One of the most common misunderstandings about recruiters is that our primary focus is on making placements, and that every phone call is in service of that goal. But the truth is very different: a good recruiter’s primary focus is on building relationships. In almost 20 years as an executive recruiter, I have spoken with hundreds of managers, and while all of those conversations were valuable experiences, only a small percentage were directly related to placing a candidate. There are many reasons a recruiter may reach out to you, and there are a few important things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to engage with them.
Not Every Recruiter is the Same
All managers know that just because a candidate is qualified doesn’t mean that they will be a good fit for a company. The same is true for recruiters: not every recruiter is a good fit for a company’s culture, communication preferences, or budget. In order to get the most out of a relationship with a recruiter, make sure to find one whose focus is truly on serving your company’s needs -- and you can only find that out by having a conversation and determining for yourself whether that recruiter’s style and motivations are in line with your own.
Recruiters Know the Market
Even if you don’t have any current staffing needs, a good recruiter can still be an invaluable resource for your company. Our job is to know your market inside and out, and any recruiter worth their salt will be happy to share market research with you. Whether you want to know how your salary and benefit plans line up against your competitors, what types of projects are coming down the pipeline, or what types of candidates are in high demand, recruiters have the inside track on market information that can help you.
Find Out About Superstars First
Having a long-term relationship with a reliable, trustworthy recruiter means that when superstar candidates become available in your marketplace, you will be the first to hear about it. If there is no room on your team at the time, there is no pressure on you; however, if you are interested in making an opportune hire, the option is there for you. There is no downside to receiving information about valuable industry players who are open to new opportunities within your market -- even if you choose not to interview them.
Gain Access to the Best
If your company grows or changes and new staffing needs arise, your recruiter will be able to provide access to a significantly better pool of candidates than you would get from a standard job posting. While your recruiter has been maintaining a relationship with your company, they have also been forming meaningful relationships with candidates throughout your market. That means that when you have an opening, recruiters will be able to present that job opportunity to passive candidates, who are not on the market, but who trust their recruiter and are open to considering high-value, long-term career changes.
Invest in a Relationship
Good recruiters do not reach out to force a candidate onto a company, nor do they charge a fee simply for having a conversation. No matter what your company’s current staffing needs are, engaging in a conversation and building a relationship with a recruiter is a risk-free investment for your company, which can pay big dividends in the future.
So take the phone call, and talk to the recruiter. What do you have to lose?