We recently spoke with Gareth Longley of Recruiters Finegreen Associates in Manchester, UK, about how senior executive candidates can manage their expectations when applying for roles. Gareth has given us some great insights here, and while candidates may not be happy with every situation surrounding recruiters, his balanced views include learning points for all. Understanding something of the mind set and priorities of recruiters is valuable in terms of managing your own expectations as a senior level candidate.

Gareth Longley of Finegreen Associates

Gareth Longley of Finegreen Associates

Gareth said, ‘Personally, I pride myself on being as honest as possible with both my clients and candidates when it comes to the likelihood of me being able to assist them in their search for a new role or new employee. It stands to reason that good customer service will generally lead to happy clients and candidates, and ultimately; repeat business.’

‘However, there have been times where I have fallen short of the high standards I set for myself and my team. On average, I receive anything between 5 and 50 applications for each of the roles that I deal with, and I generally have around 10-20 active vacancies at any one time. In extremely busy periods this may be much more, and spinning that many plates means that the standard of service sometimes isn’t as high as I would like.’

‘My main objective as a recruiter is to make placements, and it stands to reason that I will place the best fit, giving clients a strong shortlist of 3-4 candidates. This unfortunately means that up to 40 applicants who may believe themselves to be “perfect for the job” will be discounted from the process. It’s almost impossible to give feedback to each and every one of these candidates as to why they were unsuccessful because I would spend my whole day speaking to candidates that aren’t quite right, and no time in placing candidates! If this happened, I wouldn’t be a particularly good recruiter!’

Gareth’s top tips for senior executive candidates are:

1) Choose a recruiter that is a specialist in your field and take time to get to know them. Where possible, take the time to meet with them face to face and build up a relationship.

2) Realise that, despite popular belief, us recruiters are actually human beings and have good days and bad. No-one can be superman!

3) Amend your CV and covering letter to ensure you match the role that you’re applying for. Taking a little extra time to show how you’re a good fit can help recruiters when discussing you with a client.

4) If the advert stipulates certain criteria with regards to experience or qualifications, be aware of this and don’t expect a response if you do not meet the minimum standards.

5) If you’ve left e.g. 23 messages and the recruiter isn’t getting back to you, it’s unlikely you’ve got the specific skills for that job. Draw a line under it and move on to the next thing.

We hope that what Gareth has explained here will be of value to all senior level candidates. Understanding where recruiters are ‘coming from’ will aid you in your search. How?

  • By an enhanced understanding that nurturing relationships is key, and appreciating that recruiters do need to service their clients; these two points together will hopefully be an aid to either moving on after a disappointment, to help you keep pushing, and to keep trying.
  • A strong balance of realism, resilience and expectation management will serve you well during your job search.

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