How to build a relationship with a recruiter

career pivot career tips job hunting networking Dec 15, 2022
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Have you ever been contacted by a recruiter over email or LinkedIn – maybe even through a phone call? 


This is because something about your online presence told the recruiter you are a good fit for the job they are trying to fill at a company. Your experience and qualifications invited you into their talent pool and now they’re trying to get you hired.


In an ideal world, you are contacted by a recruiter every time you are looking for a new job. Unfortunately, this is not the case. 


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You may have great experience, but there is a lot of talent to choose from. There will be recruiters who never come across your social media profiles. That doesn’t mean it’s time to give up. It means it’s time to make their job easier. 


It’s time to find your recruiter and develop a relationship with them so you are top of mind for the next job they are trying to fill.


There are hundreds of thousands of tech companies, philanthropic organizations, health companies, retail companies, and more. Most of these companies will have recruitment departments or outsource with a recruitment company to bring in talent. 


Let’s break down the types of recruiters you will encounter and how it may change your approach. 


Types of recruiter 


Internal recruiters seek candidates to fill positions within the company they work for. They are also known as in-house recruiters. They can look for candidates internally or outside the company, to fill a role. These recruiters are part of the company’s human resource team. 


More specifically, there is the corporate recruiter, which could be the HR manager or hiring manager. They are responsible for writing job descriptions, screening resumes, interviewing candidates and making offers. They organize the onboarding process and keep records of candidates and hires for the company. 


If you can connect with an internal recruiter, their familiarity with the company, its brands, and its needs may help you get a job that is closer to your liking. They can tell you everything you need to know about a company you are already interested in, and there will likely be little surprises about their expectations and what you will get during the interview or onboarding process.



External recruiters work for an agency that a company hires to find talent to apply for jobs. 


Retained recruiters get paid a fixed fee for finding talent to apply for their jobs, whether their candidates are hired or not. Contingency recruiters get paid when the professional they scouted gets hired by the company.


This is what is like for the contingency recruiter, who is given information about the role they are trying to fill. They either send information out to their agency’s talent pool of job-seekers or they research other people who are perfect for the job. They collect their fee from the hiring company when the qualified candidate gets hired. 


If you connect with an external recruiters, your job options increase because they have many companies as clients trying to fill roles. One closed position doesn’t mean it is the end of the line. Sometimes the recruiter will reach out to you first because they are familiar with your qualifications and something fitting will come across their desk.


How to find their information

There are three main places to find a recruiter’s contact information: LinkedIn, the company, or email finders



On LinkedIn, you have direct access to them through a message request and inbox. You can sometimes find their email on their profile too if you want more than 300 characters to introduce yourself.


Most job ads will have a “meet the hiring team” ribbon that tells you who is searching for talent. 

Source: LinkedIn Product Manager search results


This person may be a recruiter, which means you know the person to reach out to. It may also be a director or manager, which means you may have to express your interest in the job and ask to be put in touch with a recruiter. Or the team may not have a recruiter at all.



You can contact the company, communicate your interest in a career with them, and request the contact information of a recruiter so you can learn more.



Email finding websites can connect you to people’s emails who use a company domain name. Here are a few to choose from:


Starting the relationship

If you’re starting on LinkedIn, make sure you have adjusted your visibility settings so people can see that you have seen their profile.


This will notify recruiters that you are looking at their profiles. Showing them your name, face, and title could get them to click your profile and learn more to see if you are what they are currently looking for. 


This can be done in 4 steps:

  1. Select “Me” at the top of the LinkedIn homepage and then select “Settings & Privacy”   
  2. Select “Visibility”   
  3. Select “profile viewing options”  
  4. Make your name and headline visible when viewing others’ profiles

If you’re connecting over LinkedIn, always invite them with a personal message. You don’t want to be a generic invitation. You want them to know that you know their name, where they work, and that you are interested in connecting with them over job openings. 


A simple message can get the ball rolling:

Hey [their name], I’m [your name] and I’m interested in [industry/company]. In the past I have [worked at/studied at/created my own]. I would love to connect to learn more about any open positions you are working on.  


If you find their email, you have more space to work with. This is where you can use more detail to make yourself memorable – and tell them you’re not just sending cold emails to everyone. Try using mutual connections, interests, or location to open up:


  • Hey [their name], it’s nice to meet someone who is connected to [mutual connection]
  • Hey [their name], it’s great to see another Barrie connection! 
  • Hey [their name], loved your post about your golfing experience.



Followed by who you are:

I’m [name], and I’ve worked in marketing for the past two years.


Explain what you are seeking in their company:

I have always admired Apple’s branding, commitment to excellence, and work culture. Joining their marketing team is a career goal of mine.


Or if you have a more general job hunt, jump right into what you have to offer:

I have been looking for marketing specialist and coordinator roles across tech and health companies. Do you have any insight on companies seeking to fill these positions?


Explain what you want from them, whether you have a job in mind you know they are recruiting for, if you want to be top of mind for future options, or if you would like to know what they currently have on their desk to see if you are a good fit. Make the recruiters job easier by telling them what you want and what you can give.


But do so politely. Recruiting is their job, but they don’t work for you. They are doing demanding and often time-sensitive work while trying to build connections and help change people’s lives. The last thing they need is a sense of entitlement or chasing someone for information. 


Finish your email with an opportunity for them to stay in touch with you:


  • Let me know if you are interested in getting coffee or meeting virtually. 
  • I would love to connect with other people seeking jobs in this area. Please let me know if there are any industry networking events coming up or if you know anyone who is interested in meeting other professionals.



It’s important that you leave a concise resume that shows your breadth of experience. Education and experience is important, but remember to use details about the specific projects you worked on and achievements you made with organizations to demonstrate your deliverables. This means your hobbies and volunteer activities are also important. Your resume should be up-to-date and no more than two pages. 


You never know when a recruiter will see your resume, review it, or send it on to another person. If you have more experience coming in or have made significant achievements, you may want to update your resume. 


Instead of emailing recruiters over and over again, consider making a resume on Canva. With Canva, you can download your resume into a PDF, but you can also share it as a link. You can adjust the link options to make sure anyone who has the link can view the resume. When you edit your resume, the changes will appear on the link you have sent to the recruiter. 

Source: Canva resume building

You can also explain this to the recruiter to avoid any confusion:


Please find my resume attached as a PDF. Since I am still responsible for key activities at work and expanding my experience, I may update my resume as necessary. Here is a link to my resume to reflect those changes. 

Leave your contact information: phone number, LinkedIn, Twitter, website. Any of these spaces is a great way for them to learn more about you. They could pass your information on to others or have a good reference point for positions that come across their desk. 


Maintaining the relationship

Maintaining a relationship with a recruiter does not mean emailing them every week. It means staying on their radar.


Recruiters are constantly researching to find new candidates and check on how current ones are doing. They are on LinkedIn, Twitter, Medium, Facebook, and other content and social websites to learn more about what people have to offer. Simply updating your profiles, sharing wins at work, speaking about trends in the industry, offering encouragement to peers, and commenting on the news will keep you on their radar. 


You can check in once or month or so, to see if they have any leads. If a job you wanted lands in someone else’s hands, be sure to thank the recruiter for their help anyway. 


Your gratitude and your consistency will pay off in the long run. 


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