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How to Build a Relationship with a Recruiter 

Looking for a job? Set meetings with recruiters in your industry, and keep them. 

Wondering how to build a relationship with a recruiter? After almost 20 years in human resources and recruiting, there’s one thing that continues to baffle me about individuals seeking a new job.

If you reach out to a recruiter blindly and ask them to help you saying, “Hey, I’m looking for another job. Can you please help?” A reputable recruiter responding to you in a timely manner may say, “Hey, I’m not working on anything at this exact moment that’s a fit,” (which is more likely than not) “but I’d still love to chat with you. Let’s schedule a time.” This should be seen as an open door and a great starting point to build a relationship. Candidates should embrace these opportunities not walk away from them.

What recruiters know, is that strong, great candidates will reply and say, “Oh, thank you. I appreciate your time.” These quality job seekers will schedule a time and have a nice conversation, build a relationship with the headhunter. These job seekers will be remembered when a position the recruiter is tapped to fill does pop up and for which that candidate is a perfect fit.  Recruiters file away and remember these strong conversations. They remember how much they enjoyed learning about a candidate’s background and future aspirations.

How does a recruiter get paid?

Headhunters also remember those candidates that completely ignore you. These job seekers who figure, “I guess, well, they don’t have anything for me at this exact moment, so I’m not going to waste my time” are not even considering the fact that a recruiter’s time, whether they’re contingent or retained, is extremely valuable because recruiters get paid by our client companies.

Please remember that a reputable headhunter or recruiter will never charge the job seeker. 

How do recruiters find candidates for open jobs?

The candidates that we speak to, we’re keeping in mind for opportunities that we don’t have yet, but the number of opportunities that we could have for them in the next month, the next year, the next decade, could be numerous.

By not taking that initial invite for an introduction call, you’re basically telling that recruiter, “You’re of no use to me.” This is not the impression you want to leave.

Now some recruiters may still say, “Hey, no worries.” But for those of us that are very relationship driven and want to ensure that there’s long-term fit for both the employee and the employer, it’s a really tough thing to rationalize that this person didn’t want to give 20, maybe 30 minutes of their time so that you can keep them in mind and help them grow their career.

Be on time and show up.

Lastly, there’s those individuals that schedule time and then don’t show up. By scheduling a time and not showing up, it’s even worse. You’re basically telling that recruiter you have zero value for their time, and you’re also showing them what you’re very likely to do to an employer if that recruiter schedules you an interview.

So I really implore you to treat recruiters with respect. If you really want job opportunities, it’s a small industry, whether it’s wine and spirits, beverage or cannabis, a lot of us know each other. So please be careful. Please be considerate and just keep these things in mind like that so we can help you.

Connect with Liz Gehl on LinkedIn

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Need tips on interviewing for a job? Check out our recent article 5 Things Not to Say in an Interview.