The Hiring Game

A Recruiter Shares His Secrets

By James Karlin

While a job-seeking operative is of value to anyone entering the market or seeking a career change, it is especially helpful to those now being forced to re-enter the job market after 10, 15 and 20 plus years—long-term career employees who are discovering that the process of job searching has dramatically changed, both good and bad over that time. The computer and the Internet have created new and better tools; resources with new protocols and methodology. Many initially are overwhelmed; and, most find themselves unprepared, adding more stress and frustration to the emotional impact of an unexpected termination. I know firsthand, having ‘been there-done that’, from being in the same situation less than five years ago, after closing a product design & development group I founded and managed for 20 years. If I knew then what I know now, I would have proceeded differently and that is what I wish to share with you, hopefully making your career move easier, more effective and more successful in a shorter time-line.

Throughout the process, stay focused. Many corporations make outsourcing services available as part of severance. Use them. Counselors can help you organize, identify and prioritize tasks prior to preparing a strategy. If retraining programs are included, seek advice in selecting what is best for you. Timing dictates all, but you want to be the one considered for opportunities when they surface. Although you may land a job tomorrow in the same city without breaking stride, unless there is another revenue stream, put a financial contingency plan in place. Financial stress is not a component of the successful job search. Typically, the higher the position level, the longer the timeframe in landing a new opportunity, so prepare accordingly.

The Internet is a valuable resource that is available, but regardless of all the press received on e-searching, the Internet is only accountable for approximately 10-percent of all job closings, but is growing rapidly. Networking is and always will be the biggest tool for a job search, but Internet access is becoming more and more needed in the process. There are literally thousands of job boards and chat rooms- national, local, industry association groups, job specialty; plus magazines and newspapers have them as well. Among the most famous are MonsterHeadhunter, Hotjobs, all vying for your attention. All have sections that are excellent informational resources to assist your efforts, and will instruct you how to search on their sites.

Working with recruiters requires homework—all recruiters are not equal. Basically, they are either contract (Manpower, CDI, Superior) or direct placement. Most are general practitioners, specializing in a range of disciplines across all industries and markets. A few, like the Search Team, specialize in an industry sector. Your selection of a recruiter should use the same parameters as employers. The biggest complaints from employers are that the majority of recruiters are not hands-on professionals in the disciplines or industries they represent, are not familiar with the nuances of these jobs or the processes, and submit inappropriate candidates based on seeing only key words or phrases. Successful recruiters know the positions and the players, share much in common with job seekers by truly understanding their needs and wants, and are not just processing paper by matching industry buzz terms.

Remember: you are your own primary resource. Success is often timing, being in the right place at the right time, or reconnecting with recruiters to make certain that your resume isn’t lost among the thousands that they have.

Jim Karlin is a 30+yr plastics professional. He was a founding Board Member and Past President of SPE/Product Design & Development Div (PD3). He has been awarded over 30 patents and founded James Karlin Design in 1978 and the Search Team in 1997, and most recently, an Internet recruiting site for the plastics industry. Jim can be reached by phone (585.223.1660) or email (