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Ask Lawrence; “Why don’t I get replies to my applications from recruiters?"

31 Oct 16:00 By Lawrence Akers

Lawrence Akers Replies from Recruiters

This week, I’m taking a quick look at what you can do to help get interested replies from recruiters and for the sake of this blog, it is going to be pro-recruiter.
Like many professions, being a recruiter can be an extremely busy job. Where it becomes more complicated is that added extra layer that is almost psychological. When you’re a recruiter, you’re dealing with clients who are stressed and who need help NOW. They need the job to be done right, first time around; they don’t have time to clean up a job that wasn't done correctly.
On the other side, when you're a recruiter, your candidates are people who don't just do what they do for 'a job' or to earn their wage. Creatives do their job because it is an innate part of who they are; it is part of their identity. Consider when you meet someone for the first time and ask them, ‘tell me about yourself’. Chances are, they’re going to start off by telling you what they do for a living. When you mix the creative industry into that, you’re talking about a profession where people put their heart, soul and passion into what the do.
If your recruiter is a good one, they’re going to be a master at sales, a therapist in the making, a genius negotiator and a matchmaker like no other. They’re going to need to be confident in their communication and know how to prioritise what is important in their day. This is why the recruitment world has such high turnover - the majority of people struggle with the pace and the stress that comes with it. 
With that, there are some sure-fire things you can do to ensure that you completely ruin your chances of building a relationship and getting a response from the recruiter.
Let’s have a look at the top 5;
Email everyone in the company on the same email.
Like any business, everyone will have different roles and responsibilities. They’re also most likely to have a process in which you can apply to their agency for work and to specific open jobs. Sending an email to absolutely everyone with your CV is a sure fire way to let them know you haven't taken the time to explore what the process is properly. When a consultant has an inbox of 100+ emails to work through, they’re simply going to delete the ones that haven’t taken the time to apply in the appropriate way.
Not include a proper CV
Sending through a half page description of who you are and what you can offer is about the same as reading a paragraph describing a film in a TV listing and hoping it sounds enticing enough to make you want to watch it. Recruitment Consultants are generally not 'mind readers'; they need to be able to have something to work with in order to gain an understanding of who you are and what you can do, as well using this as a tool to utilise when they eventually talk to clients about you. 
As horrible as it sounds, statistically, your CV has a handful of seconds to convey what you’re good at before your recruiter either reads on or doesn't. Recruiters are often that time poor that, if they can’t see what they’re looking for almost immediately, they just need to move on or else they’ll never get that job filled. It’s not personal, it’s time management and they have clients who have a requirement that needs to be filled, usually immediately.
Not include a proper folio
If you’re a professional freelancer, I can get that it is often hard to put together a proper folio when you jump from job to job and you may also have difficulty in getting permission to use that work. As a professional creative though, this is the creative challenge you’ve been ‘briefed’ to work around. This is a visual industry, so if you’re not providing an indication of what your work is like, you can surely understand why people are not bashing down the doors to get to you.
If you’ve sent your folio to a recruiter for feedback and they’ve not immediately got back to you, don’t pester them with emails wanting feedback. Chances are, they’re finding an appropriate quieter time to do this so that they can look at it properly and offer constructive feedback instead of just providing a response to get you out of the way.
Not explaining why you’re suitable
Let me give you a situation. I place an ad online for a Finished Artist. I get an application from a Proofreader. No explanation is attached as to why this Proofreader believes they’re suitable for the Finished Art job. What do you think you would do in that situation? What impression do you think that application has made? 
You would actually be amazed at how often this happens. When you get 100 responses and sometimes up to half can fall into this category, recruiters just don't' have the time to get back to everyone individually to ask why they’ve applied when it appears that they’re completely not suitable.
Serial appliers
Let me give you another situation. I place an ad online for a Finished Artist. Bob applies. I place an ad online for a Graphic Designer. Bob applies. I place further ads online for Copywriters, UX Specialists, Wordpress Specialists, Front End Developers and Junior, Midweight and Senior Graphic Designer. Bob applies to all of them.
With each passing application, Bob is quickly watering down his chances of being taken seriously. When you identify this kind of behaviour, it reinforces either one of two messages; either Bob is completely unsure about what he is and thinks he can do everything OR Bob is completely desperate for work. Now, Bob is probably an awesome guy and may fit one of those requirements perfectly, however, when Bob applies to everything, he effectively 'spams' the Consultant and waters down his own ‘brand’. 
What’s the message here? Know what you’re good at and only apply for those roles. If you believe you have skills that bleed into other areas, then make sure you’ve clearly included a cover letter to explain why. Even better, if you have multiple skills, and many people do, create different versions of your CV that highlights that skill. It doesn’t mean you suddenly overlook the other skills but it does mean that you can tailor your CV to focus on what the job you’re applying for requires. 
I know this blog comes across as ‘the poor Recruiter’ and there is no denying that some recruiters promise the world and don't deliver. A mutual understanding of what is going on for both sides is going to help even out that misunderstanding though. 
At the end of the day, the recruiter has a client who has come to them because he wants to find the absolute BEST MATCH in the market for their job brief. There are so many talented people out there and the recruiter is going to get hit with a tidal wave of applications each time a job is advertised. As much as they would want to call and discuss it with everyone, time does not allow for this. Your consultant wants to fill the job as much as you want the job. If you provide your consultant with the information they need to sell you and your skills in the best way, then it is going to be a win/win situation for you, your Consultant and your new employer.
Of course, if you have any thoughts, questions or simply would like to get in touch with me and offer up a topic for the next Ask Lawrence, you can contact me on or you can find me and connect with me on LinkedIn. Of course, you can check out more jobs by going to our website or you can search for them on Twitter via #CRJOBS.