Why is the recruiter interviewing me if there is no real job opening?

by: Joanne Meehl

A common question that job hunters ask is, "Why is the recruiter interviewing me if there is no job?"

The cynical job hunter adds, "It must be some kind of trick. They are playing with me, wasting my time." (Underlying attitude: "Recruiters should work for me, the candidate. I'm out of work, and the job search is so hard, so don't you feel sorry for me?")

Recruiters do not waste time. They are on 100% "commission", not making a dime until a candidate is hired. Despite this, they give a lot of time away to people who should really be talking with job search coaches (yes, recruiters tell them to see people like me). Recruiters should be appreciated for this time they spend with candidates even there is little?chance of being presented for an opening any time soon.

The answer to why they still want to talk with you even if they don't have a job req to fill: Many recruiters DO make it their business to interview potential candidates so that they know who's available out there. They have a list of companies who count on them for candidates - they get calls from their companies such as "OMG, my Director of ____ is leaving in two weeks, I need a replacement yesterday. You know us, so who do you have who might be a fit?" So, many like to talk with candidates whether or not there is a position they're trying to fill today. They are being professional in doing so.

Most will tell you this as you sit down with them. You, the candidate, in these cases should?do the interview but also ask things like, "How do I stay on your radar?" and "What can I do to help you?" Recruiters have amazing networks and viewing you as a resource instead of as an unsmiling, skeptical candidate will help you immeasurably.

So Negative Nellie and Bitter Bob should be flattered, not insulted, if they get such a meeting with a recruiter.

There is no plot. No trick.

Just recruiters doing their job well: helping others.


Want to know more about how to best work with recruiters as part of your job search strategy? Contact Joanne.


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