Whether you use professional online networks or recruiting events, introduce yourself to a recruiter today! You don’t have to limit your relationship to a single recruiter - work with as many as make sense. If a particular firm has a large share of the market in which you’re interested, you may want to limit the number you work with. Develop a relationship with them so you remain top of mind when relevant opportunities cross their desks.
Lois doesn’t actively seek out the help of recruiters anymore. She’s contacted a couple of them in the past, and concluded that they weren’t particularly helpful. It’s no surprise, since the recruiters she tried to work with didn’t specialize in her area of interest. She also succeeded in alienating herself by being somewhat demanding, uncooperative, and unresponsive.
Peter, on the other hand, has developed great relationships with recruiters over the years. He keeps them updated regularly, letting them know what he’s up to and whether there’s been any changes in his contact information or work situation. Peter understands that recruiters are the link to the hidden job market, and he trusts their advice and values their feedback. He is forthcoming and responsive, following up with recruiters whenever they contact him with opportunities.
In her current job search, Lois’ resume happens to be picked up online by a few recruiters. When they call her up to discuss specific opportunities or to set up a meeting for future ones, she blows them off. They’re presenting her with junior marketing jobs and even some account management positions. She’s not at all interested in these jobs, and besides, she doesn’t trust recruiters based on her previous experience with them.
Even if he’s not interested, Peter is courteous and provides referrals to other individuals whenever he can. When he is interested in but passed over for certain opportunities, he doesn’t take the rejection personally. He understands that there are other candidates in the running who likely have more experience than he does.
In his current job search, Peter is presented with a sales manager opportunity through one of his long time recruiting contacts who knew he was in the market. The recruiter took the time to help him refine his resume for the job in question and coach him on his interviewing skills. So, without the recruiter, Peter would have missed out on hearing about and pursuing this opportunity. Furthermore, the recruiter was also instrumental in helping Peter position himself as a stellar candidate.
What can we learn from Lois and Peter about working with recruiters? Here's a summary:
Do your homework
Identify good recruiters in your area of interest and make them part of your career network. Just as with all professionals, there are good recruiters and there are bad recruiters. You want to ensure your recruiter is experienced, and has a credible reputation. After all, they will be representing you in the job market, and you want to be associated with a true professional.
Establish strong relationships
When working with recruiters, be clear about your career objectives and know how to articulate them. Staying focused will help you build better relationships with recruiters. Although it might be nice just to call and say hello, make more of an impact by calling to report a significant occurrence in your career, such as landing a new job.
Know the process
Recognize that there is a process when working with recruiters and search firms. You’re not the only player in the game, and there are other stakeholders and a number of variables that can affect the process. Be patient, but also be politely persistent to maintain your position of interest.
Handle rejection professionally
Whether you are rejecting an opportunity put forth by a recruiter or whether you’re the one being rejected for a job, always remain courteous and professional. Keep the lines of communication open with the recruiter. You don’t want a “no” at this point to be a permanent goodbye.
In our upcoming newsletters, we'll continue to follow Lois and Peter throughout their job search. Maybe you'll recognize yourself in one of them, and maybe you'll learn something along the way. For more tips to help you with your job search, including getting started, download ReadySet HIRED! A Practical Guide to Finding a Job. It's free!