Episode 109: How to work with a recruiter – with Jose Marchena of Coffee with a Recruiter

Jose Marchena talks about the different types of recruiter, what you can do to maximise your success when working with recruiters and how to cultivate strong relationships.

Today’s guest

Jose Marchena of Coffee with a Recruiter

Website: Coffee with a Recruiter

Instagram: @recruitercoffee

Twitter: @RecruiterCoffee

LinkedIn: Jose Marchena

Jose Marchena is a London-based recruiter with experience recruiting for startups and a passion for spreading great ideas. 

His podcast – Coffee with a Recruiter – is dedicated to helping recruiters, HR and career-driven professionals with top insights from industry experts.

What you’ll learn in this episode

  • [01:37] Jose explains what he does as an internal recruiter.
  • [02:14] Jose talks about how he became involved in recruitment.
  • [03:14] Jose talks about the internal recruiter role and its function.
  • [06:26] Looking at the difference between a recruiter and a hiring manager.
  • [07:13] Highlighting the different models in recruiting.
  • [11:52] Looking at potential candidate journeys based on the recruitment model.
  • [15:14] The overlap between internal and agency recruiters.
  • [16:58] The two sides of agency recruitment.
  • [18:45] The different tools that recruiters use to find candidates.
  • [20:53] Discussing if there are best methods to agency recruitment.
  • [22:47] Why honesty is key when working with a recruiter.
  • [24:16] How to check you’re working with a good recruiter.
  • [25:35] Why it’s important to get as much information as you can from your recruiter.
  • [26:56] Using your relationships with recruiters to expand your network.
  • [29:02] How to keep a relationship warm with a recruiter when you’re not currently in the market for a new role.
  • [30:20] Deciding whether to continue with an interview process when you are on the fence.
  • [32:37] Why some companies prefer to keep their identity hidden when using recruiters.
  • [35:13] Discussing the misconceptions around applicant tracking systems (ATS).

Resources mentioned in this episode

Please note that some of these are affiliate links and we may get a small commission in the event that you make a purchase.  This helps us to cover our expenses and is at no additional cost to you.

To see the resources recommended by all our guests, visit the Resources page.

Episode 109: How to work with a recruiter - with Jose Marchena of Coffee with a Recruiter

Jeremy Cline 0:00
Finding the right candidate to fulfil a role takes a lot of hard work and effort, which is why many companies will outsource this to a recruiter of some description, maybe a recruitment agency. This means that your first point of contact might not be with the company itself, but might be with an external recruiter. If that's the case, what should you expect from working with a recruiter, who they're working for and what motivates them? How can you make sure that you get the best out of the relationship? That's what we talk about in this episode. I'm Jeremy Cline and this is Change Work Life.

Jeremy Cline 0:47
Hello, and welcome to the Change Work Life podcast, the show that's all about beating Sunday evening blues and enjoying Mondays again. If you're a professional looking to change jobs, you'll often end up dealing with a recruiter. A recruiter might contact you out of the blue with an opportunity at another organisation, or if you're actively looking, you might ask a recruiter to go out to their contacts to see who's hiring. But what does a recruiter actually do? Who are they working for? And how can you make sure you get the best out of your relationship with them? To answer these questions and more, I'm delighted to be joined this week by Jose Marchena. Jose is an internal recruiter, and he's also the host of the Coffee With a Recruiter podcast. Jose, welcome to the show.

Jose Marchena 1:29
Hello, Jeremy. Thank you for having me.

Jeremy Cline 1:31
You're an internal recruiter. So, what does that mean? I mean, who do you work for, and what do you do?

Jose Marchena 1:37
Yeah, that's correct. So, currently, I'm an internal recruiter at a wonderful company called Generation Home. In a nutshell, an internal recruiter is someone that does the basic sort of necessities of recruitment, right? So, basically looking at identifying, sourcing, attracting and screening great candidates for a company. Now, there's different ways that are used or methods that are used to find candidates, but I'm sure we're going to go into that. But yeah, in a nutshell, that's what I do at my current company.

Jeremy Cline 2:11
And how did you get into recruiting?

