5 Ways to Get a Recruiter’s Attention

31 May
5 Ways to Get a Recruiter’s Attention

If you’re like a lot of people right now, you’re likely looking for a job. Whether you’re like me and always looking to add new projects and gigs to your freelance portfolio, or searching for a full time position, you’ve likely noticed an increase in the number of placement agencies conducting searches.
From what I can tell, there seems to be a strong push in that direction. Which makes sense, given there are still more people searching for jobs than there are jobs available.

The good news is: There are jobs available. The bad news is, you’ve got to figure out how to get your application materials beyond this additional level of screening in order to get your shot in the hiring process. So, what are some best practices and strategies for actually getting your name in the hiring poll. Here are 5 Ways to Get a Recruiter’s Attention

1. Know what you want

Recruiter’s are busy people and in demand right now. They don’t have time to waste, so whether you’re at a job fair, networking event, on the phone, or sending an email, don’t beat around the bush regarding what you are looking for in a job, as well as what will make or break the position for you. Even if that position isn’t a great fit for you, it’s likely the recruiter will come across something that may be, and the more they know about your background, experience, and professional interests, the better.

2. Attention Grabbing Headlines

As you can imagine, staffing specialists are weeding through a large number of applicants while attempting to fill multiple positions (that’s why they are being pulled into the hiring process more now than ever). You’re goal is to get their attention in your email subject lines and professional headlines.

When developing those punchy headlines, don’t go crazy, but do consider the nature of the position. If you’re in a creative field (such as marketing, writing, graphic design) you have more at your disposal; however, even if you’re position isn’t necessarily in the creative realm, you still have space to include key words from the position positing in your attention getting headline and email subject lines too!

3. Help A Recruiter Out

Remember, recruiters are talent scouts and are always on the hunt for to add outstanding talent to their pool. So, if you have an opportunity to interact with a recruiter one-on-one and you’re not a perfect fit for the position, they may ask you to pass along the posting, or refer them to someone that is. Do It! 

Recruiters know that people in the same or related fields know one another professionally, and appreciate a little additional help in penetrating that circle. Also, this is a great show of good faith and professionalism.

Sure it’s disappointing that the position wasn’t right for you, but helping the recruiter is something that they will likely remember. Providing that additional help can also mean they now have a better understanding of what you’re searching for. Also, keep in mind this is now a working relationship, and if you can help them, they are more likely to help you. That’s a win-win!

4. Offer Your Availability

Although we don’t always know from the position posting that it’s a recruiter that is conducing the search, it’s good practice to offer your specific availability and request a meeting or phone conference. Be sure to include the fastest method of communication as well. Remember: you want to always include a “call to action.” It frequently works.

5. Stay in Touch (on their terms)

By virtue of their work, recruiters are “high touch” people. They are in constant contact with their clients to give them progress updates on their searches, and routinely touching base with candidates, to find the best one for their open positions. This means they are on the phone and email a lot.

Staying in touch with them — and recriporcating that high touch sensibility is a good way to not only get their attention, but keep it during the course of your job search. Be sure to ask the recruiter how they would prefer you reach them, (phone, email, message in a bottle –whatever). Once you’ve got the preferred communication method, use it.

Also, it’s not a bad idea to include your resume in the text of the email as well. They might remember your name, but not your background. So, don’t make them search their database to find your resume and see if they have a position you might fit into.

Although not necessarily part of keeping a recruiter’s attention, but just good business etiquette is to let the recruiter you’ve been in contact with know when you’ve secured a full time position. A short email will do the trick.

So, have you worked with a recruiter lately? What strategies did you use to secure their attention?
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Posted by on May 31, 2011 in business, communication


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4 responses to “5 Ways to Get a Recruiter’s Attention

  1. Tom Lillis IV

    June 3, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    What does one do when contacted by, to put it bluntly, an incompetent recruiter? Everyone should be hesitant about cutting off lines of inquiry to the job world. But, I’ve recently had a recruiter who didn’t respond to her client’s follow up questions in a timely manner nor did she respond to my inquiries even after we’d set up a pre-arranged system (much like your #5). I’ll spare you the gory details but this particular recruiter’s inability to tell me that the client had picked someone else for the job cost me short-term work elsewhere. Does one grin and bare it, give her the heave-ho or something in-between?

    • Erika Pryor

      June 5, 2011 at 6:14 am

      Wow! That sounds like a tough spot to be in and I can understand your hesitation with cutting off a viable entry point to the job marketing, but you’ve got to think of your reputation and it sounds like you already know what to do — Give her the ol’ heave ho. Each time this person neglects their client’s needs, they are also jeopardizing your reputation by association.

      In the process of getting this person out of your professional rolodex, don’t go passive and just ignore their emails. I would be up front and indicate that you have decided to work with someone else or continue working independently. If it were me — I would offer some constructive criticism and say, although I appreciate your help, I’m concerned about the lack of timely follow up and believe it might be a good idea for you and I to part ways because you have actually cost me professional opportunities.

      So, what’s your next steps Tom?

  2. Carolyn Maul

    May 31, 2011 at 2:29 am

    Erika, great tips, especially your points around communicating on the recruiters’ terms! I see a lot of young professionals hounding recruiters and other contacts because they are so eager to get a job. Often, very little thought is given to how aggressive and inconsiderate that can come across as…!

    • Erika Pryor

      May 31, 2011 at 3:48 am

      I am in complete agreement Carolyn. Of course you want to be in contact with a recruiter that you may be working with — but it’s easy to forget you are not their client. In doing research for this story and speaking with a few recruiters to generate these tips, what I found is they want to have pleasant and timely reminders, but not overwhelmed. They are frequently already dealing with being bombarded by their client because they wanted the position filled yesterday. Any other tips to add from your experience?


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