When looking for a job, we tend to invest time in search methods that we think will have an immediate impact. After all, if you are out of a job, you might feel anxious to get back to work. And if you’re looking for a change, it’s probably for good reason. According to a Glassdoor site survey, Glassdoor users report using an average of 7.6 job sites during their job search. That’s a lot of time spent online.
But, the power is typically in the hands of recruiters. They’re the gatekeepers who are tasked with culling through candidates and deciding who gets to sit down with the hiring manager. So, to better your chances of landing an interview, your efforts might be better spent building relationships with recruiters rather than surfing the web.
Below are some ways you can build strong relationships with recruiters and talent acquisition specialists.
Optimize Online Profiles
Before you even talk to a recruiter, you’re making an impression. Recruitment professionals are trained to gather as much information about candidates prior to screening or interviewing them so they spend their time wisely and only talk to qualified candidates. So, if you optimize your online persona – that means personal and professional social media profiles and maybe even build a digital resume or portfolio – you’ll increase your chances of getting noticed. These platforms provide a good foundation of information for recruiters, so they are certain you have the right skills and experience to fill their role.
When engaging with recruiters, you may get excited thinking about the fact that they have access to a bunch of other open positions. But they’re busy and only want to entertain qualified candidates for their requisitions. So, don’t consider every role they mention to you. Be honest about what you’re looking for in a new role, and it will save you both time. If you have a salary requirement, tell them. If you’re looking for a certain company culture, let them know your preference. And don’t stretch the truth when it comes to your skills. Recruiters will find out if your abilities fall short, and you don’t want to lose their trust when it comes to future opportunities.
Inquire About Other Opportunities
While you don’t want to hear about every other requisition the recruiter is working on, consider other roles that would be a good fit. Recruiters often specialize in a level of roles (like entry-level or executive), certain industries (like banking or construction) or a specific set of skills (like web development or financial analysis). So, they may have similar jobs to fill for other departments or companies. Even if the recruiter you’ve been in contact with doesn’t have other appropriate open roles, they are well-connected professionals who may be able to put you in contact with their colleagues. If they’re able to make some connections for you, be sure you are upfront with your new contact about what you are seeking and always mention who referred you.
Ask Informed Questions
There are two types of questions you should ask recruiters you’re interacting with: about the roles they send and how to improve your job search methods and materials. First, to show recruitment professionals you’re interested and engaged, ask questions about the open positions they have. You’ll impress them by inquiring about the company culture, team dynamics and future opportunity for advancement. Second, especially if you’re not moving forward in the hiring process, ask the recruiter what you can do to give your job search a boost. These are professionals who recruit for a living, so they should be able to give you some tips. They may know of a niche online job board for your industry, tell you what keywords you should use in your LinkedIn profile or explain how you can format your resume to make it easier to read.
According to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the average number of requisitions per recruiter is 40. That means recruiters could be talking to hundreds of candidates at one time. You need to be proactive about checking in and reminding them of your interest. In addition to following up regarding the positions to which you’ve applied, periodically check in with them to see if they have any other opportunities that may interest you. It won’t hurt to ask. Because recruiters have a whole new slew of candidates apply every time an open position comes up, they may not think to reach out to you. If the timing is right, you may make your way back on their short list.
While you should vary your efforts to get the best results from your job search, building and maintaining relationships with recruiters may prove most fruitful. They are your way in to sitting down with hiring managers – and landing your next dream job.