Jose Marchena 2:13
Yeah, that's a very interesting one. So, if you ask most recruiters, they're going to say they fell into recruitment. It's a very funny way of describing it, because it happens kind of accidentally. You reach a point where you're not entirely sure what to do with your career, and you realise, 'Oh, you know what? Recruitment, that sounds really interesting. So, let me give that a try.' And it was kind of that for me. But partly, it was also because I really like one-to-one conversations with people and understanding what it is they're looking for and what motivates them. It was that, plus a colleague of mine or ex-colleague that was working at a recruitment agency at that time, she told me, 'Hey, you know what? We're looking for new consultants, would you like to apply?' And at that moment, I thought, 'You know what? I'm looking for my first job outside of university, so let's give that a try.' And well, three-four years later, here I am.

Jeremy Cline 3:08
So, you've already touched on it briefly, but what does a recruiter do? What's their role and function?

Jose Marchena 3:14
Yeah, that's a very interesting question, so let's talk about it in different parts. Because first of all, there's the identifying piece that I mentioned. And internally, recruiters call that sourcing, so sourcing for candidates. And there's also the attracting piece. And how you do that is, there's, first of all, a lot of headhunting, and by headhunting, I mean doing things like going on LinkedIn and reaching out to candidates. It can be going on sort of industry specific platforms, like I'm a tech recruiter, so I mainly focus on engineering. So, you got things like Cord or Hired, so different job sites that specialise in this area. But it's also through adverts that we find candidates. So, think of things like Jobsite, Reed, where you can post an advert and candidates apply. And that's one way of finding candidates. There's also networking or referrals, as you might call it. So, basically, who do you know, who do you know that might know someone else, checking my own network and checking my colleagues' network in order to see 'Hey, do you know any top performers in your industry that I can reach out to?' And generally, that works really well, because then, you have, I suppose, a very warm intro to meeting someone, because you know someone mutual. So, there's that level of trust and confidence that you can have when engaging with someone. And finally, there's, well, I suppose the database that you create, as you work as a recruiter, right? So, as the months progress, you're going to meet a lot of candidates, and you can ask them, 'Hey, can I keep your personal details, so I can reach out to you in the future for any interesting opportunities?' And after a while you have a database full of candidates that, in the future, you can reach out to for future roles. A very important part is also the phone screening of these candidates. So, we don't just reach out to them, but we also phone screen them, and how that phone screen happens, it really depends per company. But there's always some basic elements that you need to screen for in order to see is this the right person for the job. So, it can be things like, are you looking for a permanent role or a contract role, are you looking for remote or on site, what motivates you, what are you looking for in your next gig, and that can help us also narrow it down and make sure that this is the right opportunity for you. There's also a lot of different things, a lot more like the interview coordination, so making sure that candidates are set up to speak with hiring managers. And finally, and this is maybe a bit more of a specialised part of recruitment, but really advising hiring managers and how to properly assess candidates and interview them, and what the perfect process looks like in order to find the best possible candidate for the role. I probably ranted there a little bit or gone on for too long, so yeah, let me know if that answers the question.

Jeremy Cline 6:14
Not at all, that's really helpful. You've touched on one of the questions I had for you, which is what's the difference between a recruiter and a hiring manager? What are their respective roles?

Jose Marchena 6:26
Yeah, so basically, the hiring manager is the head of a department, basically the person that's going to be actually hiring and managing the person that we're recruiting for. So, the recruiter is basically the person that finds the candidate, and then the hiring manager will hire them and employ them and manage them as you go along. Yeah, so yeah, hopefully, that answers the question.

Jeremy Cline 6:53
So, the hiring manager would basically be the person with whom the candidate is potentially working.

Jose Marchena 6:58
Yes, correct.

Jeremy Cline 6:59
Okay. And you also used the term head-hunters. I mean, are head-hunters recruiters, are recruiters head-hunters, are they kind of synonymous with each other? Or is headhunting a sort of particular type of recruiting?

