Last week, a Twitter friend asked me, “How do I find a 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 (or the recruiting firms you want to work with) and reach out to establish relationships with their recruiters.
You can find most company and third-party recruiters via LinkedIn.
How Do I Find a Recruiter on LinkedIn?
If you’re asking that question, do this:
- Go to the LinkedIn People search box here.
- Then, look to the right for “All filters.”
- Click “All filters” and scroll down to “Keywords.”
- Enter one “Title” at a time from the list below.
- Still in “Keywords,” add a “Company” name to the right of “Title.”
- Hit return.
- If you want, narrow your results with more filters.
The Most Common Keywords in Recruiters’ LinkedIn Job Titles
To speed up your searches, I put together this list of the 10 most common recruiter job titles and job title keywords:
The results above come from current title search results since job seekers want to find people who recruit now, not in the past.
Your mileage may vary. LinkedIn’s search results can be fickle from one day to the next. Even so, it’s easy to see which words will get you the most hits and the more refined hits.
How to Reach Out
After you find recruiters of interest, send them a note like this:
I understand you’re the Finance 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 4 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.
Thanks in advance,
Be sure to:
- Tell the recruiter what you do.
- Describe the type of job that interests you.
- Give a quick example of a compelling accomplishment.
- Mention something positive about their company.
- Ask them to keep you in mind for future openings.
BTW, don’t ignore offshore recruiters because a 2015 Korn Ferry study found that 40% of U.S. companies offshore some or all of their recruiting.
Thus, if someone says they recruit for a particular company, don’t let their location prevent you from contacting them.
What If Your Target Companies Don’t Have Recruiters?
What if the company is too small to have an HR function or recruiters?
In that case, use LinkedIn to figure out who your hiring manager would be and reach out to connect with them.
What If They Aren’t Active on LinkedIn?
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. Thus, you might eliminate some or all of your competition by getting in early!
How Do I Find Good External Recruiters That Work with My Companies of Interest?
Now, what about finding external recruiters?
In the case above, our hypothetical accountant can find good outside recruiters by using the process already described and by reaching out to:
- Former colleagues
- Outside auditors
- Other external recruiters (they know who recruits for whom)
The big firms are great, but it’s important to understand that one recruiter can’t handle very many clients. That’s why there are so many of them.
While large firms can be very helpful, you also want to know the niche players important to you.
Thus, be sure to look for recruiters who work:
- With your target companies
- In your industry and micro-industry
- With people who have your particular skillset
Long-Term Relationships with Outside Recruiters
Know that it’s never too early to start building recruiter relationships.
Smart careerists find and 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
BTW, finding an external recruiter is one thing; vetting them is another. Working with a recruiting firm can be a pleasure or a nightmare.
Here are some steps you can take to vet recruiters:
- Try to work with people with at least 2 years of experience.
- Ask if they’re on a contingent-fee (commission) or retained (consulting).
- Contingent-fee recruiters might be mainly motivated by their commission.
- Check the recruiter out with people you both know.
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.
Let’s Connect on LinkedIn
Please invite me to connect on LinkedIn here. The more I know about my readers, the better I can make my blog.
Updated December 2021
© 2015 – 2021, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, authors all of AvidCareerist’s posts.
She has written for and been quoted by 100+ business and general media outlets, including Forbes, Mashable, Fast Company, Inc., Entrepreneur, CNBC, the New York Times, USA Today, Time, US News & World Report, CBS, the BBC, Lifehacker, Social Media Today, IT World, and Business News Daily.
Let her expertise inform your job search strategy and decision-making.
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