days With 50 Recruiters

sife-recruiterIn one of my favorite excursions of the year, last week I had the chance to spend two days with some of the coolest (and most well respected) corporate recruiters in America.  Thankfully this particular visit to Minneapolis occurred during the summer – a gorgeous time to see this often blistering cold but intellectually rich city. While the week as a whole was brutally long, it was jam packed with fascinating conversations and presentations from several of the top HR professionals in the business.

For those of you wondering what the heck is happening in the HR departments of the biggest companies, rest assured, I got a good glimpse and some insight for you.

First, contrary to popular belief, most of the recruiters I met said they’re still actively hiring.  While it may be only 20% or so of the numbers they were looking for last year, they’re still working hard to uncover really solid candidates.  Consider reaching out to the companies you’re most interested in, even if you’re cold calling without a referral or lead.  Just make sure you do your research first so you don’t end up wasting your time.

Second, even at the biggest and most stable companies, there’s been a lot of downsizing, moving staff around, and several major mergers and acquisitions.  That means that the people you may have met from a given company and talked to at some point about a job, may very well not be there anymore.  So re-establish contact with them or someone who replaced them to keep your opportunities open, or reopen previously closed doors.

Third, the majority of the companies I spoke to are neglecting one really important  issue –  building or maintaining a solid pipeline of great potential talent.  I don’t completely fault them – the world does after all seem like it’s upside down.  But recruiters without pipelines have to race around to find candidates every time a new position opens up.  If you’re interested in or have your heart set on a particular company, or group, get in touch with their recruiting team and stay in touch!  Check in every two-three months to let them know what you’re up to and see if there are any new opportunities or offices opening up.  The better you build these relationships and get to know one another, the more likely they’ll think of you when a prospective opportunity does open up.

If you want YSN’s advice, go after what you want!  Get out and dig around to find the opportunities that are certainly there and available for the taking.  Tell people what you’re looking for and always be networking.  Persistence and tenacity will speak volumes about you, not to mention land you one of the fewer opportunities out there when you need one.

Jennifer Kushell, President & Co-Founder YSN – Expert Advice on Career Advancement and Tools for Professional Development