Jose Marchena 7:13
Yeah, that's a great question. Well, it has gotten a bit confusing, there's a lot of types of recruiters out there. And the industry is evolving, there's new types of disciplines in recruitment that are coming along, that are quite interesting and quite popular. The basic one is, okay, so you got headhunting, and this is synonymous with agency recruiters. And there's a very important difference between those two types of agency recruiters and in-house recruiters. So, I'm an in-house recruiter, and I work at a company internally, I'm part of the company, and well, yeah, that's kind of the essential setup. Whereas, an agency recruiter will work for an agency and this agency will have a lot of clients, and these clients will basically pay the agency and the recruiter a fee to go find someone. And these agencies, they specialise in certain industries, they work with different clients. So, as a recruiter, I will be working with a lot of different clients also, not just one company. And I can have multiple roles with multiple companies at any given time. And my job is to fill the role, and well, hopefully, get a fee also out of that. Another type of setup that you might encounter is the RPO. So, Recruitment Process Outsourcing. And an RPO is basically like a middleman type contractor, that will, what's a good way of putting it, that a company will completely outsource all of their recruitment needs to this company, and give minimal guidance, just make sure it's completely outsourced and that this company will manage the whole recruitment process for them. An example would be Randstad, this may be one that your audience might have worked with. And how it works is basically, it would be an assignment of maybe six months to a year with an RPO, and you would have certain roles that you would need to fill, and you would only work with that one company. So, so far, you have your agency, your in-house recruiter and your RPO. A very recent model that's emerging and that's quite popular right now is your sort of on-site consulting type recruiter. So, this one is very interesting, because imagine it's like an RPO, but instead of being at a separate company and only working minimally with a client, you'd be working on site. So, I would be a recruiter through an agency, but then I would be working on site at your company. And I would be presenting myself as being part of your company. On my LinkedIn, I would put not my agency's name, but your name, your company's name, and it would be an assignment of maybe a year, maybe six months, maybe a year and a half, two years. And I would help you with all of your hiring needs, and I would be practically an internal recruiter, but on a temporary basis. So, yeah, it's a bit convoluted, the models that are emerging are very tricky and very convoluted, and sometimes they overlap a lot. Maybe a final one would be a recruitment contractor. So, basically, a lot of internal recruiters work on only maybe three, six months type assignments, where you would become a contractor, you would be working internally with a company, but only for a fixed term. And that's also another type of recruiter or type of head-hunter that you would encounter as a candidate. So, yeah, there's a lot there.

Jeremy Cline 10:44
So, the Recruitment Processing Outsourcing, RPO, that would be kind of, they'd handle the agency side of things, so the sourcing the candidates, the screening them, but then, they would also do the stuff that you might expect an HR team to do. So, the interviews and all that sort of thing.

Jose Marchena 11:03
Yeah, in some cases, they will also carry out the interviews, they will do the coordination also and making sure candidates are being scheduled in. I suppose their work generally would stop at the offer stage. So, in most cases, the client's company would have a HR director or head of people, and this person would be carrying out the offer stage, making sure that candidates get their contracts, and everything there on would be part of what the HR team would do, as opposed to the RPO.

Jeremy Cline 11:34
Does the candidate notice any particular difference, depending on what model is being used. What's the candidates journey like in this? Is there anything that a candidate should be aware of or that can help them if they're aware of what system is being used?

