A common question I get is, “How do I talk to recruiters?” Treat the call like any conversation. Be genuine and interested. The primary goal of the conversation is to gain a partner in the search for your next position.

If you approach each conversation with a recruiter as an opportunity to create a partnership, build a relationship and make a genuine connection, you will see more job opportunities sent your direction.

Here are four tried and true ways to connect with recruiters:

  • Do your homework. Find out what you can about the recruiter and his/her organization. This will help you create a connecting point, or something you have in common. If that happens to be a mutual connection, be sure you find out the nature of their relationship before you name drop. You won’t do yourself any favors if you mention someone they don’t know or someone they don’t like.
  • Have a great value statement. Get their attention with your positive attitude and make them want to call you back. Before calling the recruiter go through your own resume/CV. What does a recruiter want to know about you and the organizations you’ve served? What makes you different from other candidates? The more specific that you can be by showing impact through measurable outcomes, the more weight it carries and the more memorable you become.
  • Always have some good open-ended questions ready. Seek their feedback and draw upon their experience within the industry. Ask them what they look for when identifying a strong candidate and deciding to move them forward. Let them know you are always looking for a way to present information to recruiters and hiring managers in the best, most efficient way possible and in the format they desire.
  • Determine your next steps. You may not get into a search, gain connections or helpful information from the recruiter during the call, but don’t let that stop you from creating your own follow-up plan. Mention to him/her that you will be checking in with them periodically and encourage them to do the same should an opportunity come across their desk that might be of interest. Cultivate and grow that sense of partnership between the two of you and under no circumstances do you want to be perceived as going around them to get to an opportunity they are representing.

It’s important to remember when working with recruiters that you are not their only prospect and while they have your information in their file, it is necessary for you to make the effort to reach out to them on a regular basis in order to stay in the top of their mind. There is no room for ego here, instead try to think of it as cultivating a genuine relationship and partnership so that they can effectively help you find the next job opportunity.

Author: Jim Wiederhold

Jim believes his 39 years of experience--particularly his more than 26 years in healthcare--has prepared him well for what he does. His wealth of experience spans key areas, including finance, operations, management, leadership, sales and sales management, corporate, contingency, contractual and retained recruiting, outplacement and transition work and executive coaching.