What Do I Need to Know About (Not) Getting Responses From Recruiters?

If you are working with a recruiter and you have not heard from them in a while how often do you email them to encourage a response before you are perceived to be a pest? Also what is the best way to solicit a response?

Ann-Z-newAs you can imagine, this is one of my favorite topics. For starters, keep in mind that there is a big difference between an employment agency, and executive recruiters or executive search firms. Be clear on who you are working with.

Employment agencies work for you, the candidate, which requires that you, the job seeker,  pay them a fee for finding you a job.

Executive Recruiters are paid by the client for filling the role.

Executive recruiters find people for jobs, as opposed to jobs for people. 

The hiring manager pays our fee. We are motivated to fill the position with the best match possible. So theoretically, since we all work off databases, when we get a search that you are a good match for, and we crank up the ol’ search engine, it will bring your particular resume to our attention.

The biggest variable is the number of potential matches that we receive. If you are one of five, you can be assured that your resume will be reviewed. If you are one of 1,000 then the odds are not so great.

As we tell job seekers, one of the smartest things you can do to explore other career opportunities, is to make a list of your targeted roles and companies, and then do your best to stay on their decision makers peripheral. Follow your potential hiring managers on social media if they have public accounts, commenting and ‘liking’ their posts.  It also makes good sense to invest time reaching out to executive recruiters that specialize in your industry or position.

The more positive exposure you can have, the  better.

For an active candidate that is currently seeking a new role, it is totally appropriate to reach out via email to ALL potential leads, providing a brief update on the situation, and ask if  they anything that  would match his skill set, on a monthly basis. I would deter anyone from reaching out more often on unsolicited contacts, but do think once a month is fine.

Be sure to ask how your contact prefers that you follow-up. You would be surprised at how few people do that, and it makes all the difference in the world in how they are perceived.

Please always send out resumes and notes on an individual basis. Or, if you have a rather large list, it is okay to send it to yourself and BCC everyone else.

But for Heaven’s sake, please do not send out a mass email with everyone CC that devolves into chaos when all these self-important people all start to respond by Replying All, forever tainting the original senders name.

When I receive an email with a resume attached, and the background looks good, it takes me mere seconds to forward onto my team.

Most companies and recruiters  have an active website that lists current openings, so be sure to make a point to always sign up for those alerts.

And if you see a potential match, be sure to reference the title and requisition number if provided when emailing  to express your interest. List that info on the subject line…CANDIDATE FOR ……ROLE so your credentials can easily be forwarded directly to the recruiter working that particular search.

And if you do not see any active searches that you are a match for and just want to touch base, it is advisable to send an email to the recruiters you are working with, and ATTACH YOUR RESUME EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE IT!!!

The difference between receiving an email from a candidate asking if we have anything for him, and receiving an email with a resume attached, along with bullet points on the types of roles he would be qualified for,  is quite literally night and day. 

Provide a few bullet points in the body of the email, providing insights into the types of roles you would be interested in hearing about and are qualified for, and provide your availability for live calls.

Even though we may have your resume, by attaching it to the email, it makes it possible for me to just hit the forward button and get it in front of the entire team.

Throughout the day, we all receive e-mails from “Bob” asking if we have anything for him. Chances are at some point he sent in his resume and now thinks he is doing a great job in following up with a short e-mail because we already have his resume. Granted, looking up the persons resume in our database  would take under one minute, but that is one minute away from her current task. Combined with the hundreds if not thousands  of emails that the average recruiter receives on a daily basis, it adds up. When we are ‘on the hunt’, it kills the momentum if we have to continually change focus.

Attaching your resume along with a short, concise email with bullet points on the types of roles you would be qualified for and are interested in when touching base, will give you the very best chance of having your resume opened.

When we receive an email with a resume attached, our natural curiosity always wins out. As a breed,  recruiters are eternal optimists, so the chances are high that your resume will be opened.   

And for everyone that wants that magic number of how often to reach out when you are not aware of a specific search but just in general want to touch base, assuming that the person you are contacting has a strong potential of having a match for you, I would say it is okay to reach out via email once a month, to all contacts re-affirming your desires.

In your correspondence, be sure to ASK them how often they prefer you touch base. Everyone is different, and just by asking that question, you position yourself in the top 30%.

Personally, I am fine if candidates reach out once a month via email, for others it may be more or less. But I do think aiming for once every 30 days makes a lot of sense, to help you get into the rhythm of actively working a job search.

And to the second part of your question, the best way to get a response from an executive recruiter is really the same advice I would give when approaching any busy professional: Ask a legitimate question, be considerate of their time, and  be respectful in your approach. Hopefully, most professionals will take the time to respond.

Ask Ann,

Have a question you’d like a recruiter to answer? Write to me at AskAnn@execunet.com

Ann Zaslow-Rethaber

Ann Zaslow-Rethaber

A recruiter since 1996, Ann Zaslow-Rethaber is the president of International Search Consultants, a global executive recruiting firm launched in 1999.

ISC has become one of the country’s most reputable search firms, earning more recommendations on Linked In than any other 3rd party recruiting agency in the entire country. With a team of 15 talented recruiters, utilizing the very best high- tech tools available, ISC can produce highly qualified candidates for companies with hi-volume recruiting needs.

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