Jose Marchena 11:53
Yeah, I mean, generally speaking, for a candidate, if you go through an agency recruiter, they'll tell you upfront, 'Hey, we're from this agency, and we're working with a client, would you be interested in hearing the role that they're hiring for?' Sometimes, the client company, so the company that the agency is working with, would be confidential. So, that sort of adds an element of, well, difficulty for the candidate. But sometimes it's not, sometimes it's okay to just reveal the company name, and this agency would have multiple roles for you also, in most cases. Like if they specialise in a particular area that you work in, they might have multiple roles and multiple companies that you can work with. So, from that perspective, as a candidate, working with an agency can be quite interesting, whereas an in-house recruiter would only have the one role that they would be hiring for. And I wouldn't be working with other companies, I'm internal, I would work internally with only one company. But the second difference is that, as a candidate, an agency knows a lot less of the company they're hiring for, if that makes sense, because they're external, they've only had a few catchups with the company they're recruiting for, they don't know too much about them, sometimes they only get a job description to work with. And they will be just repeating what the job description says to you. So, that's another layer of complexity. Whereas an in-house recruiter would know quite a bit about the company you would like to apply for. So, they'd be able to tell you about the role, the company, the company culture, any types of changes in the next year or two that the company might be undergoing. So, there's also that element to consider. Maybe a final element that I can add of difference between the journey through agency and through in-house is that, well, ultimately, all things considered, the agency recruiters work on commission, which means that in some cases, they might be more money motivated than motivated by the idea of setting or hiring a person, the right person for the right job, if that makes sense. So, in some cases, not always, but they might try to oversell your profile, or pitch you a bit too hard to the client, whereas an in-house recruiter is more motivated by getting the right person for the right job. So, well, less money-driven incentives there, which might play a detrimental role for the candidate. Those would be maybe some of the key differences in terms of the candidate journey, if that makes sense.

Jeremy Cline 14:39
Is there a crossover between internal recruiters and agency recruiters? So, you're an internal recruiter, so presumably, it's worth the investment by your employer to have someone to go out and find candidates, presuming that they've got sufficient number of positions opening up. So, I mean, do you kind of do the same thing as an agency recruiter because that's the setup at your place? Or do you work with agency recruiters? Is it kind of a two-stage, almost working hand in hand approach?

Jose Marchena 15:15
Yeah, that's a great question. There's actually quite a bit of overlap between internal and agency. So, most internal recruiters come from an agency background. So, I used to be an agency recruiter before I moved in-house. So, sometimes, I do have that agency sort of, almost... You know, at an agency, you're taught to be a bit more aggressive, a bit more salesy, and to really hit your target. So, sometimes, I hey do have that sort of element within me when I'm engaging with candidates. At the same time, a lot of internal recruiters work with agencies. The reason for that is that sometimes having one internal or two internal recruiters might not be enough. You're sourcing, you're trying to find candidates, but it starts to get very difficult, because maybe you're in a market where there's a talent shortage. So, in the end, what you might do is take part of your work, the sourcing bit, and engage with agencies and tell them what it is you're looking for, and have them support you in that search. So, there is definitely a lot of overlap and definitely cooperation between agencies and internal recruiters, or hiring managers for that matter.

Jeremy Cline 16:30
You've mentioned the possible motivations of agency recruiters, in other words, that they're quite interested in getting their fees. To what extent do they check when they're approaching someone that they are approaching someone who might be a good fit and they screen them? I mean, how circumspect are agency recruiters when it comes to recommending appropriate candidates?

Jose Marchena 16:59
Well, that's, that's a great question. So, if you're dealing with a good agency recruiter, then they will do a very thorough job in making sure that you're the right person for the right job. And the reason for that is that a lot of agencies rely on long-term relationships with the clients they work with. And the reason for that is that doing business development is quite tough. Finding clients can be quite a difficult thing. So, it's a better strategy to find only few clients, but that you can have a very long-term relationship with and fill a lot of the roles. Now, on the other hand, obviously, you're going to find recruiters, or agency recruiters for that matter, that might be more short-term oriented, thinking more about getting a placement fee right then and there, and sending as many candidates as they can, and making it a numbers game, in order to place the easiest person in the role. So, there are two sides of that. But generally speaking, I mean, if you're working with a good recruiter, they'll make sure that there's a good process, and that you've been screened properly before sending your profile over.

Jeremy Cline 18:22
And in terms of finding candidates, is it things like LinkedIn, trade publications, I don't know, depending on the industry, there might be rankings of organisations, and you can look at websites and see who's at that organisation and fits the profile, I mean, are those the sorts of tools that a recruiter uses?

Jose Marchena 18:46
Yeah, well, definitely, when it comes to the sourcing or headhunting piece, LinkedIn is probably by far the most popular way of finding candidates. But in some cases, a company, maybe your hiring manager or a client company will tell you, 'Hey, we only want to headhunt candidates from certain types of companies. And these are the key competitors that we want to poach people from.' So, you might get a list with those names also. Yeah, so there's a few methods that they use, I mean, coming back to things like the headhunting and LinkedIn and job-specific or industry-specific websites, the adverts, the networking, the databases, but also the target companies we can add to that. So, yeah, those would be some of the methods.

