4 Rules for Networking with Recruiters & Headhunters

4 Rules for Networking with Recruiters & Headhunters

Remember, recruiters don’t represent you. They represent the company they are trying to fill the position for, so that’s who their alliance and allegiance is with.

Often times, one of the biggest detractors from success for people looking to find their next job is the way they interact with recruiters and headhunters.

This is an area most job seekers struggle in significantly.

Most job seekers believe all they need to do is create a resume, submit that resume to recruiters and headhunters, and everything will fall into place.

NOTHING could be further from the truth!

However, even once job seekers are able to get in front of recruiters, there are a lot of missteps with how you communicate with them – simply because of a lack of understanding.

So before I get into the 4 mistakes people make, let’s cover the framework of why this is so important.

Recruiters and headhunters get paid a placement fee (typically between 20-30%) if the company selects the recruiters candidate.  However, they don’t care if it is you or another candidate.  They get paid either way.

#1: Don’t be overly friendly.
Sure, recruiters are usually warm, friendly and helpful. After all, it’s their job to put you at ease and guide you through the hiring process. But they’re professional colleagues, and it’s crucial that you never forget it.
Think of the recruiter as a respected coworker and treat them accordingly. Be friendly but not overly casual or familiar. It’s wise to keep personal conversations, jokes and physical contact to a minimum.
After a tough interview with a hiring manager, you may be relieved to see a recruiter’s smiling face. However, don’t be tempted to let your guard down; you’re still “on,” even if the interview has ended. A useful rule of thumb: don’t say or do anything in front of a recruiter that you wouldn’t say or do in front of your boss.
#2: Don’t expect career coaching.
The recruiter’s goal is not to help you get a job: it’s to help you navigate the hiring process at one specific company. Recruiters aren’t career coaches, so it’s not appropriate to ask them to help you craft your cover letter, edit your résumé or plan your career path.
You can ask questions about the company or industry in general, but try to relate your questions to the job you’re being considered for. And save your best, most thoughtful questions for the hiring manager or decision maker—that’s who you need to impress.
#3: Don’t ask for insider information.
There’s only one job candidate you really need to worry about: you. Though it may be hard to resist, don’t ask about who you’re up against for a job. Recruiters generally won’t share information about other candidates. And asking for specific details about the competition makes you look insecure in your own skills.
However, questions about the hiring process or the position itself are fair game. Here are a few questions you can feel comfortable asking:
·      Are you still interviewing candidates?
·      How large is the current pool of candidates?
·      How would you describe the ideal candidate for the job?
·      Is there anything I can do to make myself a stronger candidate?
Bottom line, the best way to get an edge on the competition is to make yourself a more competitive candidate.
#4: Don’t request special treatment.
Although you may wish you were, you’re probably not the only candidate for the job. And while recruiters are often happy to help, their aim is not to be your advocate to the decision maker. Their aim is to fill a position. Therefore, never ask a recruiter to put in a good word for you with the decision maker. If they think you’re a strong candidate, they’ll probably sing your praises anyway.

And don’t ask them to relay a message to the decision maker for you. Instead of saying, “Tell So-and-So it was very nice to meet him,” send a thank you note to Mr./Ms. So-and-So yourself. Taking the initiative and speaking for yourself shows the decision maker that you’re capable, confident and conscientious.


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