You've probably heard the term "headhunter" used in reference to someone who goes out to find people to fill a company's specific job opening. Believe it or not, there are actually recruiters who specialize in the publishing industry. And Steve Ganz of Personnel Associates in southern California, specializing in educational publishing, is one of the nicest. I got a chance to chat with him this afternoon and ask some relevant questions.
First off, do you work with entry-level candidates?
Not a lot. But not because I don't want to. Usually when a company hires me to fill a position, they are looking for a specific level of experience beyond entry level. They can find plenty of entry-level candidates on their own.
In a nutshell, how does the recruiting process work?
First the publisher calls me. They are the clients and pay the bill. Usually the hiring manager or HR person has a very specific need--for example, a marketing person with experience in psychology textbooks. I have a database of about 20,000 resumes and can sort them and pinpoint someone with the exact experience. These people are not usually actively looking for jobs, but they don't want to miss any good opportunities. So when I find a match, I call or e-mail them. If they are interested in knowing more, we have a more detailed conversation. Then I send their resume to the hiring company.
Do job seekers pay you to find them a job?
No, just the opposite. The company pays the fees and I work for them.
Is it OK for a candidate to send their resume to more than one recruiter?
Yes, it happens all the time. But if I am working with you on a specific opportunity, it's best to talk to me first before contacting other recruiters or applying directly to companies. Often I am aware of the same opportunities and can help you get an interview through my own contacts.
What's the geographic distribution of companies that you recruit for?
Sixty percent are in the NYC area (75% if you include Boston). Usually 10% are on the West Coast (although right now that number is about 30%), and 5 to 10% are elsewhere.
Do you have any hints for college students hoping to break into the field?
If you want to be an acquisitions editor and then progress up to execuitve editor and publisher, a better way is to get into a sales job first and then progress to higher roles. In educational publishing, acquisitions editor really is a sales role--you're selling potential authors on the idea of publishing their book with your company. Many salespeople are tasked with looking for potential authors, so it's a natural progression to acquisitions editor.
I also have a list of helpful websites that I send out when entry-level people (with less than three years of experience in publishing) contact me: