In the spirit of being effective with everyone’s time, here’s my rule of thumb for whether or not you should apply for a role being worked on by recruiters.
Borrowing from world of Texas Hold ‘Em, when applying for open positions – based on the positions you’ve held and industry experience:
1. Bet: Match both title/experience and Industry
2. Draw: Strong title/experience match with limited industry experience (or vice versa)
3. Fold: Have not held the position and from outside the industry
Both “Bet” and “Draw” means you should contact the recruiter.
With “Draw” you will need to clearly draw the parallels between industries or duties to the job description. Remember that you need to do the translation for the recruiter and perhaps the company.
For “Fold”, this is simply recognizing that even if you are really talented, a recruiter is generally not asked to just find talented people. So do both yourself and recruiter a favor, apply when the odds favor you.