How do I get the attention of a recruiter

How do I get the attention of a recruiter

I really enjoyed this conversation with Petra Zinc and particularly loved her answer to: “How do I get the attention of the right recruiter – and should I even bother?”

Here’s the transcript (with the ands… and…umms removed to make us sound smarter:

Kathy Wilson:

Welcome Petra, I’ve been following you now for a little while on LinkedIn and I’m really interested in what you’ve been doing.  I really like your attitude towards job seekers as much as anything else. Could you tell me a little bit about what you’re doing and how you got started and how you found yourself here?

Petra Zinc:

Hi and thanks for having me. I’m a personal training specialist now.  I was in brand and product marketing for 10 years and was always in the FMCT and technology industry. I’ve launched about 55 products within my career. That’s what I know that I’m good at; I can create something from scratch and create a need for something and promote it.

My last role was with Subway in Australia, looking after Australia, New Zealand and my marketing director at that time was never going to leave her position so I really had nowhere to go.  So I thought I need to get my next role and need to progress in my career. So, I had a chat to a recruiter and said, “what’s next for me?” and she said, “would you be interested in recruitment?”  I was like, “nope, it’s not gonna happen.” But then I thought about it and realised,  I don’t even know what recruitment actually is.”

Petra Zinc:

But then I thought about it and realised,  I don’t even know what recruitment actually is.”

So, I thought I’d have a look at it, have chats with different people and see what their take on was. I realised that it could be a great way to apply my marketing knowledge. I get to work with companies to see what kind of people and skill sets they would actually need to achieve their goals. And in the end, it is a bit like matchmaking.

And, that’s the beauty of social media.  I work with a whole bunch of talented people on identifying their story, their USP, what makes them different, how can we promote that especially online.  Australians spend about two and a half hours every day on social media – so, there’s no choice of not being online anymore.

Kathy Wilson:

And how long ago did you make that move?

Petra Zinc:

I’ve only worked on it part-time since August last year, but I’ve been in recruitment about 3 years.

But, you know, in the end, it’s a longer-term approach.  I can give the candidates or the individuals the knowledge of their strengths and their USPs that they can use in any industry. Given Millennials and Generation X will go through about 17 different jobs and 5 careers, you need to know what makes you unique and what can you apply in other jobs, industries and roles; it’s not the technical skills that make you stand out at all.

Given Millennials and Generation X will go through about 17 different jobs and 5 careers, you need to know what makes you unique and what can you apply in other jobs, industries and roles; it’s not the technical skills that make you stand out at all.

Kathy Wilson:

It’s a real skill, isn’t it, even just job hunting itself, it’s a whole unique set of skills. And suddenly, you’re thrown into it and you’re supposed to know what to do and you don’t.

Petra Zinc:

Exactly.

Kathy Wilson:

And that’s always stressful.

Petra Zinc:

It is stressful and you know, that’s what I found when I got into recruitment because it’s a very personalized business. It’s all about who you know and your reputation in the market and because I’m obviously not from Australia, nobody knew me. So, I thought I better get onto this quickly and do what I know how to do. So I put myself out there.  Because I know I can physically reach many hundred people in a month.  But if a hundred people and their referrals touch base with me, my network is 10, 15, 20 folds, so that’s my approach.  And it’s what I’m doing with my candidates, I want them to make future employers or investors, for starters, for example, aware of what they’re doing.

But if a hundred people and their referrals touch base with me, my network is 10, 15, 20 folds, so that’s my approach.  And it’s what I’m doing with my candidates. I want them to make future employers or investors, for starters, for example, aware of what they’re doing.

And that’s what personal branding is all about. I often get the feedback saying, “oh, I don’t want to brag about myself” but it’s not about you…

It’s seriously not about you, it’s about solving somebody else’s problem told in your story and sharing your approach but you benefit somebody else, it’s not about you.

Kathy Wilson:

Yep, I totally agree with that. Okay. Now, we touched briefly on this via LinkedIn but one of the reasons I reached out to you is this; I have a fairly specific question.

This is a kind of an amalgamation of quite a number of my clients;

Let’s call her Meg. She is a talented woman between 40 and 50 and is really getting to the top of her career game.

Here’s what she nearly always asks me: “Should I be selling myself to a recruiter? If so, how do I find you and what should that relationship look like, what should that person do as a next step to get their next role?”

Petra Zinc:

I definitely think recruiters have their place and my recommendation is your client finds a recruiter that specialises in their area of expertise.

So, I would never recruit accountants or lawyers because I have no idea what a good accountant actually looks, so I would embarrass myself in front of a client but then also in front of a candidate because I wouldn’t know the questions to ask.

Whereas, you know, that’s why I love working in a digital space because it’s what I’m also doing on a day to day basis and I was in marketing hands-on for 10 years, so I know exactly what it feels like to be in those kinds of environments and also work with the clients. I can see and identify when this candidate maybe hasn’t done exactly this particular thing but they have done this other thing over here so they may actually have the skills.

