Contacting Recruiters for the First Time

Job seekers often find themselves at a wits end with recruiters.  Whether it be trying to contact a recruiter for the first time, or staying in touch about a job opportunity for which they interviewed, job seekers often hit a brick wall or radio silence in response to messages or phone calls.

If you are this job seeker, you are not alone.  While these experiences may continue to happen, there are some tricks to reaching out and getting the attention of a recruiters that you can use.


Connecting with a recruiter on LinkedIn, or other job sites, is helpful in building your network; however, it doesn’t always lead to a job, let alone even a conversation with a recruiter.  Getting to know who you plan to contact is a great way to capture the attention of a recruiter.  Before your first contact, do as much as you can to learn about this potential recruiter from their social media profiles or any other online presence.  Find out what type of recruitment work they do, where they had worked in the past, or even their educational background.  The aim is to find something relatable that you can use to establish a common ground right off the bat.

Once you find this relatable aspect, be sure to include it in your first email or LinkedIn message. Trust me, this works.  Recruiters use the same tactic on job seekers when trying to get their attention.

Subject of Your Message

Often the most challenging aspects in building a relationship with a recruiter is the first reach out. When reaching out for the first time, it’s best to have a specific topic for the recruiter, allowing them to make a very quick and actionable response to you.  Identify a specific job opportunity that that recruiter might be working.  In your research, search LinkedIn and job sites for recruiters that might work for a company that interests you.  If the recruiter works for “company ABC”, and you find a job opportunity that fits your background at company ABC, then mention this in the subject line and the body of your message.

The Action Item

Yes, recruiters are very busy people. While you might be searching the internet and applying for job after job, recruiters are just as busy, if not busier – searching for candidates to fill a number of open vacancies. In the midst of this, sending a recruiter an open-ended message, asking them to review your background against a specific job opening might not immediately top their list of things to do.  A good trick in having the recruiter review your resume, or at least respond to you, is to give them a quick, easy, and actionable request.

The best way to approach this is to give the recruiter a few options at the end of your message.  You can ask the recruiter to set up a follow-up conversation about the opportunity, or ask the recruiter to provide the name of another recruiter that might be working on the specific opportunity you have identified.  This approach allows the recruiter to get back to you quickly with a time to chat, or they can put you in touch with someone who can help.

One other thing you should keep in mind is that it may take a few attempts to get a response from a recruiter.  Try contacting them a few times if you don’t hear back immediately.  If you do your research, find something relatable, and provide a quick and actionable request about a specific job opening, you will help the recruiter in getting back to you faster.



About the Author:

After joining the RPO industry in 2012, Michael has developed his experience across many diverse lines of business supporting a financial services client. He has held roles in operations, recruitment and strategic sourcing, supporting various professions such as HR, marketing, communications, front line sales and customer service. More recently, Michael has been supporting both the wealth management and private client lines of business. Michael is a determined talent-seeking professional in pursuit of exceptional candidates for the roles he is looking to fill. It is his personal goal to ensure that he delivers an exceptionally positive experience with every new professional he meets.

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