Friday, April 10, 2009

Recruiter relations: Help us help you

Lindsay Olson writes in her recruiting blog:

You’re contemplating your next career move. You’ve been collecting referrals to known recruiters in your field and find a firm that seems reputable.

Job searching is so time consuming! You think it’d be nice to find someone with connections to find those golden opportunities for you, so you introduce yourself to the recruiter and write something like this:

Dear Recruiter of my choice,

I was recommended to you by my colleague, John Doe, who thought you might be able to assist me in my job search. I’m looking for……..

Please let me know if you are taking on new candidates and able to represent me in my search.

Wrong. This is the opposite of how a recruiter works and the wrong way to approach a recruiting specialist in your field.

Recruiters work for the client company and to reap the rewards of their hard efforts, they must always be searching and evaluating candidates for an exact match to their client’s job specifications.

A recruiter may request a conversation with you to understand your background and career goals for a current or future searches and of course, to network, but it’s a big mistake to think she’s working around the clock to find your next position. It’s not the model and there’s simply not enough time to represent every candidate in a job search.

How can you help a recruiter help you? Phil Rosenberg at reCareered gives us these 11 tips:

Adopt the mentality that YOU work for the recruiter

  1. Work for the Recruiter - Tell the recruiters you work with that you will work for them…and mean it. Back it up by giving them information about available jobs and candidates.
  2. Be an exact match – Give FAST turnaround and customize your resume within hours to be an exact match for the job. The fastest matches get interviews.
  3. Provide Value - Every time you speak to a recruiter, have something to give them that they find valuable, even if they call you - A job lead, a candidate referral, a web resource, a networking event.
  4. Personalize – Not every recruiter goes to networking events, so provide value that’s important to THAT recruiter. Recruiters specialize, and most Technology recruiters can’t help your friend in Accounting. Ask the recruiter what information is valuable – what should you keep your eyes open for?
  5. Be responsive – Call the recruiter back quickly. Recruiters win interviews by responding quickly. If you respond quickly, the recruiter has a better chance of getting you an interview.
  6. Co-Opt - Make the recruiter feel like a friend. People naturally work harder for people they like.
  7. Respect the recruiter’s time – email is an efficient communication for the recruiter.
  8. Be a Fountain of Info – About your past employer, about current interviews, about jobs you’ve seen. Tell all – information is your best currency.
  9. Help in matching – If you see a job that a recruiter lists, IF YOU ARE A MATCH – send an email with your resume attached (revised to match the job & keywords), and let them know why you are a match.
  10. Provide introductions – Set up meetings with Hiring Managers and other candidates. If you can’t do in person, use emails and/or LinkedIN.
  11. Be Positive and friendly – Be nice, make their day, tell a funny joke. Recruiters don’t like putting bitter people in front of clients.
For the record, I don’t expect a candidate to work for me or expect someone to have gathered information to help me do my job better, but a little “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” never hurts. At the very least, it will assure you a long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationship with a specialist in your field and a priority seat for those opportunities you want to hear about.

This reminds me of the “Help me help you” scene in Jerry McGuire.


Executives exploring Career Change: For a free 30 minute resume consultation, or career advice for executives, email your resume confidentially to reCareered (, and we'll schedule a time to talk.

Staff, Managers, Entrepreneurs, and career changers outside the US: Send your resume to to enroll in a free group teleseminar "Accelerate Your Job Search - tools you can use".

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