How to Successfully Work with External Recruiters to Advance Your Job Search?

Creating professional relationships with external recruiters can significantly advance your job search and career. Knowing proper etiquette when dealing with recruiters (those who are external and work for search firms) will create mutual respect and lead to a more rewarding professional relationship.

Before we begin our discussion on candidate etiquette when working with recruiters, the first thing you should know is an optimized LinkedIn profile is pivotal to your success.

In today’s job market (and business world), an optimized LinkedIn profile is the platform recruiters use to get their first look at you as a potential candidate. (If you want information on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile for maximum impact, check out the book Motivated Resumes and LinkedIn Profiles.)

Let’s start our discussion about etiquette with things you want to do that will impress a recruiter. Here are your “To Do’s.”

1. Profile your desired job
When you speak with a recruiter, know the type of position you are looking for, the industry, the type of company (small to publically held), and so on. Be reasonably specific without being too narrow. This will help the recruiter in targeting positions that will potentially appeal to you.

What you want to avoid is “I’m open to anything,” or relying on the recruiter to guess what would appeal to you professionally.

2. Research recruiters
Do Internet and LinkedIn research and identify recruiters that specialize in your industry of interest, positions, and potentially their client types. Only contact those recruiters that fit your profile (or close).

Contacting recruiters that cannot help you is a waste of your time. Blanket email campaigns to recruiter lists are a waste of effort.

3. Be responsive
When contacted by a recruiter, respond timely. When a recruiter is working on filling an opening, he or she will want to speak to you as soon as reasonably possible. Even if the actual conversation cannot take place for a few days later, your responsiveness is noticed by the recruiter and creates a positive impression.

When you do speak with the recruiter, do not treat the conversation as a “transaction.” You don’t want to be treated like that and neither do recruiters.

However, if you get the feeling the recruiter is treating the engagement as a transaction (caring more about the placement fee than a good career move for you), be sensitive to this fact.

Conduct your interaction with the recruiter with this in mind if you pursue the opportunity and for the future conversations.

4. Develop a relationship with the “good” recruiters
In the course of your career, you will undoubtedly be contacted by several recruiters. Some may come-and-go while others will establish themselves as true recruiting professionals specializing in your industry (position type, etc.).

Once identified, the good recruiters are those you want to align yourself, be connected on LinkedIn, and develop a line of communication. Recruiters can provide valuable information on a host of industry trends and career topics that can help direct your career path beyond actually placing you in a position.

5. Make relevant referrals
Refer talented colleagues to recruiters. The key here is to make your referrals relevant. Only refer colleagues that match the specialty of the recruiter.

Referring people that are not within a recruiter’s specialty is annoying to the recruiter and could result in the recruiter not responding to your referral’s outreach. This is simply the recruiter protecting his or her time and could reflect poorly on you when your referral tells you the recruiter did not respond.

If you truly want to ingratiate yourself to a recruiter, refer a potential client-company. You will be forever remembered by the recruiter if you refer the recruiter to a potential new client (and if that referral results in a placement).

6. A Toss Up: Sending an unsolicited resume
Most experienced recruiters cringe when they receive unsolicited resumes. The vast majority of those resumes are from candidates the recruiter can’t help. It’s a waste of time for everyone.

However, if you identify a recruiter that specializes closely with your background, sending an unsolicited resume could get you some traction with the recruiter. The key is the match must be near perfect. For example, if you are an underwriter with experience in the trucking industry and you find a recruiter that specializes in placing underwriters focused on the trucking industry, then sending an unsolicited resume might get the recruiter’s attention.

Let’s now shift our discussion about etiquette to the “Don’ts” list.

This is really where etiquette comes into play. Violating these etiquette rules will reveal to the recruiter your professional naiveté, an unprofessional attitude towards the recruiter, or disrespect towards the recruiter and their profession.

This could result in a limited conversation or “black balling” you from future contact.

1. Never ask who the client-company is
When contacted by a recruiter, it is bad form and unprofessional to ask the recruiter “who is the company?” This is especially true if you do not have a previously established relationship with the recruiter. Moreover, recruiters resist putting the name of their client in writing (in an email or InMail).

