Perhaps the most important point is that if a recruiter contacts you, there’s a reason . . . it’s very possible that the reason could result in a sensational career opportunitiy. One of the things I like best about my work is contacting top performing candidates, hoping to find the ones who’s goals and ambitions align with my clients’ needs. It’s very exciting for both the candidate and I when that happens . . . it’s even more exciting when/if it results in an offer of employment for a superb opportunity the candidate would not otherwise have known of.
What Recruiters Are Looking For When They Contact You
Most successful recruiters do not waste a lot time with anyone who is not a fit for their clients. You were called (or emailed) initially for a very specific reason, either:
1. You have the skills or experience required for a job
2. You work for a client competitor
3. Someone gave your name as a reference, or
4. Your LinkedIn profile insinuates that you may be a good match.
That’s about it. Other than a few one-offs, these are the reasons you are being contacted in the first place.
When a recruiter calls you, they generally have a structured way of seeking the answers they need:
1. Does the candidate’s core competencies fit the client’s needs?
2. Are they successful?
3. Do they have any motivation to make a change?
What many candidates are not realizing is that everything you do and say and how you do and say it is being calculated. Here are some examples:
1. A Recruiter calls or emails you about a position and you immediately ask, “Who is the client?” because you’re too busy to speak.
What you should do: Set a better time to speak with the recruiter later that day. Tell them whether you are open or not to making a change and look forward to the next conversation if there should be one. If you have zero interest in making a career change, tell them this upfront, but let them know what type of opportunities you may be interested in down the road and a time frame to follow up. For example, “Thank you for thinking of me, but at this time I am on pace to make quota and have lots of irons in the fire and a great pipeline. However if you do come across an opening in Senior Management, I’d be willing to listen, but not until September when our fiscal year ends.”
2. A Recruiter emails you a description of a job opening and you reply only with…………..“What’s the comp package?” 90% of the time, the recruiter will not reply back with the figures. You’ve just told the recruiter that money is your only motivator and you only will give them your time if you know what the compensation package is first.
What you should do: If money is the biggest factor in making career decisions, you’ve probably moved around a lot or haven’t had much tenure in one place. It’s OK to be money motivated, we all are, but remember a recruiter needs to know certain things first before talking about compensation. Most clients give recruiters a fair range of base salary, commission structure, sign-on bonus, equity, etc. There is no way to determine what the actual package will be if the recruiter doesn’t get the information they need. If you are the ideal type of “A Player” that the client is looking for, this usually means you are paid higher than an average person in a similar role. Discussing your current salary and on-target earnings (with the recruiter) can only help you obtain the dollar amount you would need to make a change. And always remember to have your quotas and performance clearly stated on your resume, so it’s easy to refer back to them.
Retained search firms train recruiters to look for these signs and use their time wisely. It is important that you build a mutual trust and respect with a recruiter. This comes solely from good communication. Pick up the phone and call instead of sending one-line emails, you should know that you’re not the only person being contacted. Call back when you say you’re going to call back. Send your resume when you say you’re going to send it. And finally, if you want to show your ultimate respect to a good recruiter, give them a solid referral if you’re not interested in the opportunity personally. By doing this, you become a valuable partner to the recruiter and most likely will be put to the top of their list to contact should something open that fits what your looking for.
So think twice about how you respond to the recruiter next time they call– it might be the call that can change your life!