Anxious for that perfect job opportunity, you reach out to recruiters in your desired location and career discipline. Right approach? Maybe, depending on how you manage it. You wouldn’t approach a potential employer without preparation; don’t make that mistake when reaching out to recruiters whose expertise you are requesting and potential representation into their clients you are seeking. First, stop and think about these things:
How were you introduced to the recruiter? You’ll have greater success if you’re introduced by a mutual contact. As the leader of a recruiting organization, I get 10-15 candidate contacts from job-seekers a week. The initial encounter often goes something like this, “I came across your name and think you could help me in my search. Can we speak or meet?” To me, this comes across with a “what’s in it for me” attitude from the job seeker. There’s nothing compelling in this type of outreach that inspires me to open up my calendar and invest my time with them. However, I do value those candidates who are referred to me by someone I trust and respect, and those who create interest from the first encounter. Those with a random approach are very unlikely to make it onto my calendar.
Next, consider your expectations of the recruiter and how you communicate it. Do you understand how recruiting agencies work? Their customers are hiring managers. Recruiters make a living by gaining the trust of clients with hiring needs who compensate them to find the right candidate set and then help them to navigate the interview and hiring process so that they can make the best hire. This results in the recruiter earning a placement fee.
If you’re treating recruiters like you are their customers and it is the recruiter’s responsibility to invest their time in serving your interest to find the best job for you, you have it backwards. You would best be served by a career coach who could help you to put your best foot forward when approaching the market, and to navigate each step through acceptance of your next great career opportunity.
If your motive is to be a visible and valuable potential candidate for a recruiter, develop your value proposition. Have a high quality resume, once you’re sure that your LinkedIn profile makes the best representation of you, connect with them. Think about your introduction, and concisely let them know what value you bring for their client, along with your experience and skill set. Above all, keep in mind that this is your opportunity to differentiate yourself, by highlighting your accomplishments and successes; the same thing you will want to do in front of prospective employers.
Lastly, it’s important to remember that recruiters are assessing each interaction with you. I often get the message that, “I didn’t take the time to prepare because you’re just the recruiter.” And you wouldn’t believe the things candidates whom I barely know have shared with me. Don’t expect I won’t forget that! You can guess where these candidates land when I’m prioritizing outreach efforts and candidate set.
Here are a few things that may be highlighted by my clients:
- We need someone who has strong written skills, as they will be preparing presentations and communications to our customers. If you’ve sent me e-mails and resumes with errors, it is obvious to me that you do not meet this client’s requirements.
- We’re a small company where everyone jumps in to help and puts forth a great effort. If you display a sense of entitlement, expecting me to re-write your resume for you, I know that you will not be a good fit for this company.
- This position demands excellent communication with internal and external customers. If during our dialogue I haven’t received a full sense of your value, I’m not getting the message that you communicate well, and therefore, do not feel that you meet this client’s requirements.
We build our reputation on being able to access candidates that others can’t and by presenting candidates for our clients’ consideration with whom we are confident will impress them!
It is a tight talent market and having access to the right candidates at the right time is golden! If you do your part to effectively gain visibility with recruiters who may be able to place you in the future, you are creating a win-win situation when they get that next job opening that does match your skill set, and they can present YOU to their client for consideration with confidence.