During my time at California State University, Chico, I was hitting the books and riding the waves as a collegiate wakeboarder. When I first started wakeboarding, I was a professional face planter, but I was passionate about the sport and was committed to earning a spot on our competing team, so I kept grabbing the rope.
After college, my career as an Accounting and Finance Recruiter with the DeWinter Group showed me that the commitment necessary to compete in a Collegiate Wakeboard Tournament is similar to the commitment necessary for a successful partnership with a recruiter to avoid falling flat during your job search.
To land your dream job, you have to commit to working with an expert who can help you navigate the rough waters of a tight job market. Here are five things to consider to successfully work with a recruiter.
1. Be Open to Feedback
It’s inevitable that you’ll be skipping along the surface of the hiring process one moment and then stumbling the next. You will be drinking lake water and you won’t know why. It’s important to be open to feedback as you begin your job search with a recruiter. When you are working with a recruiter, they will help to identify your career path and are more knowledgeable about the immediate opportunities available to get there.
As an accounting and finance professional, you are the financial backbone of any business. Chances are you don’t spend much of your time navigating this highly competitive job market, negotiating salaries, or preparing for interviews. A job search is a full-time role and not your area of expertise. Similar to a wakeboarding coach, my job as a recruiter is to bridge the gap between a hiring manager and you – their next hire – to help facilitate a successful hiring experience. If an interview goes sideways, I can help you identify where you went wrong and give you the advice to get back on the board.
2. Maneuver the Market with Speed and Agility
Boat speed for wakeboarding can vary depending on the boat’s make and model and the amount of weight. In a tight labor market, the pressure is on hiring managers to hire quickly and effectively and opportunities can slip through your fingers. A long time-to-fill means work isn’t getting done. As a result, hiring managers are more keen to make an offer to a less qualified candidate to avoid a lapse in production, especially during the busy season. A good recruiter will be sure to keep you top-of-mind with hiring managers. When you work with a recruiter, it’s critical to move quickly and with a sense of urgency by being responsive, available, and enthusiastic. Moving slowly is a surefire way to wipeout.
3. Put Your Best Foot Forward
One of the most basic wakeboarding tips is to decide which foot you face forward – a decision that will come instinctively. Similarly, it’s important to use your instincts during your job search. If something doesn’t “feel” right at any point in the process, it’s important to give your recruiter candid and honest feedback. What are your thoughts on the company? What was the vibe? Was the information you received at the interview the same as what we had previously discussed? Do the salary and benefits meet your needs/expectations?
Your recruiter is there to help you stay balanced. You should never feel nervous about offending him/her and you should always feel secure knowing that your conversations with your recruiter will be kept confidential. I would much rather know you are not enthusiastic about a role than continue to pursue a role that may not be the right fit. The more information we have, the easier it will be to get our head above water with your search.
4. Stay Afloat with the Proper Equipment
Just like any water sport, it’s important to be prepared for a job search with the proper equipment. When you are picking out which life jacket to wear, you compare prices, brand, and functionality before you find the right fit. When you are applying for multiple roles or working with several recruiters, comparing each job opportunity can be confusing (not to mention, life-altering), so it’s important to stay organized. For accounting and finance professionals, the obvious choice to analyze data is to create an Excel spreadsheet. To help you get started, I have created a spreadsheet that will allow you to easily compare compensation, benefits, commute, and perks, as well as track milestones such as interview dates/times and follow-up emails.
5. Stick the Landing with a Knowledgeable Coach
Enlisting the help of a recruiter can help you launch a more effective, efficient, and successful job search. Finding someone with the right skills, demeanor, and experience is critical to a successful partnership. It’s equally important to choose a recruiter you can trust and who has your best interest in mind.
A knowledgeable coach will give you ample opportunity to ask as many questions about the process, the role, and the market before you get on the board and begin a search. What positions are available? What skills are employers searching for? Is there a general range for compensation for people with my skill set?
Open and honest communication is an important part of the role of a recruiter and one that I take very seriously. A recruiter should take the time to understand why you’re passionate about your work and learn about your career goals. He/she should understand that these conversations are deeply personal and considering a career move can be life-altering.
Although it may be tempting to look at your bindings and watch your board glide across the water, you need to keep your head up to move forward. A good recruiter will give you the information and confidence to make a thoughtful and deliberate career move.