How to connect with recruiters is one of the most frequent questions I hear from my clients, even more so now as we close out a very long year of covid lockdowns. If you are considering reaching out to a recruiter for help landing your next role, you may want to try these techniques that have helped many of my clients build positive relationships with recruiters.
Where Do Recruiters Fit in Job Search?
Let’s first look at how recruiters work. It’s important to note that you – the job seeker – are not the recruiter’s client. They work for the employer (vs. a career coach who does work for you and has your best interests at heart). Companies pay recruiters to fill their open positions with candidates who have the qualifications the employer requires and will be the right cultural fit. That means a recruiter will not “find you a job.” You must do that part by yourself. But, because they know the job market and are the conduit between you and the company, recruiters can be a valuable resource in your job search.
There are three primary types of recruiters (all paid by the employer, not the job seeker):
- Internal company recruiters who fill the candidate pipeline for their own employer.
- Agency or contingency recruiters who work for themselves and are contracted by an employer to fill specific roles.
- Temp/staffing agency recruiters who are paid a fee by their clients (employers) for a successful temporary or permanent placement.
Become a Recruiter Magnet
If you want to find recruiters, LinkedIn is the place to do it. Did you know that an estimated 95% of recruiters and most of the largest employers use LinkedIn to recruit passive candidates for employment?
You can reach out to recruiters directly, but most people have better luck attracting recruiters with a really strong LinkedIn profile, so let’s focus on that. More than 740 million people use the LinkedIn platform worldwide. That means there’s plenty of competition for a recruiter’s attention; here is how you can stand out above the crowd.
✓ Optimize your LinkedIn profile for search with the keywords that show your qualifications match recruiters’ roles. You have probably spent a lot of time fine-tuning your resume, so you can use that as a starting point for your profile.
(Pro Tip: to identify the right keywords, use LinkedIn’s Resume Builder tool on the Jobs tab to generate a bare bones resume from your current profile, which you can then compare to specific job titles with the Resume Insights Keyword Check feature.) Use these keywords appropriately throughout your Headline, About and Skills sections and bullets under each job.
✓ Use the Open to Work feature to notify recruiters, but I do not personally recommend putting the green frame around your headshot. Isn’t your expertise more important than the fact that you are in transition?
✓ Once your profile is in top shape, you’ll want to build a wide network and share valuable content that shows you are an expert in your field. Become an active participator in your LinkedIn community to increase your visibility.
✓ Build a wide and deep network. The more relevant contacts you have, the more likely you are to be a 2nd degree connection with a recruiter.
Finding the Right Recruiters
Using LinkedIn’s powerful search engine you can easily find the right recruiters for your industry. You can search by industry, job function, professional level and location. Review their profile and visit their company website to make sure they are a good fit. If you have a mutual connection, you can ask that person for a telephone or email introduction.
Connect with Recruiters on LinkedIn
Don’t be afraid to start a conversation with a recruiter. After all, LinkedIn is all about engaging with others. Use the same common courtesy you would for in-person networking introductions. Customize your invitation to connect with a nice message, thank them for their time and attach your resume. Be transparent about your intention and respectful of their time. Please don’t just ask them to find you a job. How would you feel is someone came up and demanded a favor from you as soon as you met? If there is interest on their part, they will respond. If not, don’t worry – just move on.
Just like in other aspects of your life, relationship building is important. Recruiters can be powerful allies and your connection can be mutually beneficial, if you do your part. You want a recruiter to know what you offer and to have you top-of-mind when the right job opportunity crosses their desk.
Here are a few more helpful tips:
✓ Send a personalized note to each person – not a canned message. (Yes, recruiters are people too.) Even if it is well written, a generic message is a big turn off.
✓ Be as specific as you can with the job titles you are seeking, and make sure both your resume and LinkedIn profile show you have the right qualifications.
✓ Be easy to work with – respond quickly and be up front with what you offer and your requirements. (For example, if you have no intention of relocating and the position requires it, let them know that right off the bat so they can move on quickly.)
✓ After you’ve had a conversation with a recruiter and determined that you are a match, send them a nice message every month or two to stay on their radar. Follow-up is generally expected and shows initiative, but don’t overdo it and become a pest.
Here’s a Bonus: Hashtags Recruiters use on LinkedIn to Share Job Postings (as of March 2021)
Best of luck to you in your search and happy connecting!
An inspirational career transition coach, Trish (Thomas) McGrath has been helping people build rewarding careers since 2009. As a trusted advisor, resume expert and job search strategist, she guides her clients through the job search process to make it less overwhelming and more successful. Contact Trish at (860) 658-6480 or firstname.lastname@example.org to see how she can help you gain the competitive EDGE and advance your career.