How Often Should I Check In With A Recruiter? Job search question of the week

Jan 27 2011 in Featured, reCareered Blog, Recruiters by Phil Rosenberg

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During the Q & A part of my Resume Revolution Webinar, a participant asked me how often they should check in with a recruiter

It can be tough for candidates just after an interview. They often don’t get quick feedback from recruiters or employers, leaving them to wonder if they are still being considered for a role or if they should move on. Often candidates get no feedback at all, leaving them confused if they did well or poorly, with little knowledge of what to improve.

Candidate K.H. asked:

Once you connect with a recruiter how many times a week should you check in? Especially when you have interviewed for a role?

How many times in a week?

Think of this question from the recruiter’s point of view for a moment – the answer should be much clearer.

K.H., unless you’re trying to set a perception as a stalker or desperate candidate (I’m not quite sure which is worse), I wouldn’t check in multiple times a week under any circumstances.

If you don’t believe another word I say or write, believe this – If a recruiter thinks they have a chance at earning a commission by placing you, they will move heaven and earth to reach you, often. If they’re not calling, it’s because the employer hasn’t said that they’re interested in you. It might mean the employer hasn’t given feedback to the recruiter or it might mean they’re just not interested.

The recruiter isn’t interested in you calling to “check in”. Their job is to talk to companies to find companies that want to pay them to find new employees – their job is not to talk to candidates when they feel the need to check in.

However, there are a number of effective ways to get a recruiter to want to take your call, rather than dread or dodge it.

  • My favorite – Be a great source of information: Recruiters need job market information – it’s what they live on and it’s what gets them business. You have job market information. You can be a recruiter’s best friend by helping them put food on their table. That way, when you call, it’s not to “check in”, it’s to give the recruiter leads. When you train a recruiter that every time you call, they get a lead, they’ll hang up with their boss to talk to you.

  • Help a recruiter map out one of their target companies: There’s a decent chance that you know people that work for one of your recruiter’s target companies. Introduce the recruiter to your friend – now the recruiter owes you one, because you paid it forward. In addition, now the recruiter has a vested interest in keeping you happy – if you get upset, it’s likely that your friend won’t continue helping to break into a new account. You might have even worked for one of the recruiter’s targets.
  • Get the recruiter an org chart or phone list: Printed org charts and phone lists are less and less frequent thanks to PCs and office networks. But they still exist at many companies, just fewer people have them. If you can get copies from your current (or past) company or from a friend’s company that the recruiter wants to target, it’s gold to them. Worth so much that a recruiter might consider naming their next child after you – they’ll certainly return your call.
  • Introducing other candidates doesn’t work so well: Candidates are inventory and today recruiters are chock full of excess inventory. Sure, you might luck out and magically introduce your recruiter to the perfect fit for a job being searched for right now, but the odds are pretty low. You’ll have much higher odds of gaining a recruiter’s attention by helping them find new business.
  • Tell your recruiter the best information you have, not the worst: Many candidates refuse to tell a recruiter information about a position they themselves are interested in, fearful the recruiter might hurt their chances with additional competition. Fearful candidates typically tell recruiters about positions they lost, or openings that they interviewed for a month ago, rather than the jobs they know are still viable and searching for candidates.

    Talk about shooting yourself in the foot – This attitude is so short-sighted that it’s laughable. The hiring manager carves out time to interview a limited number of candidates – so you already have competition. If you can present yourself as the best candidate, you’ll probably win – if you don’t, you probably won’t. This happens whether or not your recruiter sends additional candidates. It’s up to you to win the job, but limiting competition isn’t in your control.

  • Trying to make a recruiter believe that you’ll throw the business they way after you’re hired – rarely works: Management candidates try this one all the time, but recruiters are in a transactional business so there’s a much lower value on business that might happen down the road. Recruiters experience early in their careers that candidates have different priorities once they become ex-candidates – so recruiters rarely believe a promise of post-placement business. In their new role, the candidate might not even have the authority to choose which recruiter can be used.
  • Be nice. be fun to talk to: If you take out your anger or frustration over the phone, understand that results in your calls riding the express train to voice mail. This goes if you are an admin assistant or a CEO.

  • Don’t call to “check in” – instead provide value for the recruiter with every call: “Checking in” might be valuable to you, but it provides zero value and wastes time for a recruiter.

Recruiters and employers- Please share how you feel when candidates call to “check in”? How about if they are so proactive about “checking-in” that they call multiple times per week?


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Author: Phil Rosenberg

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