Strategies for effectively communicating with recruiters. 

Working with a quality recruiter who supports your skillset can make or break a job search. They can present several different opportunities to which you may not otherwise have access or visibility. Here are some key strategies to help you develop and strengthen a recruiter relationship.

1. Prospect recruiters like jobs and reach out proactively. Ask people in your network for recruiter recommendations to get an introduction. You can also search by zip code for “recruiter” or “talent acquisition” on LinkedIn and reach out to a few promising profiles. Have a quick message ready to go, such as “You have a strong background as a recruiting professional, and I’m actively in the job market for a new agile coach role. I’m located in Richmond and am open to working onsite, remotely, or hybrid. Do you currently have any agile, scrum, or product owner roles you’re hiring for, or will you in the future?”

2. Make an effort to try to "meet" them. Relationships can be improved by meeting in person or virtually with tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Facetime. When a recruiter reaches out, suggest a video call.

3. Bring candidate marketing materials to demonstrate your credibility. Do you provide recruiters with not just a resume but a complete package they can get excited about? Have you proactively provided non-proprietary examples of your work, LinkedIn recommendations, or links to your website or portfolio? Offer a complete picture of your skills by giving something extra along with your resume.

4. Connect via social channels. LinkedIn is the most crucial social channel since that is where most recruiters "hang out" professionally online. One report found that 87% of recruiters regularly use LinkedIn. Send an invitation to connect, taking a few seconds to personalize the message. Reference a commonality, like where you met them, or something from their profile and how it might relate to you.

5. Hang out where they (professionally) hang out. Many recruiters are active in a technical association or meet-up group. Others are active in professional LinkedIn groups, Slack, Discord, and other groups/channels. Take an extra minute and ask a quality recruiter, “Are you involved in any local groups or associations?” or “Do you know of any relevant groups related to my skill set I should check out?” Perhaps you will then see them at events, connect there, and meet others that can be helpful to network with.

6. Be transparent and direct, even if it's not good news. What negatively impacts a lot of recruiter and job seeker relationships? Lack of transparency. Not disclosing previous work or interview history with the company, canceling an interview at the last minute, not starting a job after accepting due to unvoiced concerns, or accepting an offer for a different role the recruiter did not know about. Concerns and other opportunities should not come as a surprise to your recruiter. Honesty will always be the best policy for maintaining your relationship.

7. Be proactive with your follow-up. "I talked to them once and haven't heard back since" is a very common sentiment among job seekers. Communication goes both ways and you must be “professionally persistent.” Adopt a role of three and follow up with a recruiter up to three times.

A quality recruiter who supports your skillset can make or break a job search.

8. Have a regular check-in cadence that isn't overwhelming. If you have a conversation with a recruiter and they seem to get opportunities that would be relevant for you, check back in with them regularly. Daily would be overkill, but every 2-4 weeks, send a short message to let them know you are still looking for a new job. You can also use it as an opportunity to share any new certifications, training, projects, and anything else that could help your candidacy. You can also ask, “How often should I check back in with you?”

9. Remove the guilt. Why do many people not reach out if they do not hear back from a recruiter? Often, it is because they fear they are being bothersome. That is not the right mindset during a job search. Remove the guilt and feel comfortable reaching back out.

10. Show your appreciation. A genuine "thank you" can be meaningful for anyone, including talent acquisition professionals. Did they go above and beyond by sharing resume and interview tips, insights into trending skills, and other information that helped you secure a new job? Take some time to show your appreciation. It can be an email, card, or a post on LinkedIn that you tag them on. A nice gesture is always worth the effort, especially for your professional relationship