Many employers use executive search firms to fill their senior positions and it’s always smart to build relationships with executive recruiters who specialise in the same industry as you do. This allows them to quickly contact you whenever they start working on a search for a role that’s closely aligned to your skills.

However, like all relationships, building good ones take time and here are some tips to get started on:

1. When contacting a recruiter for the first time via email, always address them by name.

Never send a "Hi" or "Dear Hiring Manager" email; these are all quickly overlooked especially if you are not a 100% match for the role.

2. Don’t send mass emails.

You’d be surprised how many emails we receive from candidates which are also cc-ed to many other recruiters. Our first instinct that you’re not that serious about your search and that you don’t value what we bring to the table.

3. Use the phone!

Yes, it does more than just text and email! It’s surprising how few candidates will call and enquire about a role these days - everything is done via email, sms or Whatsapp. We all know that messages can get overlooked in the sea of email we all receive each day. A good recruiter will be more likely to take time to review your resume if you make the effort to call and connect with them.

4. Avoid sending generic emails - recruiters see right thru this.

Yes, copy and paste is efficient, however, if you take one minute to personalise the email your chances of getting a response will increase significantly. Adding a personal touch can be as simple as reviewing their LinkedIn profile and commenting on an update they have recently posted.

5. Please do your homework - find a recruiter who specialises in your area of expertise.

There is very little point connecting with an engineering recruiter if you are an accountant - take the time, do the research and pick the right recruiters to connect with.

6. Tell the truth.

Sounds obvious, however, you’d be surprised by how much people leave off their CVs which later comes back to hurt them. Don’t exaggerate your credentials or accomplishments. We do research people’s backgrounds quite thoroughly and what’s discovered may hurt your reputation with a search professional, as well as with his or her clients.

7. Avoid duplication.

In today’s market duplication can take many forms and if you are not completely honest with your recruiter you will end up with issues:

  • When a recruiter asks you if you have applied for a job with a company directly, tell the truth. If you have already applied for a particular job with Apple (for example), and a recruiter then puts you forward for the same role – it will not help your chances! It will sour your relationship with the recruiter and Apple will question your authenticity.
  • When a recruiter asks you if another recruiting firm has spoken to you about a particular role with Apple, tell the truth. Having two recruiters presenting you to the same client causes issues with candidate ownership and instead of enhancing your chances can indeed diminish them.
  • If a recruiter has presented your details to Apple, don’t then go and apply to Apple directly. Don’t email your CV to a “friend” that you have working there either. Doing this creates issues with duplication and candidate representation. If you do this it says to the recruiter that you don’t respect them or what they do for a living.

8. Stay involved.

Check in with recruiters about once every two months to stay on their radar. If they’ve set you up with an interview, give them feedback on how it went within 24 hours.

9. The more information, the better.

When meeting with a recruiter for the first time, be open and honest about your background, experience and career aspirations. He or she needs to know as much about your professional life as possible to find the right position for you. The information you provide may prompt the recruiting professional to suggest promising positions or career paths that you had not previously considered. You also should disclose to your recruiter any aspects of your work history that may generate concern from prospective employers, such as a long period of unemployment or termination. The more upfront you are, the easier it will be for a recruiter to assist you.

While not an exhaustive list, the above should help you build a great relationship with your preferred recruiter who more usually than not, ends up being a trusted career consultant who can help you achieve your career aspirations.