Contacting Recruiters

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • How do I find a recruiter?
  • How do I know I have a good recruiter?
  • What do I say to a recruiter when I want a new job?

In a previous cast, we talked about how many managers don't understand the importance of taking recruiters' calls, and walked through step by step (hey, this is Manager Tools) how to handle those calls. What to say, and what to learn, and how to proceed.

But there's another side to the recruiting relationship, isn't there? What if you want to contact a recruiter, without waiting for them to call you? Maybe you're recognizing a change in opportunities where you are, or you want to move in a different direction, or perhaps it's as simple as suddenly inheriting a terrible boss, and alarm bells are going off in your head.

How does one contact a recruiter? What are the basics to consider, and how does one approach them when you're going to initiate contact? It's easy if you do it step by step, the Manager Tools way!

Note: During the show, we mentioned we would post a couple of links to some recruiter resources. Hunt-Scanlon is a provider of information about the executive recruiting business - great resource for access to recruiters. Kennedy is a well known technology executive recruiting firm.

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Nice podcast on contacting recruiters,

Nice podcast on contacting recruiters, as was the resume cast which I revisited recently. I am strongly considering a career move in the next year. A question--I have intentionally stayed in one job/place the past 8+ years for some stability in our family life, and it has been a long time since I had any contact with recruiters. Prior to that, I did have a very good encounter with one particular recruiter and ended up on the short list for the position he cold called me about (although the field eventually narrowed to two other candidates). I then relocated twice within the company I'm still with, both times for good promotions, before deciding to stay put for a while. The recruiter I dealt with now owns that firm, and I am planning to call him. Am I at any particular advantage or disadvantage with him, having dealt with him so long ago and then dropped out of sight? Keep up the good work. You guys are indeed changing the world.

Advantage. He does "know" you...

Advantage. He does "know" you... though don't be shocked if he struggles to remember. He has done well, you've made reasonable choices...

Call him.


Hi guys - Great job on your

Hi guys - Great job on your podcasts!
I get a lot of really good tips listening to your podcasts.
I am having difficulty downloading this podcast to my computer though.
Do you know why?

Balki, Would love to help ... could


Would love to help ... could you explain what your doing and what kinds of errors you're seeing?


First, I'd like to say thank you to

First, I'd like to say thank you to Mark and Mike for a terrific job and dedication with Manager-Tools. I got turned onto Manager Tools about 6 months ago, and even though I'm still a few shows behind, and still catching up, a lot of the content has been very helpful in my job, as well as the managers who report to me. Keep the excellent and down to earth useful content comming.

One comment on the Contacting Recruiters podcast. There were comments about the guilt about contacting recruiters on company time as a conflict of interest or not in the best interest of your company. I have justified that conflit to myself, and I think others can for themselves as well, by understanding that periodic discussions with a recruiter do not always have to be a one way relationship. There may be opportunities for the recruiter to have candidates in positions where the manager is looking to fill, or may act as a conduit for the recruiter's or manager's network expansion, to both parties benefit. I've been sucessful in doing this with a few recruiters over the years, have found more than one excellent hire when I was not really in the market for someone but they had a skill set which I needed, and another situation where I was able to expand the network of the recruiter and a peer of mine.

Keep up the great work guys!!


Great podcast that I wish I had

Great podcast that I wish I had listened to a month ago, as I really feel burned by a head hunter.

I like the tip about making the recruiter promise not to broadcast my resume under pain of death.

Can we take the pain of death promise one step further: can I make a recruiter promise that my resume is being submitted only for the specific opening I was contacted about and that my resume cannot be forwarded to the company’s general resume database?

In my last conversation with the headhunter, she told me she had forwarded my resume to “HR” and that if other jobs came up that matched my profile, and I got the job; she would be protected for a year. Like your podcast said, she isn’t working for me and in the two months since our conversation, my phone has not rung—even though by browsing the company’s career site, I can see they have a handful of openings that match my profile.

After listening to your podcast, that protection means that the cost of her protection may be that I am blocked from getting interviewed for any future job openings with that company.

ABCooper- Yep. Sorry it happened to


Yep. Sorry it happened to you.

You CAN ask her to remove it from the company's files...but you won't ever be able to use her firm again (at least until she leaves).


Thanks for the reply. Now two more

Thanks for the reply. Now two more questions about recruiters and John Lucht's "executive recruiting in reverse--" outplacement firms.

What do you think about the internet sites like Ritesite, Netshare, Execunet... which will help me network with recruiters, for a fee?

Leading me to this question: what advice do you have on working with outplacement firms. I have been assigned to DBM (I was laid off in November). It was DBM which recommended the sites above, and more.


I wouldn't generally pay for the

I wouldn't generally pay for the service - there are plenty of ways to find out firms that can be helpful to you.

