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Recruiting Tips for Oil Industry Recruiters

By Tim the XYZer

Jul 27, 2014

My perspective on what makes for a successful relationship between headhunters and their recruits.                                 


It’s unlikely that many talent finders receive decent feedback on their work, especially from their recruits.   Here I detail important factors that increase a recruiter’s ability to draw top talent, but also produce results multiple times throughout the span of an individual’s career.  While company loyalty was a common element of employees in the past, XYZers hold it in minimal regard and can guarantee repeat business for recruiters that forge a respectable bond.


With the advent of online social networking and technology, the landscape of professional recruiting has changed drastically.  This ultimately leads to more fierce competition and a smaller available talent pool, so the need to hone recruiting skills is a must.  Many companies have a poorly crafted succession plan for addressing the workforce demographic shift, and many employers are in dire need of good experienced individuals. 



From the couple dozen talent recruiters that I’ve personally worked with over the years, most have generally provided me with positive experiences, but some have demonstrated less desirable traits.  I’ll explore the Top 3 best and worst attributes that I’ve observed and explore them in detail.


The DO’s


Establish a Relationship:


Relationships are the key to any successful interaction, and talent recruiting is no different.   The most important part of a recruiter’s relationship occurs long before the job placement process begins, and I believe that many miss the mark on this factor. 


I once had a headhunter call me on my second day of work right out of college.  From that initial contact point, this recruiter followed-up with a yearly call to test my interest.  When time came for me to seek my next career opportunity, this recruiter was the first person that I called.  Headhunters are a dime-a-dozen online, so establishing a relationship well in advance can be the differentiating factor for you.


Be Honest About Your Affiliations:


Not many individuals understand that some companies only deal with specific talent recruiters and not others.  I found myself in a situation once where I was interested I working for a specific company but the headhunter I used kept steering me away from that company.  From showing me other “amazing opportunities” to making unfavorable remarks about my company of interest, this recruiter kept finding reasons for me to look elsewhere. 


I soon learned that this recruiter did not have privileges to work with this company.  The deceipt bothered me, so I stopped working with this recruiter and found another.  Years later I had interest in working for a company that the dishonest recruiter represented, but I went through another talent recruiter instead.   In his attempt to not lose my “business”, he ultimately did so by not being upfront. 


Be Committed to the Individual:


Nothing moves a person more than showing the person that you care.  Strong character shows through very easily and a recruiter will be more successful in the long term when being committed to their recruits.  I worked with a headhunter once where it became obvious to me that this person was working with more individuals than she could deal with.   


In an effort to be more efficient with her time, she would send mass emails with job listings and not follow-up with personal conversations.  I lost interest in working with this recruiter because efficiency is something that I do not want someone managing when my career is on the line.  Talent recruiting should not purely be a numbers game, and when you treat it as such it is very apparent.      



The DON’Ts

Push a Decision:


As a professional recruiter you may eventually become numb to the fact that many people are making career changing decisions for the first time when seeking new opportunities.  It’s a similar emotion to being a first time homeowner, so please fight your urges to pressure a decision and provide sound feedback that can make an individual more comfortable with the decision at hand. 


As we’re all engineers, provide feedback in terms of numbers and statistics, and do not invoke emotional responses by pushing on.   Have patience and empathy for your candidate as surely it will pay off.


Oversell a Company:


I had an occasion with a talent recruiter where my decision came down to 2 companies.  Over the course of a week, I noticed shifts in his manner when probing my interest between both companies.  Although subtle, this recruiter increasingly made more positive remarks about one and listed negative attributes about the other. 


These remarks got me questioning his motives, and I eventually learned that he received preferential treatment from one company over the other.  Eventually I felt that this individual was more interested in serving his corporate client than serving me as an individual.  I lost trust in this agent and chose not to work with him.  


Show Disappointment in Your Recruit’s Decision:


In my last interaction with a talent agent, we both agreed upfront that it was wise for me to maintain flexibility by conducting searches on my own.  When it came down to finalizing my decision, I chose a company that I had found on my own as it was the best career fit for me.  My recruiter displayed open disappointed in my decision. 


I can understand being disappointed in the situation, but this recruiter took the matter personally and started to criticize my decision and deride the company that I chose.  There obviously is no fault in this situation, but the recruiter’s inability to maintain professionalism exposed her poor character and surely rules her out of future consideration.



Sure, everything listed here may seem like common sense, but the difference between understanding and executing makes all the difference in the world.  As humans we are tempted to short cut everything to get to the end goal with minimal effort.  You may have your occasional successes with that approach, but sustaining a fruitful career as a professional will prove challenging unless one remains devoted to the cause. 


As with anything in life, dedication to a duty produces the best results, and the Do’s and Don’ts above demonstrate a talent finder’s true dedication to the recruitment cause.  Each employee in today’s marketplace has about 2 average job changes over the term of his career.  Do not get caught up in the near-term metrics game of optimizing present time investment, but keep sight of the long-term factors as well.

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  • :   i've worked with talent scouts when trying to hire engineers into my organization. there are a handful of professional and effective ones out there that really help out.

    Apr 27, 2012

  • Suresh Agrawal :   Excellent article and it did nail the problems with current online recruiting process. I am sure everybody has noticed that online recruiting has been flooded with outsourced recruiters who sent mass emails, asking information about age, gender and work status (not illegal), never call back or remember your name when you call back. I am a highly skilled and experienced O&G consultant and many times I get a hourly rate offer of $25 or less. I wonder at that point is the recruiter really qualified for his/her job and disrespecting the potential and qualified recruits out there. This is just my opinion and experience and not intended to disrespect those recruiters who are extremely professional.

    Jul 29, 2014

  • Spencer carter :   The main problem is most recruiters do not realise that the candidate is also their customer. And it's important that you realise this and treat accordingly . Regarding which job or company to choose at offer stage ,In many candidates situations I also have to empathise with the fact that this decision affects their whole life. These are simple facts but you do engender loyalty in both the candidate and the client. You have to be upfront in all things . Due to the swathe of bad recruiters there. Do you make mistakes ? Sometimes you can. But you don't force mistakes .

    Oct 14, 2014

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