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As a recruiter focused on the nonprofit sector, I've interacted with thousands of candidates over the years. And I've often wished that more people understood how to fully leverage the recruiter-job candidate relationship. To that end, here are some tips for working with a recruiter that will help you land your dream job in the new year.
Return our calls! A recruiter could be reaching out to you to tap your network or to see whether you're interested in a particular position. While you might not be looking for a job today, taking five minutes to return the recruiter's email or call will help you establish a relationship that could lead to your next professional opportunity. It's worth the time and effort.
Be honest and open about your compensation requirements, whether you are willing to relocate, and other potentially sticky issues, including whether you have been contacted by or are working with other recruiters. A good recruiter will be able to guide you through those issues to a satisfactory outcome — but only if you're honest and up front with her.
Leverage your recruiter's experience to help you navigate the hiring process. When working with a recruiter, be sure to ask questions about what you should emphasize, what you should downplay, and how to manage questions about gaps in your experience. It's in a recruiter's best interests to help his or her candidates shine, and you might be surprised at how effectively we can help you do that.
Be prepared to talk numbers.Whether it's fundraising results, press mentions, or a metric that demonstrates the success of an initiative you were responsible for, be prepared to share measurable performance indicators with your recruiter, who most certainly will use them to underscore your expertise to clients — and maybe your next boss!
Ask for feedback. After you've interviewed for a position, don't hesitate to ask a recruiter for feedback on your performance. A recruiter's feedback is the best way for you to hear what you did well, where you may have stumbled, and what you need to do to put your best foot forward at the next stage of the process.
If you are reaching out to a recruiter about a role you're interested in or to establish contact, make sure to prepare a quick sketch of who you are and what you're looking for so you can, when the moment comes, relay that information to the recruiter quickly and concisely.
Stay in touch. If a particular job doesn't pan out, don't give up on the relationship with the firm that brought it to your attention. Make sure you're on their newsletter and email lists and do offer up referrals and suggestions if they reach out to you for help. It's also a good idea to reach out to them with updates to your job status, whether it's a promotion, a new job, or something else that might affect your candidate profile.
A recruiter can be an incredible asset in helping you land your dream job, and whenever an opportunity to work with one presents itself, you should take advantage of it. If you do, the tips above will help ensure that you get the most out of the relationship. Happy job hunting. And Happy New Year!
Molly Brennan is a managing partner at Koya Leadership Partners, a national executive search firm dedicated to the nonprofit sector, where she oversees the firm’s executive search services function.