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Building Profitable Recruiter Alliances

By Darrell Gurney

This article outlines the main ideas of a presentation offered in Washington, DC, at the 2001 annual conference of The Career Masters Institute. Through the passionate sentiments expressed by those in attendance, I discovered an illusion of separation that exists between the recruitment business (a.k.a. “headhunting”) and the rest of the careers community…resume writers, career counselors, and coaches. Much of this perceived separation is due to the rather secluded nature of the search business, wherein headhunters have little consciousness of the roles played by these other careers-industry service providers. Because they often operate in their own distant world, recruiters are perceived as such: distant and stuffy. Yet, I use the term “illusion” because, truly, we all share the same intention: to help the transitioning professional into their next right place of employment.

The illusion arises from our differing methods of fulfilling this intention, and in the basic variance in our personalities. A good friend, Dick Knowdell of Career Research & Testing, Inc., generally breaks us down into Myers-Briggs types ESTJ (Contingency Recruiters), ISTJ (Resume Writers), and INFP (Career Coaches/Counselors)…or, for those familiar with the Personal Style Indicator, types B, A, and I, respectively. Generalizations rarely carry the day, but the assertion at least gives rise to the stylistic differences between these groups. Though we may carry the idea that the world would work a lot better if everyone thought and acted like us, what became clear in this presentation was that, if there is to be more profitable collaboration between these various segments within the careers community, there must be a non-judgmental appreciation for how each segment thinks and operates. The theme of the conference referred to building “bridges” across the careers community. The bridge to be built from non-recruiters to recruiters will apparently be one requiring great engineering, imagination, and fortitude and may, unfortunately, be a one-way construction project.

First, let’s all do an emotional release of any baggage that may have been acquired through years of attempts to forge partnerships with the search industry. Repeat after me, five times loudly:

“Those Darn Recruiters: They don’t work like me!”


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DARRELL W. GURNEY, Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC), Certified Job & Career Transition Coach (JCTC), and Licensed Spiritual Counselor (RScP), has been a professional recruiter for over 14 years and has coached and supported thousands of job-seeking professionals at all levels through profitable career transitions. He is Principal of A Permanent Success National Career Coaching and Search Partners and author of Headhunters Revealed! Career Secrets for Choosing and Using Professional Recruiters ($14.95, Softcover), available online at http://www.HeadhuntersRevealed.com or by calling 1-877-4-HEADHUNT. Headhunters Revealed! received the 2001 Clarion Award for Best Book from the Association for Women in Communications, has been reviewed in Publishers Weekly and the American Library Association’s Booklist, and has been featured in nationally syndicated career columnist Joyce Lain Kennedy’s “Careers Now.”

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