If you’re in job-search mode, you may be wondering how to use a recruiter to gain the greatest exposure. There’s no doubt that in some fields—business aviation among them—using a recruitment firm can help propel you to the top of the list and put you in front of the right people.
Sometimes you can use your own established network or look for open job postings to help you make the right career move.
At other times, though, creating a lasting relationship with a recruiter can be a real “job accelerator,” and ultimately the best path forward.
There are two solid reasons to use a recruiter, and the first is to become a member of the recruiter’s expansive network, so you can expose yourself to positions that don’t happen to be posted online for everyone to see.
If you were working with Aviation Personnel International (API), for example, you would complete our registration process and then get placed into our extensive database of qualified candidates.
Though no recruiter can guarantee a job placement, working with a recruiter like API will certainly strengthen your chances of being exposed to some of the most compelling job opportunities.
After all, if a company is willing to invest in API’s recruitment services, it shows that they are committed to their aviation department and their people.
Additionally, a recruiter like API can guide you through the process of fine-tuning your resume and keeping you in the loop for possible business aviation job openings.
A common myth about recruitment firms is that they can positively find you a job ASAP. Of course, recruiters want to help their candidates succeed, but there’s another, critical factor involved: they also must ensure that they’re meeting the specific hiring needs of their client, the hiring company.
How to use a recruiter
Here is just a short list of what you should do (and what you can expect) if you want to know how to use a recruiter like API:
- Cooperation. To make sure that we succeed in our “matchmaker” role, the marriage of the hiring company (client) and the candidate must be a perfect union. As a prerequisite, it means that all three parties—client, hiring company and recruiter—must be in the right place at the right time. In many cases, a candidate might not be ready to make a transition even if and when the perfect job comes along (and vice versa).
- Accommodation. Don’t be “M.I.A.”—missing in action—if and when a recruiter comes knocking. We are here to help you, and it’s far better to be eager, responsive and available than aloof or hard to find.As I’m sure you know, recruitment firms work with with more than one candidate at a time, and we try to accommodate everyone, but we’re always working under a deadline, so it helps if you, the candidate, can be as accommodating as possible. As you might expect, recruiters are far more likely to be engaged and supportive of candidates who are willing to put in some work on their own behalf.
- Transparency. Be honest about your work history (or lack thereof). If you’ve recently experienced a layoff or furlough, tell us. If you’re currently between jobs, let us know that, too. We’ve probably seen it all, so whatever it is, just be open.Any good recruiter will, of course, verify your work history and background, so there’s no point in trying to embellish it. Just remember that some things you think might be “showstoppers,” in your work or academic history might not be much of an issue after all.
- Investment. After chatting with us over the phone, don’t forget to keep your API file up to date. We are counting on you to follow through, and we hope that you are as invested in yourself as we are! Working together will be easier for both of us if you make the time and effort to keep up your end of the bargain.I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to reach out to a candidate, perhaps many months after they have completed the registration process, and their phone number is no longer valid. It becomes difficult to find you for that perfect job if the information we have on file is outdated. I often tell registrants/candidates to check-in with API on a quarterly basis.
- Resume, Resume, Resume! Think of your resume as the vehicle for helping to tell your story. Think of it as your introductory handshake! Make it succinct, clean and easy to read. Choose a fairly generic template in Microsoft Word and select a common font such as Arial or Times New Roman.Format your resume it in such a way that recruiters can easily locate the following: your current title, employer and tenure (at least the past 10-15 years of employment). Also, show a few quantifiable achievements during your time in a recent job; post-secondary education; continuing education; military service (if applicable); volunteerism (e.g., NBAA committee member); technical skills and business skills (e.g., coaching, finance, negotiating, etc.).It’s also important to list your license and certification information (e.g., Airline Transport Pilot, Airframe & Powerplant and/ or licensed dispatcher). If you’re a pilot, also list your type ratings and flight hours.Make sure that, for each position, you list what your responsibilities were. Not all titles carry the same responsibilities in different flight departments. Don’t make people have to guess what you’re capable of.
Most importantly, make sure there are no typos or formatting issues. Spelling and grammatical errors show a lack of attention to detail and won’t get you through the door. So please ask someone else to proofread your documents, as it’s easy to miss something on your own.
- Experience. Hiring companies usually have specific requirements they’re looking for when it comes to technical and educational experience. For example, a client might require a minimum of 3,500 flight hours.These days, nearly all of our company clients require that their hirees have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at all levels within their flight departments. Some even require fairly significant, advanced business education, such as an MBA. When it comes to presenting candidates, recruiters have to check all of the boxes to ensure that we’re meeting the hiring company’s needs.
- Cultural Fit. Scrutinizing top potential candidates to see whether they fit “culturally” is important. That’s why business aviation hiring managers come to us specifically—because we make it a point to understand how each candidate will fit into their particular culture.What recruiters are looking for is something not just found on your resume, but an assurance that you can personally and professionally assimilate into the client’s culture.At API, for example, we will never present our top three or four best candidates unless we have spent some time getting to know them, their capabilities and their suitability for the job they might be seeking.A “good” fit isn’t always good enough. It often has to be exactly the right fit. And finding the right fit for our clients typically entails a very unique approach.
You might be an excellent fit when it comes to background and experience, but you must also have the personality, motivation, leadership skills and ethics that are a good match for the hiring company.