This time of year, we take care to think about all the folks who have helped us all year long -- our hair stylists, day care providers, landscapers, baby sitters.
We also reach out to reconnect and to remember those we want to stay in touch with -- both personal and professional connections.
We give gifts, send cards, and share holiday letters.
Barriers are down, and the mood is less formal.
My question to you at this time: Have you thought about your relationships with agency recruiters? (Agency/external recruiters are those who work with many different employers.)
Most people only contact recruiters when they need a job. Many people call recruiters expecting help when they have never contacted the recruiter before and they 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 their clients' 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. A strong network is an important asset for a recruiter.
Although an agency recruiter might not have a job for you today, an existing client may open a new job tomorrow or a new client may appear.
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 even if it hasn't yet resulted in a new job for you.
If you worked with a recruiter in the past, 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:
Your goal is to remind the recruiter of your existence, so they remember you the next time one of their clients opens a new job that could be a good fit for you.
Of course, all these ideas (above) 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.
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 a hiring manager or recruiter, 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 does not 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.
Check out our $0.99 Kindle book, New Year, New Job! Or grab the FREE PDF version. This ebook contains 100+ tips from Job-Hunt's Experts, networking and job search tips that will help you all year around, and you don't need a Kindle to read it.
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. Learn more about him through his company site alistsolutions.com. Follow Jeff on LinkedIn and on Twitter (@JLipschultz).