Most people only contact recruiters when they need a job. And many call recruiters expecting help when they’ve never contacted them before and don’t know each other.
These job seekers forget, or don’t know, the basics about recruiters: Recruiters work for clients (employers), not job seekers, meaning they look for qualified candidates to fill jobs. Recruiters do not typically look for jobs for job seekers although the best recruiters are always networking with potential candidates to strengthen their own networks.
Building Relationships During the Holidays
Although a recruiter might not have a job for you today, they might tomorrow. Therefore, you need to sustain a strong relationship with a few recruiters throughout your career.
The holiday season is a perfect time of year to rekindle or maintain that relationship. There are many things you can do to make sure the recruiter remembers you over the hundreds he or she talks to throughout the year. Any of the following might work:
- Send a holiday card and include a short update on your career/job situation.
- Send a short email letting them know you are looking forward to working with them in the New Year on any opportunities in your area of interest. Attach your resume, of course.
- Invite them to a holiday party you are hosting and let them know there will be many new contacts for them to meet.
- Send a small gift thanking them for considering you for future opportunities (or past interviews they got for you). Cookies, movie tickets, gift certificates are all good.
- Let them know of meetings or parties that you are attending as an opportunity to catch up.
- Invite them to coffee. Most recruiters love coffee, and this time of year can be a good time to catch them on the way into the office.
- Call them. You’ll likely get voicemail, but be prepared to say how the year has flown by and you can’t believe you haven’t talked all year—time to catch up! Call me back.
Don't Know Any Recruiters?
Of course, all these ideas assume you have some kind of relationship already with the recruiter. If you don’t, you need to network to one through your contacts.
This is a good time of year to ask your friends to introduce you to their favorite recruiter (who works in your industry). If they have a good relationship, they can use the same ideas above and mention they have a colleague who’d be someone good for them to know.
Working at Parties
This time of year, there are lots of holiday gatherings. Make it your goal to meet all the people at the party. Any one of them could be hiring managers, corporate recruiters, or external recruiters. If you do meet one, be sure to keep the conversation focused on non-work related things first. Make a connection through commonalities like hobbies, kids, books, or hometown.
Towards the end of the conversation, you can mention that you are curious about opportunities they may be aware of in your field. Ask if you can drop them a note during the week to continue the conversation during business hours.
Your job search doesn’t need to take a break during the holidays. Recruiters are always working and are likely to be in the holiday spirit. They might take some time to assist those who help them in return.
© Copyright, 2010, Jeff Lipschultz. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.
Job-Hunt's Working with Recruiters Expert Jeff Lipschultz is a 20+ year veteran in management, hiring, and recruiting of all types of business and technical professionals. He has worked in industries ranging from telecom to transportation to dotcom. Jeff is a founding partner of A-List Solutions, a Dallas-based recruiting and employment consulting company. He is a unique recruiter, a Six Sigma Blackbelt, and a founding member of the Dallas chapter of the Peter Drucker Society. Learn more about him through his company site AListSolutions.com and his personal blog. And follow Jeff on Twitter.com/JLipschultz.