Most recruiters will reveal the client’s name in conversation after it is established that you are qualified and sincerely interested in the opportunity.

2. Never ask about compensation
Asking about compensation in response to an initial communication from a recruiter is poor etiquette. It reveals, possibly inaccurately, that your career is only about the money.

Compensation is important but there is a “right time” for it to be discussed. Most all recruiters will discuss compensation parameters in an initial conversation. They are looking for the right match and that includes compensation.

If you want to be viewed as a true professional, volunteer your general salary and earnings with the recruiter during the compensation conversation. This fosters a professional relationship of trust and mutual respect.

Pay Equity Laws
There are a growing number of jurisdictions that prohibit employers and recruiters from asking about your compensation. If you live in one of these jurisdictions, you are granted the right not to disclose your compensation. All of these pay equity laws allow you to volunteer your compensation, if you choose.

If you live in a jurisdiction that has a pay equity law, it is up to you whether you want to disclose your compensation to a recruiter. Most recruiters will still provide you with the general compensation range for the position they are looking to fill, even if you choose not to disclose your compensation.

3. Do not lie
Sounds simple but sadly some candidates do not tell or stretch the truth. Recruiters talk with a lot of people. This includes your colleagues, upper management, competitors, vendors, and so on. It is remarkable what recruiters learn that will reveal a lie or a stretch of the truth.

When your misrepresentation is discovered by the recruiter, your candidacy is dramatically diminished. If the misrepresentation is severe, the recruiter may discontinue the engagement and not contact you in the future.

4. Avoid asking for a meeting or a call
Avoid asking for a meeting or a call from a recruiter (especially a recruiter you do not know) to discuss how the recruiter can help you. It’s permissible to offer your availability if the recruiter has an opening or would like to discuss your candidacy in more detail.

However, asking that the recruiter call you can be viewed as poor etiquette. Recruiters do not work for candidates. They work on behalf of their client-companies.

5. Do not decline or reject InMail messages
If you are not interested in a position, either reply with a professional “not interested” or do not respond. Recruiters understand and are not offended if you remain silent or simply indicate that you are not interested. Avoid declining or rejecting an InMail message from a recruiter.

When you do, it creates a record in LinkedIn that the recruiter can see. The recruiter may choose to not contact you for future opportunities. Someday when your circumstances change (and circumstances will always change), you may be thankful that a recruiter reaches out to you.

Regardless of how secure you are in your current role, it only makes good career-sense to have a flow of opportunities coming to you regardless of whether you pursue them.

6. Never insult a recruiter
Never make a derogatory remark, either directly or in a passive-aggressive manner to a recruiter. This could be done in conversation or in writing. Doing so is incredibly unprofessional and will result in the recruiter not contacting you in the future.

In the event that a recruiter “has done you wrong” and the behavior is significant and can be traced directly to the recruiter and you need to distance yourself from the recruiter, take the highroad. Disconnect on LinkedIn, and professionally inform the recruiter that there are other candidates that would be better aligned to working with him or her.

Wish the recruiter well in future endeavors. Then, take solace that unprofessional recruiters seldom survive very long when they conduct themselves inappropriately.

By following proper recruiter etiquette, you will enhance your relationships with recruiters, advance your job search, and potentially shape the future directions of your career.

This article is also featured on CareerMetis

Now Available! The Motivated Job Search Workbook

The Motivated Job Search Workbook contains thought provoking questions and exercises that correlate directly with Brian Howard’s job search books, The Motivated Job Search and Over 50 and Motivated!

Conducting a job search can be a daunting task, especially if that job search was put upon you unexpectedly. Thoughts and questions like where to start, what to do, priorities, how to deal with feelings, where to go for information among so many others can quickly overwhelm you. This workbook, used with The Motivated Job Search or Over 50 and Motivated will get you through it! It will lead you to your next job!

