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Keeping Strong Bonds with Recruiters

While social media is helping some job seekers make connections they couldn’t otherwise make and even helping them land interviews with potential employers, one traditional way of finding work is still holding strong – that of executive recruiters. Employers like them because recruiters, ideally, have a strong handle on the type of talent that exists and the means for influencing promising people to give the company a look. And potential employees use them under the belief recruiters or headhunters can be the most direct way to get noticed or their foot in the door.

Whether you use recruiters in your role as a hiring manager or as a job-seeker, you need to treat your relationship with them as you would any other business relationship. Don’t burn any bridges and tend to the relationship so that you will stay top of mind when you need their services down the road. Here are principles you need to keep in mind when dealing with recruiters:

Don’t be incommunicado: When you’re in the midst of job searching but still trudging along at your current position, it’s easy to inadvertently blow off a recruiter when you need a break from the search or have had luck using another method or recruiter. But you never know when you’ll need to seek that person’s help again. Always respond to emails, even if it’s just a quick “Got it, thanks,” and let your recruiter know when you’ve found a job or filled a position – even if it’s not with that person’s help.

But don’t overdo the communication either: You may be anxious but you don’t want to come across as someone who is desperate. No one wants to hire a desperate worker even if that person is highly qualified. Keep on your recruiter for updates – and follow up on documents you send over to make sure they are received – but don’t nag.

View recruiters as a resource but not the only source: As managers, CFOs should view recruiters as people who may have access to the people they want. They shouldn’t see those in the hiring field as a mere resource they can use to their advantage for their own careers. This group can be particularly useful when finance leaders can clearly communicate the types of people who would be an asset to their workforce.

Follow protocol: While recruiters can often get you interviews, they can also hinder your ability to get one if they think you’re not qualified. For that reason, some job-seekers will try to circumvent a recruiter by trying to get the company’s attention some other way – for instance, through a former colleague or a LinkedIn connection. However, advised CFO coach Cindy Kraft in a discussion on Proformative, this is a bad idea. “If the recruiter has been hired by the company and the candidate goes around the recruiter, it sends a message to the company,” she wrote. “And it’s probably not the message the candidate would like to send.”

Be friendly: Searching for a job or an employee can be a grind, no doubt about it. You’ll need to power through that feeling to get where you want or who you want. A recent study from senior-executive networking group ExecuNet found 88 percent of senior-level executives said they would rather bring on someone with a good attitude, even if he or she is not the most qualified for the position. "Negativity can quickly become contagious in an organization and drag down performance," said Robyn Greenspan, chief content officer at ExecuNet. "B-players with great attitudes can likely become A-players in the right environment." Don’t let a bad day ruin your chances of getting your dream job.