In order to work effectively with a recruiter, you need to know how to communicate with them.

Many job seekers discuss networking as being a critical component to a successful job search. While the majority recognizes the importance of building the right relationships, few know how to establish a rapport with a key group: headhunters.  

The ability to form ongoing relationships with influential recruiters can prove more critical to your career success than any other networking outlet. In order to influence a headhunter, you must know how to interact with them. Working with recruiters can have a wide variety of benefits.

To assist you, we've listed important communication do's and don'ts of working with a recruiter.  

Understanding the importance of recruiter relationships.

Why is it so beneficial to learn how to speak with executive search professionals and work with recruiters effectively? Over time, alliances with the right staffing agents can aid you in several different ways. Competent recruiters can do the following:

  • Open up additional job opportunities you didn't know about.

  • Provide key insight into the job market.

  • Help negotiate higher compensation packages.

  • Provide critical resume and job-search advice.

The do's and don'ts of recruiter communication.

Since your goal is to have lasting relationships with headhunters, it's imperative to understand how to work with recruiters effectively and communicate well. Here is what you should be doing:

Do clearly convey your career goals.

Often, job seekers complain about being pressured to interview for jobs that they are not interested in nor qualified for. This results in them making a bad impression during the interview which, in turn, hurts their ongoing relationship with that recruiting agent.

However, you can prevent this by clearly conveying your professional goals to the recruiter. When a headhunter knows exactly what you're looking for, they can more accurately make career suggestions without putting you in an awkward spot.  

If you are approached for a job you are not interested in, it's best that you politely decline, thank the recruiter for their consideration, and tell them what interests you.

Related: Personal Branding is Critical to Your Career's Future. Here's Why

Don't be indecisive.

Don't interview just to get in the recruiter's good graces. Doing so will not strengthen the relationship, and will ultimately come back to hurt you. Whether you interview well and don't accept a job, or don't receive an offer, it's a lose-lose situation.

Do allow the recruiter to call the shots.

One of the best ways to get on the good side of a recruiter is to simply allow them to do their job. On occasion, job applicants have trouble not being in control of the hiring process. Anxiousness forces them to take certain actions which can be perceived as stepping on the toes of the recruiter.

For instance, when working with a recruiter, it's in your best interest to ask them permission (as well as their opinion), or keep them in the loop with any client contact. This includes sending thank you notes to interviewers with the individual cc'd, all the way to negotiating salary through the headhunter unless directed otherwise.  

The rule of thumb is if you don't know the way a staffing professional likes to work, it's best to ask. Inquiring about their preferences and being compliant with those requests builds trust and fosters long-term relationships.

Do remain cordial and professional even if you do not get the job.

Another great way to get into a recruiter's good graces is to be gracious upon losing an offer. Sometimes, applicants will bad mouth the hiring manager which makes them look petty and unprofessional. This is not to mention that they are talking poorly about the recruiters' clients. How you behave when things don't go your way is just as important as how you behave when they do.

By thanking the recruiter for their time and informing them you'd be interested in anything similar that comes along leaves the door open to you working again with the individual.

Don't be a sore loser.

Recruiters find the sour grapes mentality very off-putting and complaining has no benefit to you. Sometimes you get the job, sometimes you don't. However, never lose your composure when things don't go your way.

In the end.

If played correctly, working with a recruiter will do nothing but benefit your career. Whether or not you end up a taking a job today is not as important as whether or not you'll be considered in the future.

Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement, an executive search firm based out of New York City specializing in sales and marketing recruitment of all levels.

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