With plenty of writing space, The Motivated Job Search Workbook, takes you through the step-by-step process of a job search. The questions and exercises are simple but will make you think about yourself, your professional value to employers, your successes, your brand, and all of the practical action items you must do to successfully execute a job search. Written as a comprehensive workbook for the entire job search process, it will keep you organized, keep you thinking, and keep you motivated!

The workbook can be purchased through the publisher, WriteLife Publishing or on Amazon.

Now in stock on Amazon! Over 50 and Motivated! and, The Motivated Job Search Workbook

Over 50 and Motivated! – the newest book release by Brian Howard is now available on Amazon. Over 50 and Motivated! is a job search book written for the special circumstances facing job seekers over the age of 50.

 

Also available is The Motivated Job Search Workbook which contains thought provoking questions and exercises that correlate to your job search. The workbook is designed to keep you thinking, keep you organized and keep you motivated!

Podcast: Brian Howard Talks about the Advantages and Strategies of Networking During a Job Search

In this podcast, Brian Howard discusses the many advantages and strategies of proactively networking for a job. Listen while Brian describes the networking concepts of a “cabinet” and “sales company.”

To listen to the podcast interview, click this link: Motivated Networking with Brian Howard

About: Brian Howard, J.D. is a Certified Career Management Coach (CCMC), a Certified Job Search Strategist (CJSS), a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), and actively practicing executive recruiter. He has helped thousands of job seekers over his 24 year recruiting career. It is from this experience and knowledge that he wrote The Motivated Series of Job Search Books. These include The Motivated Job Search, The Motivated Networker, Over 50 and Motivated (Release date April 2017), The Motivated Job Search Workbook (Release date April, 2017) and Motivated Resumes and LinkedIn Profiles (Release date November 2017). These books can be purchased on Amazon.

Brian Howard Talks About the Advantages of a Self Motivated Job Search

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In this short recording, Brian Howard discusses the advantages and disadvantages of a proactive versus a passive job search strategy. Listen while Brian lays out the statistics and the many advantages of a proactive…self motivated job search strategy.

About: Brian Howard, J.D. is a Certified Career Management Coach (CCMC), a Certified Job Search Strategist (CJSS), a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), and an actively practicing executive recruiter. He has helped thousands of job seekers over his 24 year recruiting career. It is from this experience and knowledge that he wrote The Motivated Series of Job Search Books. These books include The Motivated Job Search, The Motivated Networker, and Over 50 and Motivated (Release date March, 2017). The books can be purchased on Amazon.

Just Released! The Motivated Networker

I am pleased to announce the release of my second job search book, The Motivated Networker!

The book is a practical no-nonsense guide on how to successfully network for a job. When 60% to 80% of all jobs are filled through some form of networking, mastering the skill of networking is imperative to success in landing a new job in the shortest time possible!

So, what makes The Motivated Networker unique? The Motivated Networker is a tightly written book squarely on the topic of networking to find a job. It tells you not just what to do, but actually how to do it!

The book covers topics such as how to embrace a networking mentality, overcoming fears, how to create a networking “cabinet,” how to start and exit conversations, the ICE Method of networking, networking with recruiters, online social media strategies along with a myriad of useful networking tools not otherwise written about in other books.

You can check out the book on the publisher’s website, WriteLife Publishing or on Amazon.

Now Available! The Motivated Job Search book

I am pleased to announce the release of The Motivated Job Search book!

I wrote The Motivated Job Search for career-minded professionals who want simple and direct answers on how to conduct a job search.

Most job seekers do not know how to effectively conduct a job search in today’s job market, which is completely understandable. The skills to find a job are not exactly top-of-mind. The Motivated Job Search takes you through a step-by-step job search process and teaches you how to stand out and get the job you want!

The Motivated Job Search covers meaningful topics like how to correctly prepare for a job search, profiling your next job, understanding the employer’s mind, branding, elevator speech, success stories, LinkedIn, networking, social media, and how to penetrate the hidden job market, along with a myriad of useful job search tools not otherwise written about in other job search books. The book promotes a self-motivated job search approach where job seekers proactively engage the job market and employers in meaningful ways that result in job offers!