Jeremy Cline 19:33
I'm going to risk somewhat besmirching the reputation of recruiters, and I'm thinking in particular of agencies, and this is probably an unfair comparison where you're kind of making a comparison with estate agents. So, when there's an estate agent, the estate agent is motivated by selling somebody else's house, and if you're the person who is the buyer, they don't necessarily have your best interest at heart. They're really looking for you to basically buy the house, so they get their commission. I wonder whether there can be an impression that a certain similar weariness is required where you are a candidate, and you're approached by an external recruiter, the recruitment agency, about whether the agency really does have your best interests at heart, and when they are really persuading you that this is a fantastic role for you, whether they really think that or whether they are principally being motivated by their fee. I mean, is that a fair appraisal? I mean, how guarded, how concerned should a potential candidate be in terms of their relationship with an agency recruiter?

Jose Marchena 20:54
Well, that's an interesting question. And I think you're definitely right in making that comment that we're comparing agency recruiters with real estate agents, because ultimately, agencies, they work on commission, they get agency fees, half the time they're doing business development, they're getting new clients, and it's a very target, sort of sales-driven environment that you would be working in as a recruiter. So, there's a lot of pressure to place candidates. And that pressure can gravitate towards the behaviour that you have against candidates. And it can lead to maybe overselling the role to a candidate, overselling the company, the salary, the earning potential, all of this sort of stuff, but also in the way that candidates are treated, because that's kind of the reputation that recruiters have like, oh, they only care about the money, or maybe they don't really care about the candidate experience. I would maybe balance that. I mean, I've personally met a lot of great people that come from agency backgrounds that genuinely care about the candidates that they work in, that genuinely care about building good relationships and building long-term relationships. Because if they can place you today, then maybe they can place you tomorrow with a different company. So, you should be guarded, but not incredibly, I mean, not to the extent that you should be paranoid, if that kind of makes sense. Because yeah, ultimately, they're agencies, and they work with a lot of different clients, they have a lot of different roles that they can discuss with you, and I suppose if you approach them in the right way, there is a good way and a not so good way to work with agencies and internal recruiters, so there are methods you can sort of apply to make sure you get the best of it.

Jeremy Cline 22:46
Could you go into some of those methods?

