Have you ever received the call from the person that says: “Hi ______, I was calling you today because I have amazing sales position that you would be great for you!” The first thought that goes through your head is “How does this person know what is good or bad for me?” I personally know that this is a huge turn-off and an unpleasant way to start a conversation with someone I have never talked to before.
The paragraph above is how typical calls go with typical sales recruiters. The first sentence out of their mouth has everything to do with them and nothing to do with you. Usually they are calling you to fill a position that they are working on and found you because of a few key words in your resume or on your LinkedIn profile. I personally acknowledge that a few statements here or there do not define who I am as a professional sales recruiter or what I am looking to accomplish, so how could it define anyone else’s career ambitions? The art of career agent vs typical recruiter comes in to play at this juncture.
So ultimately you decide it can’t hurt to network with this person and decide to set up a call. The call starts with them asking you to describe yourself and your skill sets. They listen to your explanation and give you the job description of the position they are looking to fill. This is where you determine whether or not the last 15 minutes has provided any value to your career. The call can continue in 1 of 3 ways:
*1st option (Best Scenario) is that you and the recruiter alike find that this is the next best step in your career and proceed on in the relationship
*2nd option is that you do not feel that this is correct move for you and you politely decline
*3rd option is that the recruiter decides that the position you were originally going to be a great fit for, is not a good option for you or that you do not qualify.
If option 1 is not how the call ends, then you have normally just wasted 15-30 minutes of your time. Most often people will do this call with recruiters a few times before eventually deciding that if they are going to make a move, it is best if they do it on their own. The reason this method does not work is because there is no value that the recruiter brings to the table, they have called you with one position in mind and if options 2 or 3 are the end result, you typically never hear from them again. There is no value to the candidate in this model.
Moving on to what the difference between what the recruiter does and the career agent does. Career agents are very similar to sports agents because they typically are there to provide you with insight as to what your value in the market looks like and what other companies are offering. The start of a conversation with a career agent normally goes something like this “ Hi ______, thank you for taking my call today. I want you to know that my main objective today is to find out how you would define a career upgrade so that I can always provide you with quality recommendations moving forward.” This puts the onus on the candidate and what their career goals look like. Normally there are some questions to follow that really narrow down the types of companies and opportunities the candidate sees value in pursuing.
So the tricky part of every call is talking numbers (especially with sales people). Question’s like “How much Revenue and GP do you sell a year or what was your W2 last year” can often be intimidating to people and sometimes even a turn off. While I would suggest not giving those numbers immediately to a recruiter, a career agent has more value to you knowing your stats. Not only because they now know what an upgrade is but also because they know what you qualify for. Saying no, while it is your choice, does you no justice. It would be like Peyton Manning telling his agent that his stats are not relevant when looking into other teams.
The most important part about the difference though, is value. At the end of the call you will still have options 1, 2 and 3. The difference here is that all options work out for you. If at the end of the call the career agent presents you with an opportunity, based on the first part of the discussion, that they feel is a good fit, it will most likely align with what you are looking to do in the next steps of your career. However, while it would be great to be perfect all the time, sometimes it doesn’t have enough of what you are or are not looking for, so we are now at option 2. If you decide to pass on this particular opportunity, it’s okay because the agent now has an even better understanding of the ideal position for you for future considerations. The 3rd option is still a possibility as well, the agent may feel that what they are working on currently is not worth presenting. Options 2 and 3 are okay in this scenario because you have now established a relationship with someone that knows what you want and will continue to reach out to you with quality recommendations moving forward.
At the end of the day most sales recruiters and career agents get paid by finding positions that make you more money. The biggest takeaway here is the difference in value. You should know based on the start of conversation whether you are speaking with a recruiter or a career agent and ultimately which one will provide you the most value. Also everything that I have stated here is based on my personal and professional experience through hundreds if not thousands of conversations. While I wish that this article is approved by everyone, it will not be, so please feel free to add your thoughts and also if you find value in this.