Check out the book on Amazon, or purchase it directly (most cost effective way) from the publisher, WriteLife Publishing (an imprint of BQB Publishing Company).

 

About the Author: Brian Howard is a Certified Career Management Coach (CCMC), a Certified Job Search Strategist (CJSS), a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), and an actively practicing executive recruiter. He has helped thousands of job seekers over the course of his career. With over 23 years of real world recruiting experience, he has received various accolades and international acclaim for his recruiting ability, and is a member of an international recruiting organization’s “Hall of Fame.” It is from this experience and knowledge that he wrote The Motivated Job Search.

Elevator Speech in a Job Search – Prepare Variations

This is the next installment of a multi-part posting discussing the development and use of an elevator speech as used in a job search.

Prepare a few variations.

You might want to say things differently to a colleague than you would to a friend at a social gathering. Sometimes you’ll just have fifteen seconds for your speech, and in other situations you might have a full minute.

Focus on mastering a few key talking points, and then work up ways to customize your speech for particular situations. Much of this will happen naturally as you speak with people (as long as you remember your talking points).

Use the word count feature on your computer to create shorter and longer versions. A good rule of thumb is that you can comfortably say about 150 words in sixty seconds.

Remember, the purpose of an elevator speech is to quickly inform the listener of your value proposition as a professional and begin a conversation. Putting these tips into action is the real trick. Check out these websites that contain scores of elevator speeches (not all are designed for job seekers) for a variety of industries: www.improvandy.com and www.yourelevatorpitch.net.

Example

Employee Benefits Account Management Professional

“I am an employee benefits account management professional that helps businesses control their healthcare and insurance costs. My expertise is in medical self-funding and population health management. I have a documented track record of retaining existing clients; in fact, over the last five years I have a 96% retention rate with my client base. I want to make a career move to an organization looking to expand its market share and retain business in the self-funded arena.”

Please comment.

For (almost) daily job search thoughts, follow me on Twitter: @bhowardauthor

© 2016 Brian E. Howard. All rights reserved. No part of the content of this response or post may be used or reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, digital, photocopying, or recording, without the expressed written permission from the author.

Brian Howard’s Podcast Interview on Career Cloud Radio Discussing The Motivated Job Search

“The most effective and efficient job search strategy is a self-motivated approach. This is a proactive approach where the job seeker actively engages the job market to discover opportunities where their skills and competencies bring the greatest value to an employer.”

-Brian Howard

In this podcast interview (link), Chris Russell of Career Cloud Radio asks Brian about the following topics and more.

  • What does the job market look like from where you sit…
  • How can candidates get off to a successful start in their job search?
  • How much does your attitude figure in?
  • Your Career . . . Your Responsibility
  • Understanding the Employer’s Mindset
  • What’s an Exit Statement…and how to use it.
  • Resume tips
  • What Recruiters Can and Cannot Do for You
  • How to find a good recruiter…what to look for?
  • General rules around proactively marketing yourself in a job search
  • Unique tactics…what’s a brag book?

© 2016 Brian E. Howard. All rights reserved. No part of the content of this response or post may be used or reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, digital, photocopying, or recording, without the expressed written permission from the author.

Elevator Speech in a Job Search – Know Your Target Audience

This is the next installment of a multi-part posting discussing the development and use of an elevator speech as used in a job search.

Know your target audience.

This single factor will give your speech the most impact. For example, if you’re targeting a CEO position and you will be speaking to members of the board of directors, you want your elevator speech to include statements of vision, direction, strategy, profitability, and shareholder value (especially for publicly traded companies).

If your target position is in operations and the hiring executive is the COO, you want your elevator speech to include concepts such as efficiency and operational savings.

Finally, if your target position is in sales and the hiring executive will be the director or vice president of sales, you want your elevator speech to contain information about new business sales and sales goal attainment.

We want to hear from you!  Please comment, share and sign up for more!

For (almost) daily job search thoughts, follow me on Twitter: @bhowardauthor

© 2016 Brian E. Howard. All rights reserved. No part of the content of this response or post may be used or reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, digital, photocopying, or recording, without the expressed written permission from the author.