Should You Stay in Touch with the Recruiter after You Didn\'t Get the Job?
Recruiters have a tough job. In addition to being in the position of saying “No” many more times than ever having the privilege of saying “Yes,” they are busier than ever with running complex applicant tracking system (ATS) software at their companies. Some recruiters are even managing their own consultancies, where every second of effort counts toward their bottom line.
Let’s take a look at perspectives on dealing with recruiters in an always-on, hyper-competitive, and applicant-crowded recruiting environment. We can also develop insights into how recruiters work, so that you can present yourself in a more compelling and favorable light, perhaps accelerating an application process that can land you your next desired position.
Yesterday’s Network — The Good Old Days
In the days before internet and recruitment management systems, both applicants and recruiters stayed in touch even after a single hiring decision did not turn into a job match, and here’s why:
Applicant Referrals. A good recruiter realized that the best way to get through to good people was through other good people. If one particular applicant did not work out, for whatever reason, chances were that the applicant knew other professionals in the industry. This is how resourceful recruiters built their networks.
Hiring Referrals. Applicants stayed in touch with independent recruiters and often alerted them to when their company was in a hiring mode. The recruiter could then use this inside information in seeking out potential contract work, and the applicant could maintain a professional relationship with the recruiter for future career security should the recruiter’s help be needed again in the future.
General Goodwill. In a way, it was just good business for both sides to be helpful to one another. Recruiters held a lot more long-term power in an era when available jobs were only advertised by Help Wanted ads, yet they understood that they were only as strong as their applicant pool, so recruiters generally treated their applicants very well.
Nowadays, these traditional relationships are largely non-existent. Recruiters working in networking databases and other recruitment systems are drowning in resumes. Job seekers often feel that recruiters do not have any need to rely on or maintain relationships with applicants.
The efficiencies promised by the use of automated ATS software has meant that the recruiting process is less human than ever. At the same time, recruiters still claim that finding the right applicants for hard-to-fill positions is still a challenge.
Today — LinkedIn
For both job seeker and recruiter, LinkedIn now serves as the ultimate foundation for recruiting and job-seeking efforts. Applicants regularly perform keyword searches for both company names and their occupation’s name through LinkedIn’s job search function in hopes of finding a way into to their ideal companies.
Likewise, recruiters often seek out candidates via LinkedIn, performing keyword searches for particular skills or experiences. This, in itself, presents another case for keeping your LinkedIn profile up-to-date and as keyword-rich as possible. Connecting through LinkedIn seems like a good idea for both parties to connect and discuss job possibilities.
What Happens Next?
What happens if you go through the entire application and interview process and still do not get the job? What happens now?
A good recruiter will continue to keep you in his or her LinkedIn network — and of course you know to not remove this recruiter as a connection. Even if one particular job did not work out, the recruiter has made a personal connection with you and knows that you are likely to be connected to others in your industry. Your LinkedIn connections will show up as second connections when the recruiter performs future prospective applicant searches. You can become a valuable asset in this recruiter’s quest to find the next perfect candidate.
In addition, now that you have become connected with the recruiter, you may have more direct contact information (e.g., private email and possibly a phone number). At some point, when it makes sense to reach out to the recruiter, explain where you are in your job search and ask if he or she has any ideas or knows of any opportunities.
The point is to serve as a resource for the recruiter — an information source who provides guidance and value. The recruiter may not be the hiring manager for the next open position, but if he or she sees your value, then rest assured that a good word will be put in for you.
An Act of Selflessness Wins Every Time
When you are intently focused on finding your next opportunity, it may be difficult to think of others’ employment situations. Are you are familiar with the concept of ‘paying it forward’? If so, then you will understand why it might be worth your time to perform an act of kindness or selflessness for your recruiter and a colleague.
If you see the right opportunity, you could play matchmaker between a trusted colleague and a recruiter with whom you have connected. When acting in this position, make sure that a meaningful job opportunity exists for your colleague and a great match exists to meet your recruiter’s objectives. This thoughtful act will leave an indelible mark on both parties — and at the same time, get your name remembered for broadening opportunities for you.
After all, it is impossible for you to identify and apply to every single appropriate job opportunity. By growing and strengthening your network of colleagues with whom you have demonstrated your value, you are essentially creating an ad-hoc recruiting team who seeks out additional career opportunities for you.
In a way, you will have turned an act of kindness into an efficient recruiting process for yourself. Well done!
As you continue to work with recruiters, always ask them, ‘Is there anything further that I can do for you?’ You will be happy that you did.
(Article Written by Jake Wengroff , edited by Jeanie Lyubelsky)
Comment by Michael
I\'ve never thought about it being important to maintain a relationship with the recruiter after I didn\'t get the job. However, this article did make a lot of sense, so I\'ll be doing so in the future.
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