Jose Marchena 22:48
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I suppose, if you're asking me what's the best way to work with recruiters and how can you get the most out of that relationship, well, it depends really on the difference between agency and in-house, but let's just talk generally speaking about how to work best with recruiters. So, I would say there's arguably four steps that you can follow. And the first one would really be knowing what it is you want first, and to be honest with the recruiter you're engaging with about what it is you want. The reason I say that is, because a lot of times, I ask candidates, 'Hey, what is it that you want in the next role, in the next stage of your career?' And a lot of candidates, they don't know exactly what it is they want. Sometimes, they will tell me, 'Oh, I want to work at a great company, or I want a great role, or a great company culture.' And that's about it, right? But that might not be specific enough. Be specific about what type of company, company culture, role, work environment it is you want. And the reason that's important is because the more specific you are with either an internal or agency recruiter, the better the role will be that they can bring to you, the more specialised that role will be, and the more it will match your needs. So, first of all, know exactly what it is that you want and be honest. Now, the second thing that you can do is to make sure that the person you're engaging with is actually a great recruiter. And the way of checking that out is first of all, do they have recommendations on LinkedIn. Like a lot of recruiters will have recommendations from, well, maybe the same role that you have, right? Let's say you're a real estate agent, they'll have recommendations from a lot of real estate agents, or from engineers or whatever it is the discipline that they specialise in. But also, did they work with a good agency and with great clients, and do those clients provide great feedback to that agency? So, if you go to an agency website, they'll most probably write down a lot of the clients they've worked with in the past. If these clients seem interesting to you, then it might be a good company to work with. And third of all, do they work in the industry that you work in? So, a recruiter that specialises in your industry and that's been there for a couple of years, that might be something that's quite good to work with. And I suppose for an internal recruiter especially, have they been long enough at the company they're hiring for to really know and understand the company and to be able to tell you as much as they can about it, right? So, that would be sort of number two, make sure that they're a great recruiter. The third thing you can do is get as much information as you can from recruiters when you're speaking with them. Ask about the company, ask about the role, ask why you should join, just upfront, ask them, 'Okay, why should I join the company that I'm applying for, or the company that you're telling me about?' Ask them about the interview process. What can I expect? What are the steps? What are you looking for during this process? Ask about the salary. Look, I mean, ultimately, you don't want to be lowballed at the end of the day. You want to have something that you're more than happy to accept. Ask about all of the things that you outlined in rule number one, which is, make sure you know what you want first, and be honest. Another reason it's important to ask as much as you can is because, if you don't ask anything, recruiters can see that as a bit of a red flag. Like if you're interviewing and you end up with the question, 'Hey, do you have any questions for me?', and as a candidate, you have no questions, that might be a bit weird. Like, wait, isn't this important to you? I mean, isn't it important to find out about the next stage of your career and to find out as much as you can? So, that's one thing that you can say, try to get as much information as you can from the recruiter. And finally, one thing you can do is that, if it doesn't work out, ask for referrals to other recruiters and other companies. And this goes for agencies and internal recruiters. Look, at least in my case, and I'm sure a lot of internal recruiters will say the same, I know a lot of internal recruiters and a lot of agency recruiters. And if a candidate doesn't work out and we have to reject them, or they choose to drop out, but they're a great candidate, then I'd be more than happy to refer them to other great companies and great recruiters that I know. The reason for that is that, look, I mean, it's an industry where you got to pay it forward, right? Because a recruiter I help out today will help me out tomorrow. So, it's in my best interest to share profiles with them. And if I got a great candidate that in the end didn't quite work out for us, then I can share them with my colleagues, and maybe they can place the candidate. So, that's one thing you can do, is save that relationship and ask the recruiter, 'Hey, who else do you know? Who else can you refer me to?' So, that's maybe a good four steps that you can apply when engaging with recruiters that can help you out to maximise that relationship.

Jeremy Cline 28:17
If you're one of these people who gets phoned up randomly by a recruiter you've never dealt with before, about a particular position, and you're not in the market for a change, you're happy where you are, you're not looking to move on, are there any things that you can do to kind of... I'm thinking what you were saying about having an eye on the future, I mean, do you just politely say, 'Thank you, but I'm not looking at the moment'? Or is there anything else that you can do and is it worth finding out more about the role, is it worth finding out more about the recruiter, anything you can do during that first interaction, which might not be for you now, but it might be useful for you in the future?

Jose Marchena 29:03
There's definitely loads you can do during that call to make sure that it's something for you in the near future. I've had a few cases where, even during the phone screen, things didn't quite work out because the candidate was maybe still holding on to their current company, and they weren't entirely happy where they are, but they wanted to stay and they wanted to give it a try. So, things that I would generally do and that candidates can do also is, hey, look, just set up a calendar reminder in about maybe a month's time or two months' time. And that way you can touch base again and go through things like 'Hey, how are you doing at your current company? Are you still happy there? Have things changed? Or have you figured out maybe it's time to move on?' There's definitely a way of keeping in touch. You can connect via LinkedIn also. You can make a commitment to send over an email and see, hey, is this something that we can discuss in the near future. There's definitely loads you can do and to keep that relationship warm. I think at the very least, find out about the company and the role and make sure you keep in touch. So, that would be something you can do.

Jeremy Cline 30:13
So, even if you're not interested at that point, as a candidate, you'd still say, 'Okay, so who you're talking about here, and what what's the role?'

