How to Find a Good Recruiter

How To Find a Good Recruiter

Last week, a Twitter friend asked me if I could offer any advice on how to find a good recruiter.

I’ve been pondering her question since then. It’s a good one because the right recruiter working for a quality company can accelerate your job search and lift your career a notch or two.

Good Recruiters Work for Companies Where You Want to Work

The best way to find a good recruiter is to target the companies you want to work for and reach out to establish relationships with their internal recruiters.

You can find most internal (and external) recruiters by using this tool and the keywords found here.

How to Reach Out

Once you find them, you can send this note via email or LinkedIn message or InMail. You might change the first paragraph as follows:

I understand you’re the Accounting Talent Acquisition Specialist at Red Bull.

I’m a degreed accountant who played a crucial role in reducing my company’s month-end close from 12 to four working days. Yes, we used a little Red Bull to help us get there!

I love your company’s products and want to be on your radar the next time you’re searching for someone like me.

Be sure to:

  1. Tell the recruiter what you do and describe the type of job that interests you.
  2. Give a quick example of a compelling accomplishment.
  3. Mention something positive about their company.
  4. Ask them to keep you in mind for future openings.

What If Those Companies Don’t Have Recruiters?

What if the company is too small to have a human resources function or dedicated corporate recruiters?

In that case, use LinkedIn to figure out who your hiring manager would be and reach out to connect with them on LinkedIn.

We’re talking small organizations, so search LinkedIn for people who work for the company. Look through your results to find the person most likely to be your hiring manager.

What If They Aren’t Active on LinkedIn?

Then send them the same note via email or make a phone call.

Why Internal Connections Matter

If you make an internal connection before the company posts your dream job, and you’re a fit, there’s a good chance they will contact you early in their search.

That gets you into the first round of consideration, which is the best place to be. If they find their dream candidate in the first round, they’re done. You might eliminate some or all of your competition by getting in early!

How Do I Find a Good External Recruiter?

If you want to work with executive recruiters or recruiting agencies (depending on your level), then a quality recruiter is one who recruits for companies where you want to work.

In the case above, our hypothetical accountant can:

  1. Ask former colleagues and classmates, outside auditors, and other people she trusts, who recruits accountants for the companies where she wants to work.
  2. Ask external accounting recruiters she talks with who recruits accountants for the companies where she wants to work. They know.
  3. Ask people she knows for names of recruiters who work with accountants (in general).

As you can see, I have defined “good” in a particular way for this post. She should be sure to describe what she means by good.

Long-Term Relationships

It’s important to understand that one recruiter can’t handle very many clients. That’s why there are so many recruiters.

You can see lists of the dominant firms here.

Look for recruiters who work in your industry or with people who have your skillset. It’s never too early to start building relationships.

Smart job seekers stay connected with recruiters over the long-term. They’re great resources when it’s time to find a job. However, as emphasized above, people can also make their luck with direct outreach to potential employers.

Vet External Recruiters

Finding an external recruiter is one thing, vetting them is another. Working with a recruiting firm can be a pleasure or a nightmare.

Be especially skeptical of anyone who wants you to pay them money to find you a job. Regardless of what they might claim, those people are not recruiters.

Read this post to learn how to protect yourself from the baddies out there.

Bonus Round

Learn how to double your visibility to recruiters on LinkedIn here and how to make your LinkedIn profile more attractive to recruiters here.

Let’s Connect on LinkedIn

Please don’t hesitate to invite me to connect on LinkedIn here. The more I know about my readers, the better I can make my blog.

Image: Fotolia/natali_mis
Updated July 2019

© 2015 – 2020, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.

Comments 2

  1. We are now in a world that is candidate rich and employers are doing all they can to cut hiring costs.

    Unless a recruiter is valued and has influence with hiring managers, my experience is that you are better off backing yourself and applying directly to organisations that you would like to work for.

    It shows initiative and organisational skills and importantly often means that you do not have to ascertain what a recruiters true motives are.

  2. Craig,

    I agree. It’s always best to try to get referred in by an employee or someone who knows an employee.

    Thank you,


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