Hunting Headhunters: The Importance of Cultivating Relationships with Recruiters

Today’s job market is turbulent at best, making it difficult to know how best to navigate potentially conflicting goals of career growth and job security. During these times it can be tricky to weigh various job search factors such as company culture, environmental and social commitments, salary, and benefits.

Recruiters often can offer a bridge to knowledge and insight which is why cultivating a strong relationship with a trustworthy recruiter can have great impact on your job search success. Recruiters operate on behalf of employer partners to screen and direct talent to their organization. These partnerships give recruiters insight into not only the current job they are filling but into their customer’s environment. They are able to answer questions related to the values of the organization, their commitment to important fit-factors such as diversity and inclusion, and employee development programming. Recruiters can answer questions you may be unsure about asking to employers related to things like the size of the team, the amount of autonomy you might have in a certain job role, what they key success criteria are that a hiring manager is looking for, and the amount of time you are able to work remotely vs. in the office.

Recruiters also have information which can assist you in successfully preparing for interviews with their customers, gain feedback which can help you refine your approach during screening processes, and act as a go between in discussing offer criteria. They frequently can provide insight into the salary range an employer is prepared to consider, as well as their benefits such as medical, dental or eye insurance, life insurance, long-term and short-term disability insurance, and vacation.

Having an excellent relationship with a recruiter does not necessarily mean a guarantee of a job offer. Remember, recruiters are required to operate within the contractual agreements they have with their customers. However, even if a recruiter doesn’t have a position available now, if you make a good impression and build a relationship with the recruiter, they will keep you in mind for future opportunities. One of the benefits of this is that even if you find a position on your own in the short term, recruiters will continue to make you aware of opportunities. This allows you to passively continue to consider career advancement opportunities as they arise.

It is important to remember that recruiters are most successful when the candidates they place are successful. Not only does this solidify their relationship with their customer by providing talent which has a positive impact on their business, but many recruiters also view aligning a candidate with an employment opportunity which will positively impact their life as a perk of their job. Many people who work within the recruitment industry are motivated to help others. For this reason, it is very important to recruiters to ensure they understand their candidates’ motivation for looking for a job.

If seeking to build a strong relationship with your recruiter, communication is key. Communicating information about what you want in an employer helps the recruiter make the best match for you among their customers. It is critical they understand what you must have and what you are willing to be flexible on. The more flexible you are, the more opportunities they will receive which could align with your interests, but claiming to be flexible about something like salary or job location that you aren’t truly flexible with can lead to a job offer you won’t accept. This not only puts the recruiter in a sticky situation but may impact their ability to continue to represent you with their customers. Honest communication builds trust and helps to identify opportunities which will truly benefit you and their customers.

Contacting your recruiter on a periodic basis is also a critical success factor in cultivating a relationship. Checking in weekly during high touch periods where you are actively interviewing lets them know you are available and ready to act quickly, whereas periodic check-ins every few months during less active times ensures your records are kept up to date and your recruiter knows they can rely on you to be responsive if they have an opportunity with a limited timeframe to identify candidates.

If interested in beginning to cultivate a relationship with a Bender recruiter, complete an application for one of our open jobs or create a candidate profile so we have your information when a position becomes available which better matches your skills and interests on our career page.