Whether you’re looking for a job or just want to keep your options open, connecting with recruiters on LinkedIn can help maximize your networking opportunities. Here’s how to approach recruiters to improve your chances of landing your dream job, today or down the road.
1. Use LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search to find recruiters in your field. In the keywords section, type in your field of interest and “recruiter.” For example, searching for “accounting recruiter” would result in a list of all recruiters who are currently working or have worked in the past with accounting. The next step is to check their profile, so as to be sure they still are in the field you are interested in and to connect with them.
2. Since not all recruiters are interested in networking (which could seem strange, but is still true, especially if they work for niche organizations or have moved on to different roles), another way to approach recruiters more confidently is to search by adding the acronym “LION” in the last name section of the advanced search discussed above. LION stands for LinkedIn Open Networker. This allows you to search for people who’ve expressed an interest in connecting, so chances of them accepting your invite are higher.
3. Look for common connections. If you have a connection in an organization you are interested in, you can ask them for an introduction to a recruiter in the organization through LinkedIn’s “Request an Introduction” option.
4. You can also join groups that interest you and connect with recruiters who have joined the same groups. This is especially helpful when LinkedIn asks you how you know the person you are trying to connect with, especially if you don’t have their email address, and do not know them through your connections.
How to Connect With Recruiters
Send a personalized message and keep it crisp and to the point.
Choose the appropriate option for “How do you know X?” on LinkedIn. Don’t say you’ve done business together, if you haven’t. You don’t want to start your relationship on a false note.
If you really do not know the recruiter, you should choose “Other” and enter the recruiter’s email address (active recruiters usually mention their email ID in their profiles). You could also choose “I do not know X” and customize your message if you do not have their email ID.
Laura Smith-Proul, Executive Director of An Expert Resume, suggests including “an explanation of your reasons for the contact and what you’re seeking.”
“It’s not enough to ask if the recruiter is seeking candidates with your background!” she warns.
Here’s a sample of the message she recommends:
As an IT auditor engaged in a search for new positions within the Chicago area, I am interested in finding out more about the positions you source. I’ve recently completed an assignment with Ernst & Young, and my intent is to build relationships within the banking community. I welcome any suggestions you might have for me, and as I maintain contact with colleagues in the auditing field, I can also help refer candidates to you. Thank you for your time.”
Smith-Proul says “…this first note stimulates dialogue that allows the recruiter to point out job listings from corporate websites, or to add the job seeker to an internal recruiting database. In addition, some recruiters will help you follow their current sourcing requirements by directing you to their primary method of streaming new job postings (such as a Twitter or RSS feed).”
Even if the recruiter replies that he/she will stay in touch when she has opportunities, do try to stay connected at least once a month, so the recruiter is aware of your skills and can reach out to you for suitable opportunities. Although it could get frustrating, not hearing back, don’t be pushy or annoying, if things are not moving as fast as you want them to. Maintaining a professional decorum is very important in your job hunt.
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Padmaja Ganeshan-Singh is a freelance writer and an HR professional with extensive experience in employee relations, talent management and career development. She can also talk endlessly on the merits and demerits of forced distribution and pay for performance. In her free time, she tries to figure out the personality type of people she meets using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. INTJ anyone?