Over and over again, I hear the frustration in the voices of job seekers as they complain that they never hear back from the recruiters they contacted. I’m not surprised they’re not getting calls, and neither would they, if they understood a recruiter’s job!
No matter how perfectly formatted and enticing your resume may be, it’s not going to generate recruiter calls unless they have a job which is a perfect fit. Even then, they may not call you! Calling and leaving voicemail isn’t going to elicit a call back, either. With dozens of vetted candidates to contact every day, there just isn’t enough time in a recruiter’s day to invest in “cold” contacts. Remember, the recruiter/search firm works for the employer, not the candidate.
A recruiter can receive 50+ unsolicited resumes each day, and more calls. There isn’t enough time in a work day to contact each candidate, even if all 50+ were worthy of attention. At best, your resume is scanned into an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), at worst, it’s ignored because it isn’t formatted correctly to be read by the ATS or your field isn’t compatible with the recruiter’s specialties.
In order to attract the attention of a recruiter, you need to meet all three of these crucial categories:
- The right field. To be worth contacting, you have to be searching for a job in the industry in which this recruiter specializes in placing candidates. You can search online for an executive search firm in your field, but the best way to find a great recruiter for your industry is to ask around at industry networking events.
- Pre-approval. Much like applying for credit, it’s important to be vetted before they even speak to you. Whether you meet the search criteria on LinkedIn for an open position, or you’re introduced or recommended by a network contact, a recruiter is just to busy to take time to talk to random applicants.
- Valuable. Recruiters are eager to talk to contacts and candidates who have something to offer, as well as a request for a job! Do you know of an open position at your current organization? Do you have industry news? Do you know someone who might be a better fit if you aren’t interested in the position? This is the kind of information that makes you a valuable contact.
Once you’ve found a couple of recommended recruiters who place candidates in your industry, you’ve been introduced by a mutual contact, and you’ve offered valuable information or the willingness to pass such information along, what can you do to stay on the recruiter’s radar? Take the initiative. One recruiter I know requires 5 efforts to contact him before he’ll return the call or email. Less than that, and you’re not ambitious enough. That’s a bit unusual, but not by much.
NEVER refuse a phone call or a chance to meet with a good recruiter. This connection can be a career-changing lifeline for you over the years, so treat the recruiter like the valuable ally they are! These are terribly busy professionals offering you some of their precious time. Take every advantage, and try never to burn the bridges you’ve worked so hard to build.
Don’t wait until you’re in need. Stay in touch even when you’re happy at work. Send a quick email or a brief voicemail that lets them know you’re always looking for your next placement even though you’re happy enough where you are…then offer to connect them with a colleague you know is in a job search or some other valuable tidbit. Make sure they have your current phone and email, then give it time. Keep your LinkedIn profile and resume fresh and ready, make sure both emphasize your executive MBA, and place the recruiter on your calendar for regular check-ins.