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Communicating with recruiters

Tips on making contact with recruiters, how to stand out and when you should follow up.

Image of multicoloured speech bubbles hanging down on string When job-hunting first impressions are key and this includes making initial contact with recruiters. With this in mind we asked the experts what the best ways to communicate with recruiters are, how to stand out (for all the right reasons) and how long the optimum time is to leave before following up.

How to make initial contact with recruiters

If you’re responding to a job advertisement knowing how to make contact is straightforward – simply use the method stated in the description. However, if you’re making a prospective enquiry then it can be a little tougher knowing who to speak to and what way is best to approach them.

The Managing Director of CVbrowser advises on first heading to the company’s website.

“If you’re making a prospective enquiry then you can either use a form off the company’s website specifically for recruitment or, if provided, an email address. In the first instance try not to call a contact you haven’t been introduced to out of the blue as you risk the possibility of catching them at a bad time, which may not work out too well for you.”

“If in doubt email is always the best medium today,” agrees the Founder and Managing Director of 2B Interface. “Most recruiters will be well versed in using online resources to headhunt and filter candidates; so social media – particularly LinkedIn – may also be more fruitful than an unsolicited call.”

Ways to make yourself stand out

Extravagant gestures are not the way to a recruiters’ heart; the key is to keep it simple and get it right. Your focus should be on your CV - ensure it is error free and don’t make the mistake of using fancy fonts or inks. These just make CVs harder to read and often mean they end up in the bin at the first round.

“One of the simplest ways to make your application stand out is to tailor your CV to the specific role,” says the Managing Director of Hales Group. “Have one generic CV on tap at all times but then create unique CVs including as much reference as possible to the job you’re applying for.”

Also make your CV easy on the eye during skim reads. Include your skills and responsibilities in bullet points to a maximum of ten, and include the names of previous employers in bold.

“Even if the recruiter only sees these things they can easily assess how good a fit you are for the role in question,” notes 2B Interface’s MD.

When to follow up with recruiters

You shouldn’t fear being proactive when it comes to communicating with recruiters, but at the same time there’s a fine line you need to walk between enthusiasm and harassment.

The experts suggest leaving 24 hours before following up on initial contact even if it’s just to confirm receipt of your application. When it comes to checking in after a closing date they recommend waiting a week. No news at that point? Then it’s the perfect time to follow up and see if they have any information to share.

“When it comes to interviews you should follow up with your recruiter as soon as possible to get feedback,” continues the Business Director of Hays Engineering. “If you have any additional questions about the role they can also help put those to the interviewer.

“Also keep in touch with your recruiter to make sure they think of you when a suitable role comes up. And one final tip – if a recruiter calls or emails you do try to respond as soon as possible. They may be working on a position with a quick turnaround and delaying your response could mean missing out on an opportunity to be put forward for a role.”