Do you know the most common complaint job seekers have of recruiters, employment agencies and other third party consultants, who are in the business of connecting job applicants and companies seeking to hire? It is that after the initial conversation when they were so enthusiastic about helping you, and so much so that you sent them your resume, you can’t reach them or worse yet, they won’t call you back. It’s frustrating and, frankly, too many over promise and under deliver. They should have better managed your expectations, and maybe they did, but you didn’t hear that part. Of course they should not mislead or make any promises before they learn more about you. However, you bear some of the blame if you so quickly and willingly fall under the trance of anyone you don’t know in exchange for a few unfounded assurances. The bottom line is recruiters are capitalists and they are driven by money because most of them get paid as a direct result of a successful candidate placement with a company, and not according to how many people they meet or speak with. So from the many, they might present a few and ultimately place one. Don’t take it personally and don’t be naïve, many people are helped by recruiters and they may indeed be able to help you, but don’t assume results nor be sucked in, having listened only to what you wanted to hear.
Sometimes it’s the reverse and I have been contacted by people who tell me, “I am going to make you a lot of money”. What they are implying is that, as a candidate, if I represent and present them to my client, they are so good and so talented they will get hired and, thus, I will benefit. Hey, if they can prove it good and fine, but I’ve been at this for over 20 years and so when I hear that shtick I smile and think to myself, “Thanks buddy, but I’m not looking to buy a used car today.” Ironically, those I most like to assist and represent are the people who need my help the least. I am motivated and inspired to work with those who know in their heart and mind they’ll find a job with or without my help, but they choose for a variety of reasons to seek my representation. Yes, suitable skills and experience are necessary but more than that, it is their attitude, drive and confidence in themselves that is tangible and clear to see.
However, this blog entry isn’t so much about how someone else can or should help you. It is about how much you can or choose to help yourself. You see, unless you make it your solitary effort, asking for and receiving help from others in addition to your own efforts can be a smart move. It has the potential to increase your options, to cast a wider net; it’s a multiplier but you need to be discriminating about with whom you work, and that calls for responsible effort above and beyond what you are already doing to help yourself. Because asking others, no, relying on other people can be a mistake and adversely affect you. Too many people are choosing to rely on or turn to others for many of the things they can do themselves. There are not many people willing or qualified to speak on your behalf, as your advocate, as strongly as you can. It’s counterproductive to cling to the hope someone else will deliver to you salvation. Furthermore, all our attention spans are short so many people expect instant results and if they don’t see success in their first few tries, they throw up their hands in disgust. If you aren’t committed to helping yourself or are unprepared to dig in for the long haul – if success takes longer than you thought, how can you expect someone else to get you a satisfactory result if you won’t invest some sweat equity of your own. So what about you, how many times can you be knocked down, get back up again and keep trying? If it’s so easy for someone to give up, maybe they don’t need a job so badly after all. By the way, the answer to the question should be, “as many times as it takes.”
The primary motivation for both my book and this blog is to help people to learn or rediscover just how powerful their own efforts can be if they choose to develop their abilities. Marshalling the assistance of others is fine but you can do yourself everything they can do for you. I also recognize the majority of people will choose not to summon their innate abilities to help themselves because, for many, that would require them to accept their failures as their own. Most people just want to go along to get along, average or less than is good enough. On the other hand, while they choose not to put out an extra effort and you do, who gains the advantage?
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