If you’ve never worked with a recruiter, it can seem intimidating to reach out to them. It doesn’t have to be but there are a few rules for you to consider. Here’s how to make use of your recruiter connections in a way that will benefit you and build a solid relationship with this professional resource.

How Should You Contact a Recruiter?

First Impressions Matter

No pressure—but you should try to make a good impression with the recruiter on the very first try. Most recruiters don’t have time for missed connections, unreturned phone calls, or clumsy interviews. If you’re going to speak with a recruiter, make sure you are front and center at the appointed time. Be prepared for the interview, too, or run the risk that the recruiter will walk away. 

Call Me, Maybe?

It’s actually okay for you to reach out to a recruiter directly. Since most recruiting firms specialize in one or a few fields (IT, accounting, retail—for example), you should pick the firm that has recruiting experience in your industry. It’s okay to ping these recruiters on LinkedIn. In this job market, they will probably be very pleased to hear from you. Be personal yet professional. Ask the recruiter if they would be willing to take a peek at your resume to see if they know of any jobs that might be a fit. Don’t be shy. You’ve got this.

Don’t Be a Stalker

At the same time, if the recruiter doesn’t respond or if the first discussion doesn’t go as well as planned you should be prepared to walk away. Don’t pursue the recruiter even if you feel desperate to find a job. Also, never tell the recruiter you’ll take any job or any rate of pay. The smell of desperation will not endear you to the recruiter. We don’t mean to be harsh but there is a certain level of “fake it till you make it” during a successful job search process. So, stick to your guns and let the recruiter know the kind of job and range of pay you’re willing to accept. Don’t sell your skills short and be prepared to negotiate on salary. 

Make Sure You Do Your Research

If you’re talking to a recruiter about a specific company or a type of job, please take the time to do your research first. You don’t want to seem ill-prepared or uninformed. Use sites like Glassdoor to get a sense of the company and Monster to compare your salary expectations with the realities of the market. The more research you do at this stage the better you’ll represent yourself to the recruiter and ultimately, the employer. If you’re an introvert and it’s hard to initiate conversations, write down this research along with a kind of scripting of how you’ll talk about yourself. Make sure you know: Company location, values and culture, and what the company does—as a bare minimum. Make sure your resume is up-to-date, because, if the conversation goes well, you should follow up with a copy of the document. Also, connect with the recruiter on LinkedIn to keep the conversation going.

How Can a Recruiter Help Your Job Search?

Recruiters use sophisticated applicant tracking systems like Exelare. Your goal is to get your CV in the recruiter’s database so that if a job comes up that fits your skills, the recruiter will call you first. Exelare is a top-of-the-line ATS. If you’d like to find out more, click here to see our features.