How To ‘Recruit’ The Best Recruiter for Your Asia Job Search
If you’re reading this, you’re probably contemplating a move to Asia. You may not be in pack-my-bags mode, but you’re at least receptive to hearing some intel on the Asia markets. You may even already be in Asia, but you haven’t had the time to give any thought as to how to optimize your next career move – even if that means staying put in your current role. Here are 4 ways to make sure you’re using the right recruiter for your job search.
- Think of recruiters like you think of doctors. While your doctor is your go-to guru for matters pertaining to physical health, your recruiter is your trusted advisor when it comes to your professional health. The worst time to be scrambling for a doctor is when you’re sick or injured. Likewise, the worst time to be hunting for a recruiter is when you’re in the middle of a professional crisis. You want to give yourself time to do your diligence – like any good lawyer – and find the right recruiter to represent you. Not looking? That’s the perfect time to be picking up those cold calls or responding to emails or InMails that recruiters are sending to you. Take the time to learn what’s in the markets for attorneys at your seniority and in your practice group. That way, when it’s time for you to consider a career move, you’ll have a group of go-to contacts on hand and will have an idea of your realistic landing spots.
- Drill Down on Their Market Knowledge. Anyone with a phone and internet connection can be a recruiter. The low barriers to entry mean that the market is saturated with smile-and-dial Don’t be afraid to ask your recruiter how long they have been recruiting in Asia, or for (anonymous) examples of their agency’s recent placements. Being able to recite information off a law firm’s or company’s website is one thing, but how much “beyond the website” intel can a recruiter share about a law firm, practice group, or in-house team? Does your recruiter have up-to-date knowledge on COLA numbers, group personalities, marquee clients and deals, and team culture? Has your recruiter ever worked as a lawyer in Asia?
- Is Your Recruiter Dealing with Decision-Makers? Along with market knowledge, you want to make sure that your recruiter’s emails will be taken seriously by the other side. Many recruiters will do no better than to chuck your resume into a “black hole” – this is especially true for recruiters who have never even had a telephone conversation with the person they’re submitting you to! Make sure your recruiter has real connections that hold hiring clout. Ask how many placements your recruiter has made at that client, or how many searches your recruiter has advised on. Ideally, your recruiter will have a long-standing relationship with the relevant hiring managers – maybe they worked at the same law firm together as associates, or maybe your recruiter placed them into their current role. Try to gauge the strength of a recruiter’s relationships before trusting that recruiter with your resume. This is especially critical for in-house searches.
- Getting to Know You. Has your recruiter taken the time to get to know you and your career objectives? How much experience does your recruiter have in placing attorneys with your background into the sorts of roles you are seeking? Do you feel comfortable sharing with your recruiter private information about your career? Your recruiter will often be a career coach, talent agent, and therapist all in one. A recruiter cannot represent you effectively if they have only a superficial (i.e. on-the-resume) knowledge of who you are. You’re more than just a few pixels on a screen, or words on an 8×11 sheet of paper. Beware of recruiters who feel comfortable blasting your resume indiscriminately after exchanging only a few short emails with you. Chances are high that they are only focused on “closing the deal” as opposed to serving as your trusted advisor through the search process – even if the result is you staying where you are or choosing another opportunity.
Taking the time to vet potential recruiters long before you are considering a move can make the difference between optimizing your professional growth and leaving your career up to chance. This is especially true if you are considering a move to a new geographic market, such as Asia. If you’re as risk-averse as lawyers tend to be, don’t be afraid to engage in a thorough “recruiter recruitment” process before sending out your resume.