Working With Recruiters and Headhunters

Working With Recruiters and Headhunters


By Rebecca Martin


Looking for work is a challenging task.  Between finding jobs you are interested in and securing that oh-so-important first interview, job-seekers often misinterpret a recruiter’s role in the search process and fail to take advantage of the services recruiters offer.


Recruiters play an essential role in helping job seekers land rewarding jobs. Understanding the role of recruiters in the hiring process and knowing how best to work with them can make job seekers more successful.


Here are three ways you might connect with a recruiter:

1) A recruiter may be your first employer interaction, after submitting interest in a job.

2) A recruiter may contact you directly after finding your information on LinkedIn, a job board, or trade association website.

3) You can contact a recruiter directly.  Research recruiters who specialize in your industry and plan to work with one or two.  


Next, here are seven tips to build positive recruiter relationships and help secure your next job:


  1. Treat them like they are the hiring manager and/or your next employer. Recruiters have a huge influence on the hiring process. Build and maintain a relationship like you would with any other networking professional.


  1. Understand that the way you treat a recruiter and headhunter is viewed as a direct reflection of how you will be as an employee. How you handle the interview process can be as important if not more important than how you answer questions in the actual interview. Playing games and avoiding them in the middle of the process and going behind their backs is a huge mistake. They work very closely with human resources and hiring managers.


  1. Managers are not hiring professionals. They depend on recruiters and headhunters to conduct interview screening and other parts of the hiring process. How you treat them during the interview process is important. Treating them badly is communicated to the hiring manager and affects the hiring decision.


  1. Remember the interview starts the minute you pick up the phone. Treat everybody throughout the process the same.


  1. Be courteous, sincere, and honest every step of the way. Send a thank you email or note within 24 hours after meeting with the recruiter, headhunter, and hiring manager.


  1. Look at the recruiter and headhunter as your equal. They are just as lucky to talk to you as you are to them.


  1. Make it easy for the recruiter and headhunter to get to know you and work with you. Send them your resume instead of telling a recruiter and headhunter to download it at your website.


You need the recruiter and headhunter’s endorsement. They are just like hiring managers. Treating them with the courtesy only makes good sense. Stay in touch once a month, including your current contact information. They will stay in touch for years.


Adapted from 83 Tips for Working with Corporate and External Recruiters written by Rebecca Martin and published by Dear Jane.  Rebecca Martin is a career coach and job search advisor.  She blogs at Dear Jane Dialogues.



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