Job Search

Many job seekers discuss networking as being a critical component to a successful job search.  While the majority recognize the importance of building the right relationships, few know how to establish a rapport with a key group…headhunters.

The ability to form on-going relationships with influential recruiters can prove more critical to your career success than any other networking outlet.  In order to influence a headhunter, you must know how to interact with them.

To assist you, we’ve listed important do’s and don’ts of recruiter communication.

Understanding the Importance of Recruiter Relationships

Why is it so beneficial to learn how to speak with executive search professionals?  Over time, alliances with the right staffing agents can aid you in several different ways.   Competent recruiters can do the following:

  • Open up additional job opportunities you didn’t know about.
  • Provide key insight into the job market.
  • Help negotiate higher compensation packages.
  • Provide critical resume and job search advice.

The 5 Do’s and Don’ts of Recruiter Communication

Since your goal is to have lasting relationships with headhunters, it’s imperative to understand how to effectively communicate with a job search agent.  Here is what you should be doing:

  1. Do clearly convey your career goals.  Often, job seekers complain about being pressured to interview for jobs that they are not interested in nor qualified for.  This results in them making a bad impression during the interview which, in turn hurts their on-going relationship with that recruiting agent.  However, you can prevent this by clearly conveying your professional goals to the recruiter.  When a headhunter knows exactly what you’re looking for, they can more accurately make career suggestions without putting you in an awkward spot.
  2. If you are approached for a job you are not interested in, it’s best that you politely decline, thank the recruiter for their consideration and tell them what interests you.  Don’t be indecisive.  Don’t interview just to get in the recruiter’s good graces.  Doing so will not strengthen the relationship and, ultimately will come back to hurt you.  Whether you interview well and don’t accept a job or don’t receive an offer, it’s a lose-lose situation.
  3. Do allow the recruiter to call the shots.  One of the best ways to get on the good side of a recruiter is to simply allow them to do their job.  On occasion, job applicants have trouble not being in control of the hiring process.  Anxiousness force them to take certain actions which can be perceived as stepping on the toes of the recruiting representative.  For instance, it’s in your best interest to ask the recruiter permission (as well as their opinion) or keep them in the loop with any client contact.  This includes sending thank you notes to interviewers with the individual cc’d all the way to negotiating salary through the headhunter unless directed otherwise.  The rule of thumb is if you don’t know the way a staffing professional likes to work, it’s best to ask.  Inquiring about their preferences and being compliant with those requests builds trust and fosters long-term relationships.
  4. Do remain cordial and professional even if you do not get the job.  One of the best ways to get in the good graces of a recruiter is to be gracious upon losing an offer.  Sometimes, applicants will bad mouth the hiring manager which makes them look petty and unprofessional.  This is not to mention that they are talking poorly about the recruiters’ clients.  How you behave when things don’t go your way is just as important as how you behave when they do.  By thanking the recruiter for their time and informing them you’d be interested in anything similar that comes along leaves the door open to you working again with the individual.
  5. Don’t be a sore loser.  Recruiters find the sour grapes mentality very off-putting and complaining has no benefit to you.  Sometimes you get the job, sometimes you don’t.  However, never lose your composer when things don’t go your way.

In the End

If played correctly, recruiting relationships will do nothing but benefit your career.  Whether or not you end up a taking a job today is not as important as whether or not you’ll be considered in the future.

Image: Shutterstock


About Ken Sundheim

Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement, a sales and marketing executive search firm based out of New York City. He is also a writer for Forbes. Follow Ken on Twitter @Ken_Sundheim.

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