Why it’s important to network with recruiters
The value of passive candidates
I saw a post from someone recently complaining quite vociferously about being contacted by a head hunter. The message from this individual, was that if he was looking for a job he would **#!** well let them know. I checked out his LinkedIn profile and his contact settings were “open for job inquiries”. So I was a little surprised as you might imagine, at the ferocity of his feelings, his diatribe taking up a whole page.
I am very lucky.
Most people are happy to hear from me. I am highly visible and it’s easy to check out my credentials. If on the rare occasion they are not, I thank them for their time and invite them to stay in touch. Most are super accommodating and know well that the next call they get from me could be the opportunity of a life time. Those that aren’t – I remember! First impressions really do count.
Why a polite two minute networking conversation is so important
Even if you are not active on the job market it is always useful being open towards approach calls. I can understand multiple calls can become intrusive. However, simply changing contact settings on LinkedIn will deter all but the most crassly insensitive.
The latest Market Research from Execunet indicates that search companies contact 65% of candidates via networking and their own data bases, with an additional 14% coming from general research ( passive candidate identification). A number of openings are not advertised widely (it’s not as many as the urban myths maintain) which has become known as “the hidden job market.” This is more of a networked market and means that individuals need to make themselves highly visible to search professionals or directly in contact with them.
A good recruiter or search consultant will help you stay in touch with the job market and will contact you for any matching opportunities. This is not just about you! This is also the best way he can serve his client. It is why it is always useful to send a strongly keyworded resume to a head hunter, even if there is no interest at that particular moment, because the company will upload it onto their data base for future reference. Or easier still, as this will take only seconds, connect on any internet professional platform, LinkedIn, Viadeo, Xing etc.
Just as importantly make sure your profile is always up to date. This allows you to appear in any appropriate searches and facilitates contact when a potential opportunity arises in the future, even if it’s years later.
Some individuals have also expressed concern about being openly connected to search professionals in this way. They fear it may be seen as a sign of instability or disloyalty to their existing employer. Truthfully, as companies are very willing to lay off employees as we have seen, the concept of loyalty is being constantly redefined. My own view that not to work with reputable professionals or specialists is simply short-sighted.
It will be these very same people who at the first sign of a problem begin to panic and complain about recruiters not making time for them. Search consultants work for their clients, not you, so the best time to cultivate them is when they call you.
The lesson that has been well learned during over the years is that strategic ongoing wide networking and raising visibility in this day and age should no longer be the preserve of the dynamic go-getter, but imperative for everyone.
As we know, there is great strength in a weak network!
If you need support with your networking strategy – get in touch NOW!
Updated in 2021
I couldn’t agree more. I have some head-hunter contacts that I value greatly. I met them mainly through their approaching me and I have put them in touch with other colleagues who are available (more than once very successfully). They have also been very generous with advice to colleagues about job search. I was honoured to be approached and remain very proud of these valuable people in my my network.
Wendy – thanks for your comment. While there are clearly lines towards intrusiveness which should not be crossed, if individuals are contacted by headhunters but are not open for a move, it takes 2 minutes to say so and suggest contacting on LinkedIn or similar for future reference. It’s simply part of the networking process.
Great advice. I think this is just part of being responsible for your own future. Any employer that would be upset has a case of “reverse entitlement” – if you want loyalty you have to earn it. When my father noticed someone was unhappy who worked for him he would actually give them the card of one of his favorite headhunters (and be clear that he was not giving them a hint that they were not about to be fired!). They were always stunned. It was his way of reminding people they always had a choice. For him it worked really well!
I wonder sometimes if people equate talking to a search firm while you have a job with signing up for a dating service while you are in a committed relationship. A job is a contract, but has no “til death do us part” clause explicitly or implicitly!
Thanks Susan for great observations! It is about being responsible for your own future and sometimes individuals show greater loyalty to their companies than their partners! Your dad’s technique sounded as though it worked!
FULLY AGREE WITH YOUR STATEMENT DOROTHY.
I DO SHARE YOUR VIEW ON THE IMPORTANCE FOR A ‘strategic ongoing wide networking and raising visibility in this day and age’.
Global Marketing Manager
Thanks Franck for your comment – many candidates do not fully understand the importance of ongoing networking. If they only network when they are looking for a job – it is already late! None of us ever know what is around the corner and best to be prepared!
Excellent advice. I think if your aren’t networking your future opportunities are at risk.
Thanks Mark for your comment. I agree entirely.
Hello Dorothy ,
I fully recognise the value of been contact by a recruiter.
This is always a good sign of your image and value in the market, additionnaly you can also help some friend via networking.
Thanks Jean – if a search professional contacts you it’s an ideal moment to make your own mini pitch. So carpe diem!