Job Search Tips

How to connect with recruiters on LinkedIn

June 24, 2020

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Prefer to read? The transcript is below 🙂

Hi, it’s Iris – welcome back to my YouTube channel. 

In some earlier videos, I’ve spoken about the importance of building and strengthening your network, and how it can help you to find a job you’ll love. 

Companies prefer to hire people they already know or through referrals, so it really pays to get to know people at companies that you’d love to work for. 

But what about recruiters? Should you contact them? After all, aren’t they the gatekeepers into an organisation? And aren’t they the ones who know exactly what job opportunities are available or are coming up? 

Well, in this video I’m going to answer that question for you. 

Should you contact recruiters on LinkedIn? 

But, before I do that, you know what to do: please please please like this video if you like it, and make sure to hit that subscribe button and the bell right next to it. That way, you’ll get a notification as soon as I post a new video, and it tells me exactly what kind of videos you’re finding most valuable and helpful. 

Okay, let’s do this! 


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So, should you… or should you not contact recruiters when you’re looking for a job? 

The answer is… yes, but you shouldn’t contact the first recruiter you find on LinkedIn.

Recruiters are generally speaking busy people, they have a lot on their plate, and can get inundated with messages from job seekers. 

There are some best practices to improve your chances of not only getting a response, but also to help you build a relationship to serve you in the long run. 

Best practice #1 → understand the position that they’re in

No recruiter’s job is the same. The company that they work for has a huge impact on their day-to-day work. 

Recruiters who work for well-known companies that many people want to work for, tend to get lots of messages, and when there’s a job opening they receive lots of applications from high-quality candidates.

They’re in a real luxury position – it’s not so hard for them to attract people. So, they don’t necessarily need to focus as much on pro-actively seeking candidates or filling the pipeline, so to speak. 

On the flip side, recruiters who work for lesser-known companies, or for companies that don’t have people lined up wanting to work for them, receive fewer messages and applications for job openings. So they tend to be more pro-active when searching for candidates. 

It’s something you need to bear in mind when contacting a recruiter. 

How? 

Well, if you’d like to work for, let’s say Google, Amazon, Apple, you have less of a chance of the recruiter getting back to you, so you need to be very tactical about when to contact them. 

One: make sure you contact the right recruiter, because bigger companies tend to have different recruiters for different parts of the business.

One might be responsible for marketing and sales roles, another one for graduate schemes and graduate roles, yet another one for IT – and so on. Don’t contact the recruiter responsible for IT, if you’re interested in a Marketing role. 

Two: be patient, and contact them when a role that you’re interested comes up.

Either ask them a few specific questions about the role to help you prepare for the application, or ask – if it’s easier for them – if they’d be happy to connect you with the hiring manager, so you could ask him/her a few questions about the role. 

Those are obviously also great things to do when contacting a recruiter who works for a lesser-known or less popular company, but as those recruiters tend to more pro-actively seek candidates, it’s okay to contact them even if there’s no specific job opening that you’re interested in. 

Best practice #2 → put in the work 

Recruiters like to see that you’ve put in the effort. 

Don’t ask them to do all the hard work. A big no no is to send them a message or email, attach your CV, and write ‘hey, let me know if you have any roles for me’. 

This does not go down well – and you probably won’t get a response. 

You have to put in the work yourself first. So…

  • Learn about the organisation, try to understand what their biggest challenges and opportunities are. 

  • If there’s a current job opening that you’re interested in: learn as much as you can about the role, and try to find out who the hiring manager is. Hiring managers tend to get fewer messages than recruiters, so if you can, go directly to them! 

  • If there’s no current job opening that you’re interested in, then take some time to figure out what part of the business you’d be able to add most value to: understand what strengths, skills and experience you bring to the table. You need to connect the dots for them, don’t ask them to do this. 

Best practice  #3 → be specific, but start a wider conversation

You might feel a little bit nervous about reaching out to a recruiter, and that’s totally understandable.

Maybe you feel like they have one shot, and that you can’t mess this up, so when you send that message, you might feel like you need to big yourself up by telling the recruiter why you’re the perfect candidate for the job you’ve seen or why you’d be a perfect fit for the company. 

While this is obviously well-intended, a much better approach is one where, instead of trying to convince the recruiter you’re the best candidate for the role or why you’re a perfect fit for the company, you genuinely seek to better understand how you can add value to the organisation, and where your skills, experience and knowledge could make the biggest difference. 

Sure, you’ve put in the work and done your homework, but that doesn’t mean you know the whole story. Engage in a conversation. 

Be open to having a wider dialogue – one that’s not just about the one job posting you might have seen, but focus more on understanding what the organisation’s needs are, and build a connection for the longer-term. 

I’ve created a swipe file with some example scripts you can use to connect with recruiters. You can download it here.

Best practice #4 → follow-up, but don’t request a response

It’s good practice to send a recruiter a follow-up message once you’ve applied for a job, say a week after you’ve submitted your application.

In this message you want to communicate what relevant skills, knowledge and experience you have, and why you’re excited about this job opening. But, keep it short, 2 – 3 paragraphs max, and don’t request a response. End your message with an invitation to be contacted, and include your email address and phone number. 

I’ve included an example of what a message like this could look like in the swipe file that I’ve mentioned earlier. If you want a copy of that swipe file, download it here.

So, there you have it: 4 best-practices to connect with recruiters on LinkedIn: understand the position that they’re in, put in the work, start a wider conversation, and follow-up. 

BUT – remember that it’s just as important to reach out to people who aren’t recruiters. If you build relationships with people who work at companies that you’d like to work for, as well as recruiters, you’re doing what most people probably aren’t doing, and are massively increasing your chances of landing a job at one of your favourite companies. 

Thank you for watching! Next week, I’ll be sharing a step-by-step tutorial on how to have informational interviews. Informational interviews often are the first step to build relationships with people who work at companies that you’d like to work for, so don’t miss it. Just click that subscribe button and the bell next to it, so you’ll get a notification when it’s live. 

Sending you all the best wherever you are, and see you next week. 

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