Having trouble getting a response from hiring managers or recruiters?
We know how tough it can be out there. Most of us have changed jobs once or twice. Sometimes the job seeker can be his or her own worst enemy. But there are some things you can do that will make the process a little easier.
Working with agency recruiters:
- Be honest up front when meeting with your agency-recruiter about where you have applied for jobs on your own. They should ask you about your activity and with good reason. No recruiter likes hearing, “We already have that resume.” Recruiters generally will not work very hard on behalf of people in whom they have little trust.
- Job seekers should think twice about submitting their resumes to job boards or even to company websites without first checking with their agency-recruiter. You should first call your recruiter to ask if they have relationships at a company you are interested in. Believe it or not, most recruiters will tell you if they have a relationship with a target company. So by doing this, you help the recruiter identify companies that are actively hiring, build trust with your recruiter, and create a better understanding of your interests. Beats calling and asking, “Do you have anything?”
- Ask your agency recruiter about their preferred method (phone or email) of follow-up. Get their suggested frequency. Then stick to that. If you don’t hear back right away, say in 1-2 days, give one more follow-up call, and say, “I called yesterday, as you suggested, just to follow up on my job search. Since I didn’t hear back right away, I must assume you are swamped. Just let me know how things are going, when you have a few minutes. I promise not to take too much of your time.” Remember, any good recruiter is working with hundreds of candidates. What if they all called every day or so to “check in”? The recruiter would never get anything done.
- Do not over-expose yourself. Recruiters work much harder, and return calls to people who work with some degree of exclusivity. One or two agency-recruiters are plenty. Talk to your friends, get some names, call them, meet with them and work with those with whom you feel most comfortable.
- Be open-minded about the opportunities presented to you by your recruiter. You may not be as excited about a job when you first hear the details as you are after the interview.
- A saying goes, “You can’t make withdrawals until you have made some deposits.” So whenever possible, give your recruiter referrals, both job opportunities and candidates. Recruiters don’t have to market your background, but they will if you have made deposits with them. And your calls will always be returned.
- Finally, you want your recruiter to return your calls? Then return their calls. Always, and quickly.
Hiring Managers and Corporate Recruiters:
- Job seekers need to properly set their expectations when applying for jobs on web sites or job boards. You are competing with hundreds (Yahoo, H-P) and even thousands of applicants (Google, Apple). So if you expect to get a call back any time soon, or to even get someone live to answer your application, you are asking for a lot. Sorry, that’s just the way it is. Therefore, follow-up is a hit or miss proposition. Mostly miss.
- Establish some sense of urgency in your application. If you are traveling, say so in your letter of introduction. If you are nearing a decision in your job search, suggest that an interview be scheduled as soon as possible to allow the hiring manager a proper shot at meeting with you. Be careful not to come off as coy, or arrogant. No one likes that. Just state the facts thusly, ”I am nearing a decision on another position, but I would love the opportunity to sit down with you as soon as your schedule permits.”
- Follow up directly with hiring managers, whenever possible, by phone or email in a similar fashion as with agency-recruiters. State in your intro letter that you will be following up in a few days to discuss the next step. Then do so, but only once, leaving a message like, “This is John Smith following up on the letter of introduction I sent to you earlier this week. I wanted to see if there was a time when we could discuss opportunities with your firm.” By doing this you actually establish that you are good at details and follow-up. Managers like this. End your message with, “I know your time is valuable, so I will only leave you this one message. I look forward to your call.”
- Corporate Recruiters are a completely different matter. They are typically handling dozens of jobs for many different hiring managers and quite frankly, they often don’t have time to call you back. Follow-up messages are really pointless, unless they have called you! In fact, it is often next to impossible to even identify the contract recruiter that is handling the job that interests you. If you know the name, leave one message saying, “My name is Mary Jones and I responded to a job posting, #123. I am very interested in this position and would enjoy talking to you about it, either by phone or in person. I look forward to your call.”
- Finally, always leave clear and precise contact information, stated slowly, once at the end of your message. Never leave a message beyond 30-45 seconds in length. The recruiter will just erase it if you start to ramble. Do not ask about their day, how they are feeling, about the weather, or attempt in any way to make the call personal. Remember, they get hundreds of calls a day and they are not your friend.