The short answer? Because they don’t know you.
Last week, I spoke to a group of MBA students at a local University about how to use social media in their job search. At one point in the workshop, a young gentleman raised his hand requesting permission to ask a question that was “off-topic”. Since I’m always up for a good off-topic question, permission was quickly granted, and he continued.
The student shared that he wasn’t very fond of recruiters in general (present company excepted of course), because they only view him based upon his past experience, not for what he wants to be – or can be. Since he currently held a sales position in a hot industry, recruiters were very interested in talking with him about similar roles, but not about the career move he wants to make – a leadership role in another industry.
“How do you get a recruiter to pay attention to you when you contact them because you want to make a career change, or change industries?”
My advice (which applies to anyone who contacts a recruiter directly)? Treat recruiters like you would any valuable networking relationship.
You wouldn’t pick up the phone and start calling other professionals that you don’t know, and expect them to “get” you or to go find you a job without knowing anything about you, would you? A better is to choose two or three recruiters to try to build a relationship with first – before asking for their help.
4 Suggestions To Build Relationships With Recruiters:
- Where possible, try to meet recruiters “out in the wild” (i.e. networking/professional development events/volunteering, etc.), so you can introduce yourself in person.
- Get an introduction or referral to a trusted recruiter from someone in your network.
- Interact with recruiters and build virtual relationships with them via the professional and social networks that they inhabit.
- If a recruiter contacts you about an opportunity that is not of interest, offer to assist them with referrals or to be a resource for them in the future.
Once you’ve had some level of interaction with a recruiter, ask them about their process, and how they work. Do they work on a retained or contingency basis? Do they market candidates? If you provide them with your resume, what happens to it and will it be kept confidential?
It’s important to understand how you may or may not fit with their process, as well as what you should or should not expect in terms of follow up or contact. Having these conversations up front will help you to understand how they work, and eliminate possible disappointments.
Finally, ask the recruiter how YOU can help THEM (and mean it).
Basically, you want the recruiter to remember you. Always remember:
“All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.” – Bob Burg, Endless Referrals
Just like everybody else, recruiters like and remember people who want to help them be successful!
When the workshop ended, the young man came up and we had a great conversation about the work he’s currently doing, what he’s interested in pursuing, and how he’s working very hard (funding his own education) to get an MBA from a top school. He’s hoping to pair that excellent education with his work experience and advance to the next level in his career. He was personable, articulate, and clearly good at what he does.
He was also bright enough to have listened during our earlier discussion, and after thanking me for my time, asked how he could help ME. The next day, he followed up with a personalized email, and invited me to connect on LinkedIn.
In the future, I’ll remember this young man, and I see him as what he wants to be – not just what he’s doing today. Although we didn’t have an opportunity in which to place him in currently, if one arises in the future, you can bet he’ll get a call.
Because he made me like him.