Finding a recruiter, building your relationship and working to get a job through them can be a long, complicated, some-what awkward and sometimes painful experience... not too different from dating. In fact, the two experiences are quite similar and you can apply the same rules and best practices to finding recruiters as you can for seeking a life partner. If you've been out of the dating scene for a while, you may not be familiar with how that world works today. This post will catch you up and help you find a job.
Rather than hashing out the same old job search tips, let's review common dating advice and apply it to building a relationship with the right recruiter.
Online Dating vs In-Person Dating
Introducing yourself to a recruiter face-to-face is more beneficial to you than sending them a summary of yourself online. When you meet at a networking event, you get the opportunity to sell yourself, make a more personal connection, and know a lot sooner if things are going to click. Vice-versa, a LinkedIn introduction or applying to an online job means you have limited space to write the perfect message and present a professional image. You're also depending on the recruiter to open it and interpret it as you'd intended.
Still, those face-to-face opportunities are far and few between. And once there, it will be difficult to get the attention of the popular recruiters who have more to offer, especially if you have to compete with a smooth talking, desperate job seeker. Keeping a great profile on online platforms like LinkedIn and job boards lets you browse multiple recruiters and agencies at the same time, and allows them to search and send you messages as well.
Beware of "Ghosting" and "Catfishing" (and don't do it yourself)
Have you heard of these two terms? They're a result of advent of online dating and the Urban Dictionary defines them as follows:
Ghosting: The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date.
Catfishing: Hiding who you really are to hook someone into an online relationship using social media or by cell phone.
When searching for jobs online and building relationships with recruiters, be aware that there are unfortunately some unethical ones who will suddenly stop calling you without providing feedback on your skills, or who will promise you the world only to reveal later that they have nothing. You can't control these types, but you can ensure you don't become one.
Never ghost your recruiter. Try to return their phone calls as promptly as possible and, if you do decide that for whatever reason you do not want to work with them, be upfront so they can remove you from their contact lists. Similarly, catfishing recruiters by claiming you have skills and experiences that you do not only tarnishes your reputation. Recruiters talk to each other and it will just be a matter of time before the entire industry blocks your profile.
That Awkward First Date
Possibly the most dreadful start to any relationship is the first time you meet. Will they be who they say they are? Will we click? What will we talk about? Naturally on your first meeting a recruiter will lead the conversation but be prepared to open up about yourself. Engage in small talk, let them know what you're seeking and your future plans, and be honest about your past experiences. Finally, put in an effort to get to know them as well. Learn about what they're offering, who they are as a person and the best ways to communicate with them.
Should You Keep It Exclusive?
This question can be taboo in the dating world but has a very simple answer when it comes to recruiters -- absolutely not! No single recruiter can offer you everything you want for the rest of your career. When you put all your eggs in one basket, you risk being left at the start of the dating process, alone and unemployed. Therefore, it's completely acceptable, in fact encouraged, to build relationships with multiple recruiters and agencies. Some you will like more than others, some will offer you more money, and some will even get jealous, but you're under no obligation to tell them about each other.
Know When to Cut Ties or Move to the Next Level
Unfortunately, all-too-often relationships with the person we thought would last forever come to an end. Perhaps they haven't offered anything enticing, maybe they've changed since you first met, or it's possible they moved to a place where you do not want to be. Regardless, it's important to recognize when the relationship has played its course so you can move on. Just avoid ending things on bad terms so a flame can spark up again in the future and be quick to replace them with somebody new, with whom you can start to build a mutually beneficial professional relationship.