Jose Marchena 30:22
Well, I mean, it's a tricky one. I mean, if you're genuinely happy where you are and not interested, then the best thing to do is to politely decline the call, maybe connect on LinkedIn, maybe stay connected. But well, one reason I say this is because, when push comes to shove, I'm going to put you through maybe a three, four-stage interview process, you're going to meet me, you're going to meet maybe seven, eight other people, you're going to maybe need to do a test, an assessment, you're going to talk to a lot of people. And if you're absolutely happy where you are and not actively looking, then think about it, are you really going to commit to all of those steps, and put all that work in? I mean, it's going to be multiple hours that you're going to have to put in for that interview. So, I mean, look, if you're presented with the interview process, and it's like a four-stage, one hour per stage process, and you need to be on site, and you need to do an assessment, and you still feel like, you know what, this is worth the opportunity, then, okay, let's go. But if you feel that it's not worth your time, and you're happy where you are, then hey, look, I mean, maybe just let the opportunity go. So, that's one thing you can do.

Jeremy Cline 31:40
Let's go back to one of the points you mentioned earlier about how sometimes the company that's hiring wants to be kept confidential. And so, the agency recruiter can't necessarily reveal details of who that is. What's the motivation for doing that? Because I'm just thinking, in my area, in law, I know most of the operators in my area. And so, if someone says, 'I've got a role for a particular type of lawyer', I'm going to know most of the people who operate in that area. And whether or not I'm interested is, in large part, going to depend on finding out who it is, because there are certain law firms which you might think, 'No, don't touch them with a bargepole', and there's others you think, 'Actually, I quite fancy working for them'. So, why do some companies prefer that their details are kept confidential?

Jose Marchena 32:38
Yeah, it's an interesting question. At least in my experience, from companies and recruiters that I've worked with, generally, it's the client company telling the agency to keep the company name confidential. And the reason for that is that, sometimes, if you have a role that's so strategic to your business, then you don't necessarily want a lot of people, especially your competitors, finding out that you're looking for your next CFO or your next general manager or that your CPO might be considering a move, so you're going to have to replace this person. I guess it's a competitive advantage to keep it confidential and to not tell a lot of people that you're hiring for these very strategic roles at your company, which makes the job super difficult, because what you're doing then is you're pitching a role to someone, and you're not allowed to tell them what company it is that they're applying to, until at a later stage, when they go into the interview process, and they get booked in with the hiring manager. And that's kind of when they find out. Yeah.

Jeremy Cline 33:54
I can see that makes perfect sense if you're dealing with one of these big strategic roles, so like a CEO or a CFO, but if you're looking for someone who's two years experienced computer programmer or something like that, I wouldn't have thought it would be quite as important to keep the details confidential.

Jose Marchena 34:15
Oh, no, well, it's generally just for the strategic roles. Like if it's for junior or mid roles, or sometimes even more senior ropes, then you won't face that requirement. But if it's for like a general manager or a C-level role, then in some cases, a company will put in that requirement. Yeah, so that's one way of looking at it.

Jeremy Cline 34:37
Something that we hear about quite a lot in recruitment is applicant tracking systems and the role of applicant tracking systems and ATS, and whether, you know, when you first apply for a job, your CV doesn't get read by a person, it gets read by a robot and that sort of thing. Were you working with a recruiter, so maybe where you've been directly approached or you have gone out and found a recruiter to find you another role, what role does ATS play in the process, I mean, does ATS play a role in the process?

Jose Marchena 35:15
Well, it could play a role, but it really depends on what the internal recruiter and hiring team do with that ATS. So, maybe just a quick explainer for the people that might not be familiar with ATS systems, what it basically means, it's an applicant tracking system, or ATS for shorts, and what an ATS is, it's basically a type of database that recruiters and hiring managers use to store candidate details, to move them forward along the process, to receive applications and to send messaging to candidates. Among other things, you can do a lot more with it. But those would be the key elements of an ATS system. There's a lot of misconceptions around recruitment and ATS systems, one of them that the ATS system filters your CV out or rejects your CV when you apply. And that's not true. I've worked with quite a few ATS systems, the most popular ones out there, arguably, and they do not automatically reject your CV when you apply. What happens sometimes is that a recruiter or hiring manager will potentially put knockout questions when you apply, and questions that you need to answer before sending over your CV. So, they can put things like, 'Are you happy to commute?' You know, questions up front, before you send your application like, 'Are you happy to commute for this role? How did you find out about us? Or what would be your salary expectations?', that sort of knockout questions, to make sure that the person applying provides certain essential information in order to be assessed, but also sometimes, to make sure that they read the application before they apply to the role. And even then, automatically candidates do not get filtered out. They get filtered in, but with these questions answered. But in a nutshell, the ATS does not delete your profile or automatically remove it or reject it. And so, yeah, hopefully that answers the question.

