I’ve had this conversation with recruiters more times than I can count…

many hands shaking It’s almost laughable, how often I’ve had to say exactly the same thing, over and over, to every single recruiter who contacts me.

For the record, I get a lot of contacts from recruiters — not just the spammy emails generated from a recruiting database in a country far, far away, but actual calls from real-live “headhunters” who are hungry to place people in their positions. They want the commission. I (might) need a new job. If it goes right, it works out for everyone.

But the road to the substantive, useful conversations is often long and winding. It can also be a bit tortuous. Like so:

“Hi, my name is Joe Smith and I’m a recruiter with ABC Placements. We have an open contract position for a front-end developer and I found your resume in our system and thought you’d be a great fit!”

“Hi Joe, actually I’m already working full-time at my current company.”

“Oh really – that’s great! How long have you been there?”

“It will be three years, this May.”

“What are you doing in your current role?”

“I’m a technical project manager in the digital solutions group.”

“That sounds very interesting! Are you by any chance looking to make a change?”

“Not at this time, thanks for asking.”

“Would you be open to a change in the future?”

“That all depends on the opportunity… and how things evolve in the organization here.”

“Okay, do you know when you’d be open to considering new opportunities?”

I’ve been in the 9-to-5 workforce for over 30 years, and in that time, I’ve talked to hundreds of recruiters. Whether I was actively looking for a job, or they found my resume in a candidates database, I ended up talking to them, covering exactly the same topics, in pretty much exactly the same order.

Multiply 200 recruiters by 10-15 minutes, and that’s a total of a day and a half of my life I’ve spent repeating exactly the same details, over and over, to a whole lot of headhunters.

If I only consider working hours (8 hours a day), that means I’ve spent nearly a full work week making sure callers had my correct information and knew what my situation was.

I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s a lot of time.

About three years ago, after repeating this same “ritual” many times over, I got smart the process. I knew that recruiters were asking me all those questions because they had to. They didn’t have my most current resume, they didn’t have my most current eligibility, and a lot of them didn’t even know who I was working for. I also knew that there had to be a way to get all that information to them before I wasted precious time correcting the information they should have had, before they ever picked up the phone to call me.

I needed to get that info to them up front. And then, if I was still a good fit for the spots they were trying to fill, we could actually have an intelligent conversation when we talked later.

So, in early 2015, I built my Recruit Ready system. I identified the tools I needed and the simple steps to follow to build a system that proactively and pre-emptively got my most current details into the hands (and email inboxes) of the recruiters who were looking to place me. I put the pieces together and started using it, and the steady stream of bogus “opportunities” slowed to a trickle. That left more time for connecting with quality opportunities. And one of them — which was the result of me using my Recruit Ready system — turned out to be a fantastic next step for my career.

I’m still in that job. And I haven’t had to go looking, since.

Pretty sweet, huh?