Monday, May 24, 2010

How To Bug A Recruiter

Anyone who has ever sold something or has tried to close a deal has the same issue: When should you make the call to follow up. Tomorrow? Two days from now? Next Friday? Truth is, no one knows for sure; there is no magic formula. It just has to feel right.

There are people who are looking for jobs who call me twice a week, which is annoying. There are people who call or email every week – annoying but acceptable. There are people who call me every couple of weeks, which is fine. The truth is, that the second any recruiter gets a job in which is right for someone, the candidate will be contacted. People mistakenly assume that if a recruiter doesn’t call them that they aren’t liked. It simply isn’t true. It means that based on the criteria a recruiter’s clients are asking, that they don’t have an appropriate job.

I can generally tell when the people who call too frequently have gotten a job. They stop calling or emailing altogether.

The job market is still sluggish, despite reports of improvements. National unemployment is still at about 9.7%. I am sure advertising unemployment is up around 15%. Keeping in touch with your recruiters is essential for your career. A periodic email update is all that is necessary. I have written columns about keeping recruiters informed of what you are doing and the changes which have occurred in your work and personal life. I often hear from someone is out of work and sends a new résumé. On it, I see that they never told me about their last couple of experiences. Those positions might have made them perfect for a job I recently had. But I didn’t know about their new experience. It breaks my heart.

Then there are people who don’t call or email at all. I met them once and never hear from them again, which is too bad for them.  Every good recruiter should see five to ten people or more each week and cannot possibly call each of them to follow up and say hello. So it falls on candidates to call or email their recruiters. Please. Personally, I can only help if I know where people I have met are and what you are up to. An update a couple or three times a year is fine. Unless you have a change. In which case, I want to know right away. If you have gotten a raise, change in title, change in account or a new job, by all means call or email.

Unlike other businesses, advertising people move a lot. Recruiters have to know about new experiences. We all work on great memories and good computer software programs. If I can put someone’s new information in my database, I know their name will come up the next time I am doing a search that is suddenly right for  them.

And then, I hear the opposite story from candidates - recruiters who don't return calls.  I have never understood that kind of rudeness.   My philosophy has always been that people grow and change.  I always want to speak to people I have met. 

So call or email me.  And let me hear your stories.  And if anyone has the formula for how and when to follow up, let me know that, too.


  1. One of the most helpful posts ever. Who knew that we should bug you when we are happy in our jobs? Great advice. Your post has encouraged me to reach out to some old friends in recruiting who aren't as clever as you and have a blog that makes me think about them often.

  2. Dear Anonymous: The best time to talk to a recruiter is when you are happy. When you are happy, you will be relaxed and honest. so when are you going to call me (and tell me who you are)?

  3. Livingston MillerMay 25, 2010 at 9:36 AM

    I love to get follow ups that are more than "Nice to meet ya, thanx for the meeting." What I mean is something with content that directly relates to a topic we discussed in person: an article, an observation, a fact. It show the candidate was not only listening, but reacting.


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