Tips for Working With a Recruiter

More often than not, workers only turn to recruiters for help when they’re actively seeking new jobs. However, building a long-term relationship with a specialized recruiting firm is an often-overlooked career strategy that will help keep the door open for future finance and accounting job opportunities you might not find otherwise.

If a recruiter reaches out to you, it’s a great opportunity to forge a professional relationship, even if you aren’t interested in leaving your current job. With the proper approach, you can make a valuable contact who might be able to help you later in your career.

Expert Advantage on Speed Dial

"After your family, your career is probably one of the most important things in your life," said Steve Saah, Robert Half's Director of Permanent Placement Services in Washington, D.C. "You want to have a couple of key relationships established well in advance so that you have someone to turn to when needed. That need may be driven by you, or it may come as a complete shock. Either way, having someone you can confide in who is an expert in your field is always an advantage."

Robert Half Finance & Accounting Vice President Danann Smith said someone once told her to you should have your doctor, your lawyer and your recruiter on speed dial ... "just in case."

"You never know what tomorrow holds, especially related to your career," Danann said. "Things change in our personal lives, our professional lives, and the business world. These changes may prompt you to take a look at the job market. Having a relationship with a recruiter will give you insight into market conditions and company profiles you would not normally know about and provide you a head start on your search."  

Clear, Open, Honest Communication

The average recruiter spends several hours on the phone a day, and receives a steady onslaught of emails. 

“Ask your recruiter how they like to communicate with their candidates [email versus phone] and how often you should check in with them, and then try and stick to periods of time you’ve mutually agreed to,” says Steven Fields, Robert Half Finance & Accounting Senior Vice President, based in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The biggest key to building a long-term relationship is open, honest communication, Saah added. "When you do that over a period of time, you develop a business relationship with someone you can trust and have confidence in that they have your best interests in mind."

Think Long-Term

“It never hurts to listen to a call, as it just might be the right job for you even if you are not looking,” Fields said. 

You can’t know for sure the direction your financial career path might take. Maintaining a strong professional relationship with a specialized recruiting firm could open up doors that might have otherwise remained closed. Even if your first experience with a recruiter involves turning down an offer, you can flip the situation around and make it work in your favor. Use the opportunity to establish a mutually beneficial connection.  

Let the recruiter be your “eyes and ears” to the market, Smith suggested. 

"Recruiters know that confidentiality within their network is key to a good relationship," she said. "Trust your recruiter to bring opportunities to your attention that you may be interested in pursuing. If you are not interested in the particular position they are working on, have a conversation with them about why it would not be a good fit and what may pique your interest. This gives the recruiter direction in the event they have an opportunity that is a good match for you in the future."  

Share your tips for maintaining a strong relationship with a recruiter or a specialized recruiting firm in the comments section. 

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