The Inside Track on Recruiters – Top 10 Tips

Feb 20 2008 in Uncategorized by Phil Rosenberg

Want a sure fire way to get recruiters to call you back? To be proactive? To work FOR you?

It’s so simple, and so few candidates do this. And the higher up the management chain the candidate is, the more effective they can be using this strategy. Interestingly, the higher up the management chain the candidate is, the LESS LIKELY they are to actually do this! It’s such an easy way to stand out, such an easy way to get priority and additional help from recruiters.

But you’ve got to adopt a different paradigm – Flip your old way of thinking 180 degrees.

Stop even thinking that a recruiter works for you…they don’t. They work for the client, and are paid only if they find an exact match in a competitive recruiter market. Retained recruiters are also paid to find exact matches. Even if you suggest that you’ll throw business to the recruiter when you land your management job, a recruiter is in the immediacy business, and operates just-in-time. So next year or next month provide little incentive.

Recruiters work with hundreds or thousands of candidates at the same time. Why aren’t you getting a call back to “check in”? Not the recruiter’s job, and there’s just no time. You’re asking them for help, remember?

So how can you change this? Adopt the mentality that YOU WORK FOR THE RECRUITERS!

OK, you don’t want to be a headhunter…so how are you going to work for recruiters? Here’s 10 tips:

  1. Work for the Recruiter – Tell the recruiters you work with that you will work for them…and mean it. Back it up by giving them information about available jobs and candidates.
  2. Be an exact match – Give FAST turnaround and customize your resume within hours to be an exact match for the job. The fastest matches get interviews.
  3. Provide Value – Every time you speak to a recruiter, have something to give them that they find valuable, even if they call you – A job lead, a candidate referral, a web resource, a networking event.
  4. Personalize – Not every recruiter goes to networking events, so provide value that’s important to THAT recruiter. Recruiters specialize, and most Technology recruiters can’t help your friend in Accounting. Ask the recruiter what information is valuable – what should you keep your eyes open for?
  5. Be responsive – Call the recruiter back quickly. Recruiters win interviews by responding quickly. If you respond quickly, the recruiter has a better chance of getting you an interview.
  6. Co-Opt – Make the recruiter feel like a friend. People naturally work harder for people they like.
  7. Respect the recruiter’s time – email is an efficient communication for the recruiter.
  8. Be a Fountain of Info – About your past employer, about current interviews, about jobs you’ve seen. Tell all – information is your best currency.
  9. Help in matching – If you see a job that a recruiter lists, IF YOU ARE A MATCH – send an email with your resume attached (revised to match the job & keywords), and let them know why you are a match.
  10. Provide introductions – Set up in person meetings with Hiring Managers and candidates. If you can’t do in person, use emails and/or LinkedIN.
  11. And as a bonus, #11

  12. Be Positive and friendly – Be nice, make their day, tell a funny joke. Recruiters don’t like putting bitter people in front of clients.

I can’t tell you the number of candidates who put themselves in conflict with recruiters by with holding information, even when directly asked. The job market is more an d more transparent each day, so telling a recruiter what companies you’ve interviewed with, what jobs you see, won’t increase competition. If that recruiter doesn’t pitch the company for the job order, someone else already is. So withholding doesn’t lessen your chances of getting THAT job, but it creates mistrust between the recruiter and you.

I challenge you to try this tactic for a month. After you’re HONESTLY tried these tips. if you find recruiters who don’t respond to this…fire them and work with someone else.

Executives exploring Career Change: For a free 30 minute resume consultation, or career advice for executives, email your resume confidentially to reCareered (, and we’ll schedule a time to talk.

Staff, Managers, Entrepreneurs, and career changers outside the US: Send your resume to to enroll in a free group teleseminar “Accelerate Your Job Search – tools you can use”.


Related Articles:
Guerrilla Job Search Tactics
What Can You Do When Nothing’s Working in Your Job Search?

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Author: Phil Rosenberg

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