Secrets Of How A Recruiter REALLY Works

A job?  No.  This is war.

My partner Karen Woodworth was accused by a candidate of  “Just being in this for the money”,  and submitting other candidates.

She wrote the following email to describe exactly what she did to fill that job.  Changes to protect privacy have been made.



I have a client (an HR Rep) who calls me out of the blue with a problem. She needs to fill a position in her IT department, a position that they have been trying to fill for several weeks/months with no success. When I try to get some of the unwritten needs described I’m told that I need to talk to the department manager who’s out of town. Oh yes, and the HR Rep is going out of town next week as well so I’m to chat with Phyllis (someone I’ve never spoken with) when she gets back.

In the meantime, I search my files. (Picture this! Resume by resume I go through several hundred, maybe a thousand, each file is opened and examined page by page.) I actually have not spoken to Phyllis yet, so I am searching without full disclosure of her needs. I find a number of candidates who can do this job. I narrow it down to what I feel at this time are the best from which to select my finalists and begin to contact them for further qualification. Now, all this time I’m thinking Julie Beck, Julie Beck… I gotta talk to Julie Beck, I think she’s perfect for this but I know that Bryan’s been marketing her to Arizona. Out of respect for her desire to go to Arizona and Bryan’s working in that direction I hold off contacting her. (“Hell, Julie and her husband are ready to become permanent snowbirds, she won’t be interested.” I tell myself for days.) And I’ve not yet spoken with Phyllis.

So when Phyllis returns I get to ask some questions and find out that I really like this lady. I like her upfront simple responses and lack of playing games. I begin to submit what I think are the right kinda folks and she steers me into a finer appreciation of what she’s really looking for and I’m not on the mark. (God, I want to do this right. I want to serve the HR Rep that called me for help, but more than that, this opening is becoming a full time search. No more like an obsession. I’ve set my mind on it… Other recruiters have failed at filling this and I wanna do it! Damn, I want to be the one who heard and understood and succeeded.) And, if I could only talk to Julie, oh hell, she’s working on something for $135 an hour, she won’t even talk to me. Geography’s wrong and salary’s too light. Dont even bother to call her… But she’s so perfect…

So I begin to refine my search and submit a couple more guys who can do the job. Telephone screening goes badly, I’ve not hit the mark but I’m still thrashing around the files and putting it out on the net and sharing my needs with cooperative recruiters I trust…

Now Phyllis’s sister-in-law dies and she has to go out of town again. I’ve submitted a couple of guys that she’s not seen cuz she’s gone. And in desperation, I finally screw up the courage to call you, Julie. (If you tell me to get lost, I deserve your rancor… I know you’ve got bigger fish to fry.)

You and I decide to look at this… And I feel like I finally have a serious candidate in for consideration. At this same time, if you don’t get or take this job I’m still and even more committed to filling it! Damn am I committed! Intellectually and professionally I need to succeed here because others have failed.

And all at once, I’ve managed to give Phyllis three serious candidates… I haven’t told the others, but my money’s on you.

And, girl friend, the money has nothing to do with it! This is personal! It’s my ego!

Do I want you to get the offer? YUP! Do I want you to get the best offer I can get for you? YUP! Do I expect to do the negotiating? YUP! I have 25 years of experience in this job that has proven to me time and again that I can and will get for my candidate a better offer than my candidate can get for him/her self. In that you’ll need to trust me.

And, at some point, I would like you to believe in me, and not compare me to another recruiter you’ve dealt with before. This is my profession, not my job. I’m here because I can do what others fail to do.

I’m not here for the money! That happens to be a by-product not a score card.


Would you trust the above recruiter with your resume?  I would.  That is the kind of recruiter you want to find and keep in contact with for your whole career.  She may not help you get every job she submits your resume for, but if she finds you a job, you will love it.

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