Career Advice Tuesday – “Selecting Proper Representation”

November 15, 2011

Dear Infosecleaders:

I have a question that is more for Lee, than for Mike, given that it has to do with a recruitment process that I am currently involved in.

About three weeks ago, I was contacted by an information security recruiter who whom was referred to me by a close colleague, about an opportunity in my geography that I found interesting.  I spent a good deal of time with the recruiter, asking questions about the company, the hiring manager, and the position.  The recruiter suggested that I revise my resume to help address some of the specifics of the opportunity, to align more closely with the needs of the position.

During the time that I was reformatting my resume, I got contacted on Linked IN, by a recruiter whom I had never interacted.  The recruiter sent me a job description, similar to the one that I had learned about from the other recruitment professional.  This individual refused to share with me the name of the company that they were representing, and pressured me to send a generic resume.

My gut feeling is that it is the same position – do you have any advice on how I should handle my discussions with both parties?  Is there anything that could jeopardize my recruitment process? 

Any help would be appreciated.

“Derek Fisher” 


Dear “Derek”:

Well, it is good to know that you are popular – so you have that going for you.   The first thing that I will say is that many recruitment firms (including LJ Kushner and Associates) utilize LinkedIn as a form of candidate profiling.  Although many people think that we know “everyone” in the industry, it is just not possible, and Linked IN provides recruitment firm’s access to information security professionals (job candidates) that we do not have deep relationships with.

That being said, the first thing that I would tell you would be that you should never trust a recruitment firm that is not willing to share the name of their client with you.  The two main reasons for this are as follows – first, it shows that they do not trust you.  If they share the name of their client with you – there is an outside chance that you will go to the client directly, and cut them out of the recruitment process – so they are going to wait until they have your resume, to spring this on you.   Personally, I find this very shady – it is akin to saying – “Please trust me with your career and your livelihood” – but “I am not going to return that trust by sharing the company where the job is located”.   

Secondly, by not sharing the name of their client, you give up control of the dissemination of your resume.  By providing you with a generic, broad base job description, you are basically giving them carte blanche to send your resume anywhere.  This could mean that your resume could wind up in the hands, of somewhere that you have already worked for (it makes you look foolish), somewhere you already interviewing with (it makes you look unorganized and unprofessional), and even possibly your current employer (which can be a disaster for obvious reasons)  

Don’t laugh, this does happen – and in the aftermath is not pretty. 

In regards to your current situation, you should work with the recruitment firm that you trust the most and the one that you believe has the best chance of helping you navigate the interview process for the specific job and company that you are interested in.    In your case, it appears to be the first one that you spoke with.

What I would do with the second recruiter, would be to first call them and ask them whom the opportunity is with.  If they refuse to share this with you, I would tell them politely that you are not interested in working together with them.  If they do share the information, and it is the same company that the other firm introduced, then I would simply tell them that you are already engaged on the opportunity, are being represented by another recruitment firm, and that your resume has already been submitted for consideration.  You could end the conversation, by saying that if they have other opportunities, and are willing to reveal the name of the employers, you would be happy to consider them.

I will say in closing that the “Rules of Engagement” for determining candidate representation are very tricky, and it is very important that you control your resume when you conduct any interview process.  Selecting the wrong recruitment firm, or “representation” – can greatly affect the perception of your candidacy for any opportunity.   

As a rule, your caliber of representation is a reflection of your brand, and your level of professionalism.

Hope this helps,

Lee Kushner

PS – “Derek Fisher” is a reference –not the name of the advice seeker

Posted by lee | Filed Under Advice, Behavior, Branding, Career Advice Tuesday, Interviewing, Planning, Recruiting 


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