While many recruiters do cold-call potential candidates, when you’re actively job seeking don’t sit at home waiting for the phone to ring. Actively build relationships with recruiters looking to place candidates like you in great positions!
There’s quite a bit you can do to actively reach out to recruiters and make yourself more visible in the marketplace:
Employment recruiting, at its heart, is a form of networking; it involves making valuable contacts and introducing them to each other—with discretion. Think of all of your contacts as a giant web. Movement on one side creates ripples on the other. While networking with a recruiter is the ultimate goal, you never know who might be able to connect you with a good one; which brings us to point two.
Because referrals are a form of networking, recruiting firms see the immense value in them. If someone they know and trust refers you, you are 2x more likely to get the interview and 40% more likely to get hired.
Leverage Social Media
While most people know that recruiters often use LinkedIn to find potential candidates, it may come as a surprise that they also rely on Facebook and Twitter. Successfully leveraging your social media platforms can make the difference between getting put in the “backups” pile and a receiving phone call.
- Facebook: “Like” the pages of companies you admire; use Facebook job-search apps, such as BeKnown and BranchOut; and add value to your timeline by building your own personal and professional brand.
- Twitter: Recruiters notice you if you notice them. Follow recruiters on Twitter, and find opportunities to interact with them. Recruiters will take notice when you retweet their content and may message you to find out more information about your interests.
- LinkedIn: It is important to build your profile in a way that helps recruiters find you. Be sure to complete your profile (using lots of relevant keywords!) and join industry-specific groups for greater searchability.
Connect and Build
OK, so you found a recruiter, or he or she found you. How do you connect on a deeper level? And how do you keep that relationship growing beyond your first meeting?
- Recognize the value of your recruiter’s time. Don’t work with a recruiter if you don’t actually want to change jobs, and don’t trouble your recruiter with vague questions like, “what do you think of a career in Human Resources?” The former will make you seem wishy-washy; the latter, frivolous. Both show that you haven’t seriously considered what you want.
- Thoroughly explore your potential career paths before you meet. It’s not a good idea to tell your recruiter that you’ll “do anything;” this only makes his or her job harder. Keep in mind that the more specific you are, the greater the chance of finding that ideal position and the broader you are, the more options will be available to you.
- Provide references. Good references will make a recruiter want to represent you. The more valuable you appear to your recruiter, the more time and attention you’ll receive.
- Do your homework. Meeting with a recruiter is the first step toward a job interview, and you should treat it as such. Dress professionally, behave appropriately, and come prepared with intelligent questions about potential positions. The easier you make it for a recruiter to help you, the more help you’ll get.
- If you turn down a job, explain why. You may have false impressions that your recruiter can correct. If not, explain what specifically about the position makes it a bad fit. If possible, recommend someone in your personal network—recruiters love referrals.
- Recruiters are people, too. Check in with your recruiter frequently, be congenial, and strive to make the relationship two-sided. Take the time to ask what you can do for them, not just what they can do for you. Remember, employers pay recruiters; candidates have to establish their value in other ways.
- If you feel like your recruiter is not giving you the attention you deserve, try casually mentioning that you’re seeking a new one. Recruiters want to find the right fit between employers and candidates, so if you’ve done your part, your recruiter will get the message and work harder for you.
Establish relationships with recruiters now. Make their job, and your job search, that much easier!
About the Author: As a Senior Managing Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Healthcare division, Katie Niekrash has played a key role in leading the division’s success. Since joining the firm in 2007, she has worked tirelessly to develop new markets for the firm, most notably the Connecticut market, and has been instrumental in building the division into one of the largest of its kind in the Tri-State area.