Jeremy Cline 37:33
That's great, that does. Thank you. If people are interested in finding out more about recruiters and the role they play, are there any resources out there that someone can look into to to find out more about this?

Jose Marchena 37:49
Yeah, well, one of the most popular podcasts in the UK for recruiters or to find out more about recruiting in general, is Recruiting Brainfood, by Hung Lee, he's the podcast host. And what he does is, I believe, weekly, he'll invite various recruiters, sometimes hiring managers from agency or the in-house face, and he'll have one-hour long discussions with them. And you can find a lot through these discussions. He also has a newsletter that he puts out on a weekly basis with tons of little recruitment nuggets to find out more. So, if there's one resource that I can recommend, it's that one. It's probably maybe the most popular sort of recruiting source of information, I would say, in the UK. So, that's definitely one to look at.

Jeremy Cline 38:43
And your own podcast and blog, Coffee With a Recruiter, well, who's that for, and what sort of content do you have on there?

Jose Marchena 38:51
Yeah, so initially, it started as a podcast specialised for recruiters, where I talk about how to source better candidates or how to interview them, that sort of stuff. And midway into it, it evolved into speaking with people, heads of people or HR directors, and in some cases, hiring managers, and recently, career coaches also. So, if you're generally interested in all things recruitment, careers and the people function in general, then, yeah, it would be an interesting podcast for you to listen to.

Jeremy Cline 39:30
Cool. And where can people find it?

Jose Marchena 39:33
Yeah, so it's on Anchor, it's on Spotify, on all major platforms. It's called Coffee With the Recruiter. Also, I mean, you can find it on a blog that I run, it's coffeewiththerecruiter.com. So, for more information, you can find out about it there and I can send you the links, so that you can share it with your audience.

Jeremy Cline 39:52
Fantastic. Yeah, I'll get those links from you and stick them in the show notes for this episode. Well, Jose, thanks so much for answering all my questions about this. I think you've dispelled a lot of myths and hopefully, helped people navigate what could otherwise be quite a tricky area. So, thanks so much for coming on the show.

Jose Marchena 40:09
It was my pleasure, Jeremy, thank you for having me. Take care.

Jeremy Cline 40:12
Okay, I hope you enjoyed that interview with Jose Marchena of Coffee With a Recruiter. I thought that was such a helpful introduction to the different types of recruiters and the roles they play. It's by understanding the different dynamics and the different motivations of the sorts of people that you might work with when you're looking for another job that really helps you get the most out of the relationship. And I love the tips which Jose gave about how you can get the most out of the relationship: being honest and specific about what you want, getting as much information as you can about the company, the interview process, and so on. I know that sometimes recruitment agencies don't necessarily have the best reputation. But hopefully, this interview sheds some light on how best you can work with them. On the Change Work Life website, you'll find at changeworklife.com/109, that's changeworklife.com/109, the show notes for this episode. There's a summary of everything we talked about, a full transcript and also, some links to the resources that Jose mentioned, and also, where you can find him. I thought Jose gave some great advice and some really actionable tips. So, if you know anyone who's looking for a new job and might end up working with a recruiter, do share this episode with them. There's a lot in there which will help them, and I'd really like your help in spreading the word. We've tended to focus most on this podcast on the sorts of things that you as an individual can do. The next couple of episodes, we're going to shift the focus a bit and look at the sorts of things that employers, the organisations can do to help support their employees, and the sorts of conversations that you might have with your employer to try and make this sort of thing happen. It's going to be really interesting and really practical, really helpful. So, do make sure you subscribe to the podcast, so you don't miss these episodes. And I can't wait to see you in next week's show. Cheers. Bye.

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