Google+ The Marketing Survivalist: What to Do When a Recruiter Calls

What to Do When a Recruiter Calls

One of the pivotal points in my marketing career was about ten years ago. As a product manager, I became a primary spokesperson and subject matter expert for the company I worked for. I had a much higher profile and started getting calls from recruiters. Not a lot, but enough that I decided I needed to learn how to handle these calls effectively.

I was not in the market for a new position, but something deep inside me told me that how I handled these calls could be important to my future. My mentors at the time gave me some important advice.

Never say never. You may not be in the market for a new role, but you never know. The role that they are looking to fill may be your dream job. At least listen to what they have to say.

Always have your resume updated. In the off-chance that you are interested and qualified, you don’t want to keep them waiting. Its old advice, but you should always have an updated resume available.

Find out if this is a retained or contingency search. There is a lot of information written about the difference between the two and suggestions on how to handle inquiries from both types. You should familiarize yourself with the difference.

Open the opportunity to your network. If you are not interested, chances are that someone you know may be. You can increase your karma with recruiters by passing the opportunity along to others in your network.

Unless I know the recruiter fairly well, I don’t pass along the names of individuals in my network. Instead I will ask for a job description that I can pass along to my network. Retained recruiters will almost always send you a copy as they will receive their fee even if your network doesn’t work through them. That said, make sure your network knows which recruiter passed along the opportunity so they can do the right thing and work through the recruiter.

Continually expand your network. If you continue to expand your network, you can increase your value to recruiters as well as members of your network. Become a hub for opportunities and you’ll get first pick.

Add the recruiter to your network. If you get to know the recruiter well, add them to your network. I will add my trusted recruiters to LinkedIn so they can see who I can connect them with. If someone in my network is looking for a new opportunity, I can also proactively introduce them.

Never burn bridges. Recruiters are people too. Some are downright bad at their jobs and others are complete jerks. But, that shouldn’t color your opinion of recruiters in general or affect the first impression you make when they contact you. And, if one does treat you poorly or disparages your qualifications, it doesn’t pay to burn bridges. Just let it pass and move on to creating more satisfying relationships.

In this day and age of increasing career mobility, each relationship you establish with a recruiter is an opportunity to ensure your future. Even if you are not interested in what they have to offer, it’s an opportunity to form a lasting impression with some important professionals. Make sure the impression you leave is a good one.
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