How to Get a Recruiter's Attention in a Recession

Times are tough for candidates.  Layoffs abound, jobs are in short supply, and competition for the few available openings is intense.  

Candidates are looking for allies and are reaching out to recruiters like never before.  But recruiters are not easy to reach.  Why?  They’ve got lots of candidates but few jobs.  The pendulum has swung and recruiters need to focus most of their time finding new positions to fill.   So how can you get a recruiter’s attention when they’re down a worm-hole looking for fee-paying clients?  

Demonstrate how you can help them… not just how they can help you.  

Here are a few examples.

1. Alert the recruiter to new relevant openings.  These could be openings that you’re interested in pursuing or ones you just happen to run across.   If the recruiter’s interested in pursuing the search, they’ll contact the company and see if they can get the assignment.  If they do, you’ll likely be at the head of the line.  If they don’t get the search, or aren’t interested in pursuing  it, you can then submit directly to the company.  However, remember that you should always contact the recruiter and have them submit your resume.  If you submit it to the company first, the recruiter won’t be able to help you since companies only pay a fee for candidates they don’t already know about.

2.  Refer a candidate for an existing search.  Take a peek at the recruiter’s website to find out what searches they’re  handling and, if you aren’t the perfect candidate, see if you can refer someone who is!  Even if the candidate isn’t an exact fit, as long as they’re a talented professional, the recruiter will be appreciative.  And, if they do land the job, you may even get paid a referral fee.

3.  Introduce a Prospective Client.  Introduce your targeted recruiter to a hiring manager or senior executive who makes frequent hiring decisions.  Recruiters love handling searches where they can work directly with the hiring manager because the process is more transparent and efficient.   The “hiring manager” is not the HR contact or an internal recruiter, but typically the person who oversees the new hire… aka the boss.  Even if the hiring manager is not hiring…  you’ve just given the recruiter an ongoing prospect for future interactions — and even other networking opportunities.  

4.  Latest & Greatest Networking Opp’s.  Recruiters are getting pretty savvy with social media tools but they are still very open to suggestions on new online search techniques, networking groups, or even events that are related to their recruiting specialty.  Whether it’s the latest LinkedIn Group or the newest tip to optimize a recruiter’s website, recruiters are eager to learn how to gain an edge in today’s market.  

Remember… greater opportunity for the recruiter will almost always lead to greater opportunity for the helpful candidate.