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Unemployed and Under-appreciated

Dear Stephen,

I recently lost my job at #MillerKnoll, like many others, in Q1 this year. I worked in sales in the Midwest. For some reason, it seems to hurt even more now that MillerKnoll’s fiscal year is about to end—and I'm not there.

As part of my job search, I’ve reached out to you and several recruiters, but I feel like I'm being ignored. Isn't it your job to help me find employment? I've sent my resume to numerous people. Someone at your company was one of the few who even spoke to me on the phone, but I received a non-committal response, like “don't call us, we'll call you.”

Interestingly, when a recruiter needs to fill a position in my territory, they don't hesitate to call me and ask, “Who do you know who might be good for this job?” I interpret this as, “Are you interested in this job?” Despite being overlooked by headhunters, I've secured many interviews on my own. Maybe I'm just not “fee-worthy.” Yet, despite these efforts, I still have no job offers. What's going on?

How can I get on a recruiter’s radar?


Unemployed and Under-appreciated


Dear Unemployed,

I’m sorry that you feel underappreciated by recruiters. I understand that every recruiter, including our competitors, feels bad when we learn someone has lost their job, and we would love to help.

However, here is what you need to understand: our client, the company paying our fee, is our customer. Whether it's a contingency or retainer-based firm, or a placement agency, our responsibility is not to find you a job, but to find the very best person for our client, and hopefully, that will be you for many jobs.

Being unemployed does not make you less desirable, but there is a bias against paying a fee for an unemployed candidate by hiring authorities. As mentioned before, virtually every company has a talent acquisition department, or at least a talent acquisition specialist. You should be uploading your resume directly to their sites, even if there are no local openings. Candidates are controlling the market today; you are still valuable.

Networking often trumps recruiters in certain parts of the country. For instance, in the Chicago market, due to the presence of the Merchandise Mart with its many showrooms, and the Fulton Street area, large companies often network and hire directly. The same is true in New England, where everyone seems to know everyone. However, in cities like Dallas, New York City, Atlanta, Miami, San Francisco, LA, Charlotte, and High Point, a good headhunter is needed to poach a candidate to move from one company to another. I believe there are openings in these markets today.

I hope this explanation clarifies some things for you. It's not personal. You should focus on your own job search. I’m always open to providing career advice, resume tips, or guidance on how to find a job independently. Feel free to call me at The Viscusi Group in New York City, and I’ll help steer you in the right direction.