3 Tips You Need to Know Before Contacting a Security Recruiter

Are you feeling like it’s time to test the waters and consider calling a security industry executive search consultant to find out about executive or leadership jobs in the security profession? If so, you are like many other security job seekers who believe establishing contact with a security recruiter will quickly lead them to a high-level position that’s just perfect for them.

However, a successful security recruiter/job candidate relationship doesn’t happen from one call or email. It’s a process with many elements and each party (recruiter, employer, and candidate) has crucial roles that everyone must both understand and acknowledge. At a minimum, a candidate must have a current and top-notch resume and to be prepared to articulate their career history, vision, and goals as well as be able to overcome objections that might be raised.

These three tips will help you prepare to work effectively with your security recruiter—with accurate expectations from the relationship and a better outcome for your job search:

1. Recruiters and employers value candidates with proven backgrounds.

Security professionals and executives that have followed a straight-line, traditional career trajectory (with few job changes) are the easiest candidates for a security recruiter to place.

The reason for this? Executive recruiters are experts hired by companies to identify specific talent among leaders.  They are looking for those who can demonstrate a proven track record of a specific type of career or skill set, with steady advancement toward a higher-level role in their field (and in this case, within security).

Therefore, if you’re trying to switch from one job type to another within security, or you’ve hopped among different employers frequently, you’ll often fare better by contacting employers directly or using your own industry contacts.

2. A security recruiter’s mission is to focus on the hiring needs of their client partner’s.

What I find is that many job seekers innocently fail to grasp that a security search consultant assignment often contains very specific detail on the background, education, career history, and competencies of the ideal candidate for the position.

Depending upon the recruiter’s relationship with the client, they may not be able to convince the hiring authority to take a chance on your background—especially if it’s not in line with the requirements that have been spelled out.

A credible, professional recruiter must not only be comfortable with the strength of your credentials, but confident that you represent a true culture and leadership fit within their client partners firm. Remember the recruiter’s professional reputation (their most prized possession) is riding on their ability to supply the all-around perfect candidate.

3. Your resume must be ready for prime-time.

Too often, job seekers fire off an ill-prepared resume to recruiters that undercuts their skill, abilities and accomplishments—you get one shot with a recruiter (just like an employer). Take the time, effort and resources necessary to make sure you are making the best possible impression on the recruiter/employer. After all – it’s your career and your income on the line.

If your resume hasn’t had a recent critical review from a hiring or resume professional, it is a must to request a critique or suggestions. Some security industry recruiters (me included) can refer you to resume professionals and career coaches that can assist with a strong brand message and how to articulate that in both your resume and in the interview process.

Mentors, trusted colleagues and others around you can often see qualities in your background that you’re too close to realize, and their recommendations can make the difference in the response you receive from a recruiter and employer.

As a career resource, partnering with a recruiter can be very effective, especially if you go in with an awareness of everyone’s role in the process, fully prepared as a candidate, and realistic expectations.

Carpe Diem

David Lammert

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