Outplacement firms aren't that effective - they're not paid to get you a job, they're usually paid to spend a certain amount of time with you. They're not incented for placements. They work for the firm you're leaving, so they are not naturally aligned with what you're going through.

On the other hand, they're INCREDIBLY more effective than sitting at home beating yourself up. The discipline will be helpful, and you'll get further faster.

Just don't think they're helping you get a job. They are not. They are making you feel better with some low level services. Leverage that into making your search more of a disciplined project approach.


I just discovered your podcast a week

I just discovered your podcast a week ago and have enjoyed catching up. Your conversational, collegial format is almost deceptive – I’ve caught myself doing a double-take now and then to catch some particularly sharp guidance. Thank you.

Great advice on recruiters and protecting distribution of my resume – if I’ve spent 20 years of 5+ day weeks crafting a career, why on Earth would I GIVE all that work to a near stranger in exchange for an unclear outcome? I wouldn't invest my life savings that way, and isn't it really the same thing?

May I offer another perspective about candidates? To a recruiter, candidates are inventory. A recruiter’s reputation and success are built on the quality of their inventory, their knowledge of how a class of offerings will meet the buyer’s needs, and the presentation of those potential offerings/solutions.

Keep up the great work, gentlemen.

Thanks for the kind words, Dean. Glad

Thanks for the kind words, Dean. Glad you're getting value from our work, even if you have to think twice to do it, just because we're having fun!


This was an excellent podcast. I never

This was an excellent podcast. I never knew about how a search company might blanket employers with my resume in order to skim a commission without having done any work. That's really surprising. I will definitely be taking the advice to forbid distribution without prior approval in the future.

I've encountered the situation before where I was in the market to leave my company and I found that every contracting agency and recruiter I approached was either a preferred vendor or hoping to get on the list. I couldn't get any of them to consider me as a candidate until I quit my current job.

It never even occurred to me to build relationships with the very recruiters who were pinging me every day. I wonder how many other people are as obtuse about such obvious connections and relationships they already have and don't even think to leverage them?

Probably a lot in the IT sector.

All the podcasts are fantastic.Thanks

All the podcasts are fantastic.Thanks very much. I wanted to ask a question about giving recruiters your resume. Your rule is never to do that without a clear job opportunity. However, I spoke with a friend who is a recruiter, and she said they needed to review the resume in order to match you to possible jobs. I'm interested in looking at other opportunities, and have contacted a local recruiter. Naturally, she asked me to send my resume. Does your rule still apply? thanks for any comments!

Butlem01- I don't think we said


I don't think we said NEVER, and sorry if we left that impression. We recommend that you prohibit recruiters from sending out your resume without your approval. We do understand that they want to see it...but what they do with it otherwise can be problematic.


This was a great podcast as is so many

This was a great podcast as is so many of the others that Manager Tools (Mark & Mike) have put together.

In the podcast you mention having / maintaining a relationship with more than one recruiter. I can speak from personal experience as to the importance of your recommendation.

In the past I worked with one recruiter for my last two jobs. Unfortunately, I failed to maintain contact with this recruiter, and failed to cultivate a relationship with an additional recruiter. This recruiter has since left the business.

I have begun developing a relationship with another recruiter (as per Manager Tools) whom I was referred to by a colleague in my industry.

I don’t want to put “all my eggs in one basket”.

As I pursue cultivating a relationship with an additional recruiter should I tell him / her that I have begun working with the 1st recruiter and vice versa?


Mike and Mark: I cannot express

Mike and Mark:

I cannot express enough gratitude for the work that you have done with Manager Tools. The recent interviewing series in particular is FAN-TAS-TIC!!! Unbelievable work and perfect timing for my situation.

Regarding recruiters: I have a small network that I trust. My job search is limited to a single city and I have a specific discipline that I am chasing after. Being fairly adept at using the internet, I believe that I am finding all of the right opportunities as they appear. My question to you: Is there an advantage to passing an opportunity that I find along to a trusted recruiter as opposed to applying directly myself?

Again, GREAT work. Thank you.

Greg- I don't see any problem with


I don't see any problem with that, and your recruiter ought to be thrilled. It's going to take more than lettting them know about the opening - the real value would be the contact with someone internal who can get the recruiter a shot at it.


Mark - My husband, Help desk

Mark -

My husband, Help desk administrator not a manager but a doer, was laid off 5 months ago. I am wondering if rule about prohibiting recruiters from sending out your resume without your approval applies also for non-managers. As quiet frankly the idea of being blocked from a job because a recruiter just randomly sent out his resume makes me second guess using a recruiter.

This is my first time listening to one of your podcasts and it gave me lots to think about.



Website refresh Prep, Example Links are broken

hunt scalon has folded due to financial improprieties,

the kennedy link is broken.


No more Hunt-Scanlon

 I just came on to post the same thing about Hunt Scanlon. Saw the article.