Petra Zinc:

So, we can have this mutual relationship where we identify, ‘alright, you haven’t done this but you’re interested in that and this role would require that, so what do we need to upskill you in this area or what kind of experience do you need to get on’.

So, a good recruiter will not just put you in a role that they’re currently working on but they are a partner throughout your career. And I’ve been working with probably 60% of my candidates for the last three years and some of them I’ve never

So, I definitely think you should have maybe two recruiters who you’ve got a good relationship with.

I would not recommend you go to every recruiter. Recruitment has a very bad reputation, to be honest for a good reason, you don’t need to have a qualification to get into recruitment; if you say tomorrow, you’re a recruiter, you’re recruiter and that’s the danger.

There are people who you send your CV to random in case that they get to bite, and maybe it’s a company or for a role that you’re not even interested in and that comes back badly on you.  Brisbane especially is a very small town, so names come around in circles. So, I would recommend definitely, talk to one recruiter maybe a couple.

Kathy Wilson:

Okay, so my clients, how do they find somebody like you? If it’s okay with you, I’ll probably suggest they come check you out as well because it looks like you’re a really good fit for a lot of my clients but how do they… so, they come to you, talk to you, who else should they go to or how else do they find somebody?

Petra Zinc:

Yeah, recruitment has two different approaches; you’ve got the individuals who are running their own business and are more individual consultants or boutique businesses and then you’ve got the large organizations like Hudson and Davidson. They are international companies and they have a very specific structure and everyone has their own specialization. So, for example, with Hudson where I started my recruitment career, I could only look after the Queensland market and only digital marketing, when it got a little bit technical I had to hand it over to somebody else. So, you’ve got even those tiny little details that, you know, is part of being in big corporations. But LinkedIn is definitely the way to go.

Kathy Wilson:

I’ve actually noticed since we made contact in a couple of days ago, you’re nearly always on LinkedIn.

Petra Zinc:

Well, it seems like it but because I am scheduling and doing all my content on a Sunday, I’m hardly active throughout the day but it looks like that.

Petra Zinc:

You need to be on top of mind and the same is what companies do with their products and services. Maybe you don’t need your running shoes at the moment but in two weeks when your shoe is broken, you need it, so what are you thinking? ‘oh, of course, this firm that I’ve been exposed to it for the last two weeks and that’s the same with recruiters and your personal brand. You may not need a writer at the moment but then in two weeks, your best writer decides to move to Europe forever and you don’t have anyone.

So now you need somebody, who are you getting in touch with? Of course, the person that always comes up. And, you know, social media is a good platform to build those relationships. It shows your thought leadership and your approach.

Kathy Wilson:

And so, my client should build her own brand on LinkedIn and then they reach out to people and make the connections and then keep going that way, is that what you’re suggesting?

Petra Zinc:

Yeah, but it goes hand-in-hand because by building your brand, you need to reach out to somebody already and see who else is out there. So, I always recommend seeing what are the influencers, who are they, what are they putting out there and what kind of response do they get and why?

Because you know, social media has a psychology behind it.  There are reasons why you ‘share’ or ‘like’ content, it’s because it says something about you. You want to be associated with this kind of statement or this kind of content because it makes you look good.

Kathy Wilson:

Or if I look like an idiot, I think that’s what so many people are scared of.

Petra Zinc:

Exactly. But you need to be prepared and you need to put your feelings out there slowly. So, even just by participating you are saying something.  ‘Liking’ and commenting saying, “great article, thanks for sharing”, people are thinking “oh, she read this article”. But then also make a specific comment saying, “I really love point number 2, what I found is XYZ”, so put your little cents in there and participate in the conversation because that’s what social media is. It’s taking part in a conversation that already happens with an audience, it’s relevant for you and you for them

But then also make a specific comment saying, “I really love point number 2, what I found is XYZ.” Put your little cents in there and participate in the conversation. Because that’s what social media is. It’s taking part in a conversation that already happens with an audience, it’s relevant for you and you for them

I also think as a recruiter, I want to be surrounded by the best talent.  So if I see somebody very active and they have already established a bit of a reputation and a brain in the market, it reflects well on me.  So I, of course, would reach out to this person saying, “would you be interested in jobs, because I’ve got jobs”.

Kathy Wilson:

Yeah, that’s fantastic. I think the other thing that I’ve found is that when you’re first starting out, from the outside looking in it looks like the cool players have their life together. That everything’s awesome for them.  They’ve always been awesome. But when you actually make contact and talk to people, everybody’s just a human being online.  Everyone’s worried about looking like an idiot. When they’ve taken the time to write an article if you take the time to make an intelligent comment.  Most people that’s just a really nice human interaction, no matter who they are.

Petra Zinc:

Exactly. And you know, that’s the nicest way to get a relationship started with big influencers as well. When you say, “thanks so much for sharing that insight”, everyone feels humbled.  Again, how you can make people remember you for the feeling you give them not for the things you say. I always told my recruiters to “treat everyone as if it was a speed date.” You are with them only for half an hour, maybe an hour. So you need to get all the information out that you possibly can by making them feel good.

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