Suddenly I'm the belle of the ball
January 30, 2008 12:07 PM   Subscribe

I find myself in the novel situation, upon being laid off, of having a large number of potential job opportunities. I'm in the tech space, so most organizations work through recruiters, and I'm getting over a dozen calls and emails a day since posting my resume. Many of the job descriptions look like a good fit, so I know I can have my pick of location, type of organization, benefits, salary, etc. It's quite early in my job hunt, and I have the leisure of about 2 months to do it in. I'm looking for tips about how to keep organized and be in control of the situation.

I'm keeping a spreadsheet with their contact information and any notes that I have about the opportunity, but I'm already feeling pretty overwhelmed. I probably just need to spend an entire day catching up with everyone on the phone and doing the get-to-know-you conversation. My soon-to-be-previous employer is fully supporting my efforts to job hunt during my last weeks here, so that's not a problem. I'm mainly concerned with keeping good contact with these recruiters, not burning any bridges, remembering which opportunity is which, gleaning the right information to weed the wheat from the chaff, and doing the appropriate follow-through. If you've been through a similar situation, how did you stay organized and keep track of everything? Any potential pitfalls to watch out for?

I'm fully aware of how good this situation is, by the way, and I'm not at all complaining. Believe me, I've been on the other side far too often to take this for granted.
posted by matildaben to Work & Money (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
The first thing I would tell you is that most (not all) I.T. recruiters are total wastes of time. I personally have a policy of not EVER going to meet with one without at least some detail on the position they're recruiting you for - a lot of them will want to bring you into their office to talk about nonexistant jobs - they can do that over the phone. I wrote about this here. I'll talk on the phone and email a resume, but don't get suckered into an in-person meeting without a real position backing it up.

Also, professional networking is FAR more likely to get you a job than any recruiter. Have friends in the business? Make good and sure they know you're looking.

One more thing: return EVERY phone call, even when it's quite obvious that you're not a good fit or the recruiter is a timewaster. Nothing looks less professional than someone who doesn't return calls, and I've found that word does get around.
posted by deadmessenger at 12:19 PM on January 30, 2008

I'm in somewhat of the same boat, (still working but actively looking) and am using a Backpack page to keep track of it. I keep a checklist of pending opportunites, another of pending tasks (call X, email references to Y), and a timeline of text notes about who I talk to when with their contact info. I also have text notes of the things recruiters tend to ask for -references and etc.

37 Signals also has Highrise for contact management, which might be a better solution, but I was already familiar with Backpack. It's nice because it can be accessed quickly from anywhere. The downside is it could begin to overflow with information if I start juggling much more.

I haven't had any recruiters try to meet me in-person, and none have contacted me about jobs that were obviously bogus (although some do seem to be working from public listings and have no internal contacts with an organization). That could be a factor of location or something.

Sadly now I have a job opportunity that's perfect in every way except location.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 12:32 PM on January 30, 2008

Best answer: Instead of backpack, grab an account on Highrise. It's specifically designed to keep track of contacts with people, and necessary follow ups. It can help deal with the "overflow" that Premises talks about.
posted by cschneid at 12:58 PM on January 30, 2008

Ditto deadmessenger. Headhunters and recruiters are lower than car salesmen. Never talk to one unless he has a bonafide position with a company, and have them name the company. If they say they won't or can't then you simply say I cannot waste time pursuing jobs that may not fit, and besides if the employer is working through them they won't take solicitations off the street. For most recruiters it is a numbers game. They need to have warm bodies to talk to. They have tote-sheets, quotas, and contests just like car dealers do.

Also if they do mention a company you should call the HR department (of the potential employer) and see if the recuiter is on the approved list. Some HR departments won't work with unapproved head hunters.
posted by Gungho at 1:22 PM on January 30, 2008

Demand for IT is supposedly higher right now than at the peak of the dotcom bubble. It's not surprising that you're getting that much interest. The Highrise suggestion is an excellent one that I would never have thought of.
posted by purephase at 3:18 PM on January 30, 2008

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