Job Searchers: Start thinking and acting strategically.

I had an interesting experience with a recruiter a couple of weeks ago. I guess I should have known this could happen because it’s the same for any industry. But it made me think about how job search candidates could really take some lessons from both successful and unsuccessful recruiters. Instead of just complaining about the poor experience they’ve had.

The interesting thing is  – and you can learn from this, some recruiters are still following the same old processes and approaches that were being rolled out way back in 2000.  Their idea of what a CV should look like and their approach to their clients (include both candidates and hiring managers) has remained the same.

My epiphany came when I realised that the same can be said for some job search candidates. The very ones that complain about getting a bad deal from recruiters! Ironic.

As a job search candidate I’d like you to take a few moments and reflect on the behaviours of the recruiters you respect and those who you’ve written off as a waste of space – for the right reasons.

Why is it that the ‘transactional recruiter’ struggles while the ‘strategic thinking recruiter’ not only survives but thrives?

Why is it that the smart recruiter can always get meetings with the most sort after hiring managers and top talent, have all the best roles and actually make great placements – while the transactional recruiter is left to feed on the scraps?

Think about what you’re doing. Is there a parallel? When you experience something about an internal or external recruitment process or activity that you don’t like, take a lesson. What are you doing that’s different and that could position you to succeed – rather than continually fail?

I want you to start thinking about your job hunt as a business. Like any business it requires investment in time and effort. If you were asked to invest $100 for every job application, phone call and job interview – would you behave differently? Would you be more strategic?

My guess is you would.


In my previous blog – Are you rolling the dice with your job search?, I talked to the processes and areas you should consider. Think about building a plan around these.

Are you fishing where the fish are, and with the right bait?

When you complain about the recruiter only contacting you when they have a job for you – and it turns out to be nothing more than a stab in the dark, think about what you have been doing. When was the last time you invested time in building a pipeline of quality opportunities and relationships? Researching first? Investing the time up front? Not just throwing a hook into the water and hoping to catch a fish – let alone the right fish!


Think and act like you want to be treated. Think about the behaviours you admire most in successful recruiters and model those yourself.

Ask recruiters what makes them successful. I’ll bet you come up with a common thread amongst all of them.

  • Well thought out strategy
  • Working to plan
  • Knowing their value proposition
  • Working to a plan
  • Knowing their prospects
  • Working to a plan
  • Building long term trusted relationships
  • Working to a plan
  • Not behaving transactionally
  • Working to a plan
  • Quality communication
  • Working to a plan
  • Focus
  • Did I mention working to a plan?!


Good luck to all those on a job search. Look around you and look what others are doing that make them successful, ask questions, make changes where you need to, and model the same behaviours and approach.


Follow Craig McAlpine:

Twitter: @MyCareerBrand #MyCareerBrand




Craig on LinkedIn:


Contact: Phone: +64 21 666 807, +64 9 5222802 e-mail: Craig McAlpine's Linked In profile: MISSION Working with Job Search Candidates to build their go-to-market strategy, develop powerful marketing collateral such as their CV, LinkedIn profile and social media presence, and ultimately to secure a new role that is not only rewarding but also assists them on their career journey. EXPERTISE Career Coaching - LinkedIn Training - LinkedIn Optimisation - Personal Branding - Job Hunt: Go to Market Strategy and Collateral - CV design and preparation - Interview skills INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE - Professional Services - Information Technology - Banking and Finance - Recruitment

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Posted in Applying For a Role, Curriculum Vitae, CV, Interview Skills, jobs

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