By Tonya Wells – Finding a job is often an exhaustive process of searching corporate job boards, job search engines, and classifieds for available job openings. And to make matters worse, you are one of thousands of people who are also looking for a job in the exact same market.
So, job hunters need a competitive edge over everyone else, but how do you get it? How do you distinguish yourself from every other schmo out there?
Recruiters are not very popular with many people because at one point in their life or other, they feel like a recruiter has wronged them in some way. But, recruiters at recruiting firms are oftentimes your best bet to helping yourself stand out from the rest of the crowd.
Recruiters are well connected. They know people. Specifically, they know people who are hiring. And, if they don’t know someone who is hiring right now, if you have a really hot skill set, sometimes they will switch gears and spend a week marketing only you. That’s right. Nobody else. Just. you.
So, how do you get a recruiter to do this?
In the recruiting world, there is an acronym for someone who is a highly marketable candidate. We call them our ‘MPC’ – our Most Placeable Candidate. The MPC is a term that is primarily used by recruiting firms and recruiters who have moved from recruiting firms to the corporate side as a recruiter.
The definition of an MPC is: “Someone who has been chosen by the recruiting firm as their #1 candidate to be marketed among all of their potential and current clients with the objective of placing him/her in a position. The MPC also gives the recruiting firm the opportunity to introduce themselves to the potential client companies with a warmer introduction.”
Clients do not typically mind if a recruiter calls to let them know that they have a candidate with a hard to find skill set which they saw posted on their corporate job board, and would they like to talk to a candidate whose exact skills match that position?
Most recruiters don’t get paid their commissions until they have placed the candidate, so if you are someone who is so talented that companies will be lining up with offers in hand, a recruiter is going to put all of his/her eggs in one basket for a week, and take the gamble that they can place you. That is what is in it for them. You have to keep in mind, that a recruiter probably has a family to feed too. And, this is the way they earn their living. So, it is a really big deal if they agree to make you their MPC. They are betting a week’s worth of commissions on it.
Just about all of the major staffing firms use the MPC strategy to help them make more placements. It is a very effective strategy for them not only from a recruiting perspective, but also from a sales perspective. It gets them in front of new clients who might not have been interested in meeting with them had they not had an MPC the client was interested in interviewing. Robert Half International, Kelly Staffing, Express Personnel, and Hudson Global (formerly Monster.com’s staffing unit) are some of the largest recruiting firms who use the MPC strategy, and there are thousands more recruiting firms out there who use it. I’ve personally worked for RHI, Kelly, and Hudson, and this was their favorite recruiting strategy to use.
As a recruiter, I have found that having an MPC to market to my existing and potential clients to be one of the most successful ways to make more placements and get new business. So, this is a real recruiting strategy that is considered best practices by recruiting firms nationwide. So, it is definitely worth reading through the tips below to know what recruiters at recruiting firms are keeping their eye out for when they interview you.
Now, this does not mean they won’t help you if you’re not their MPC of the week. If you have marketable skills, they are still going to do everything they can to find you a job if they have clients who are looking for your specific skill set. All I’m saying is that this will get you to the top of their candidate list if you can pull it off.
Advantages of Being an MPC for a Job Hunter:
1) Your resume gets directly in front of a corporate recruiter very quickly, and it possibly gets placed ahead of other candidates if you possess the right skill set.
2) Your resume gets sent out to multiple companies, typically all in one week.
3) It is possible that your resume will end up in front of hiring managers who haven’t even opened up a job posting yet because the opening is so new.
4) The amount of time it takes to find a job can be reduced significantly.
Disadvantages to a job hunter:
1) You can’t always be 100% certain where your resume has been submitted.
2) If you are also applying for jobs online, you may accidentally submit your resume to a database at the same time the recruiting agency submitted your resume. At some companies, this double submittal can cause you to get removed from possible selection so that the company doesn’t get into a disagreement with the recruiting firm with whom they are working.
Interview Tips to Become a Most Placeable Candidate
1) Have a Highly Marketable Skill – This should be a skill that can be marketed to approximately 150 to 200 companies within a market area.
2) Have Realistic Job Goals – Your goals should be the goals that could be met by a majority of companies.
3) Job Title – You should be willing to consider a new position with a title similar to the one you already hold. Candidates who will only consider positions higher than what they currently hold are less marketable than someone who has already held the position needing to be filled. There ARE companies who will move someone into a position that is a move up, but there are far more companies looking to fill positions that the candidate has already held.
4) Willingness to Perform Duties and Responsibilities – Candidates must not only be capable of performing duties and responsibilities of a position, they must also be willing to perform them. Sometimes candidates want positions that will not require them to perform the more distasteful functions required by most people in their particular field. These candidates would not qualify as an MPC.
5) Be Realistic About Compensation – As a rule of thumb, a 10% – 15% pay increase as an incentive to change companies is considered realistic as long as you have been at your former pay range for a reasonable amount of time (receiving a pay raise six months ago and expecting another raise is not realistic). If you are currently unemployed, usually the best you can expect is compensation equal to that which you received in your last position.
6) Relocation – Candidates who are unwilling to relocate can only be considered an MPC if there are enough potential employers in the local area to market you for at least a week.
7) Travel – You must be willing to accept the travel requirements standard for your industry. Refusal to commute within a local area will also make you ineligible to be an MPC.
8) Interview and Start Times/Dates – If you are currently employed, you must agree to interview during the normal business day and set aside at least eight hours of preset interviewing time. MPCs must also be able to give no more than a two week notice upon accepting a new position. Unemployed individuals should agree to interview and start immediately.
9) Checking References – You must be able to furnish references from past employers and / or professional associates with knowledge of your background and experience, and you must be willing to have your references checked prior to having your resume submitted to clients, if requested.
10) Mutual Respect and PATIENCE – A candidate must have professional respect for the recruiter’s judgment and be willing to follow through with requests and instructions throughout the interviewing process. An MPC must also respect the time of the recruiter (i.e., not call them multiple times a day for an update – your recruiter will call you when they have an update), and you agree to touch base only once or twice a week at most unless your recruiter calls you. So, stay in touch with your recruiter, but don’t be a pest because you are calling so often.
The key to qualifying as a recruiter’s Most Placeable Candidate is really a nice combination of all of these traits. It is understandable that you might not be able to check off all of these items. However, the more you can check off, the greater chance you have of becoming your recruiter’s favorite candidate to market for the week.
So, prior to submitting your resume to a recruiter or meeting with him/her, it is very important that you:
a) Have your resume polished and reviewed by a professional.
b) Pay close attention to your professional appearance at interviews.
c) Are prepared to answer any number of interview questions.
We have a number of resources available on this site to help you accomplish all three of these objectives. So, please, do look around our site, and consider some of the suggested reading materials below as well as some of the advice given in our articles.
Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.