Tips for communicating with recruiters

Author: Asli Leone

Asli is a recruiter with over 12 yrs experience hiring in the creative industry. To date, she has lived as a global citizen across three continents including cosmopolitan cities, tropical islands, jungles, and mountains. She is always curious to try new experiences and build deeper and authentic connections. She is currently living a minimalist lifestyle in beautiful Thailand and is grateful for every moment of it.

I chose Recruiting because I love when someone lands a great job because of my hard work and also I love helping companies find the right candidates for their roles.

I am grateful that I have 15,000 connections on Linkedin, but this also means I get a LOT of messages every day from job seekers. While I would like to respond to every single one of them, I can’t do it because that would mean spending all my time on my smartphone or laptop. I have to manage my time efficiently to source the right talent for my open roles, sort through the applications, and keep a good work-life balance at the same time.

The job market is highly competitive and the turnaround is super quick so efficient communication is the key in your job search.

I’d like to highlight some basic points to communicate with the recruiters the right way to grab their attention and build a fruitful and ongoing partnership. I love continuing my relationship with my candidates and helping them at different times during their careers!

Do your part and research before contacting a recruiter

Check out if they or their agency posted a job you’re interested in and apply to the job first through their job link. Then you can send a follow up note to make sure they’ve received it and/or have any questions. Contacting a recruiter about a job you aren’t qualified for will only be a waste of time for both sides.

For instance, I created a website to list all my open roles with the appropriate job descriptions and locations. I don’t have anything else that’s not listed there. So you can take time to read the job descriptions and apply if things are a match. This will help everyone save time.

Be clear in your message

When you send a message, try to give all the info in one shot rather than having the recruiter ask you the basic questions. Be specific, and explain why your experiences and skills are a good match. As I mentioned, we receive a lot of messages and your reply will get buried during the back-and-forth, and the momentum will be lost.

Here is a good example:

Hello, Asli – I’m an Art Director from NY and I’m looking for a freelance or fulltime role. I saw this job (link). I am confident I’m a good fit because ….. my specialties include …. My portfolio is here: —– I’d love to chat.

Here are bad examples:

  • Do you have a job for me?
  • I would like to talk about opportunities (without any other relevant info).
  • Hey .. (this one is my favorite)

Include your resume or portfolio link

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of this, which is probably the reason why your message is not answered. Need to send a large file? Use cloud (such as Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive ).

Keep your resume and portfolio current

Be proactive and make sure your resume and portfolio are current and up to date before contacting recruiters. We can’t present candidates without a portfolio or with outdated projects. Your most recent work from the last 1-3 years should be up on your site.

Be flexible and open to feedback

Recruiters review a ton of portfolios everyday and get feedback from their clients. This means, they can assess if a portfolio is a fit or not since they know clearly what the employer is looking for in a good portfolio. My job doesn’t mean I pass portfolios onto my clients but I also coach my candidates on what works and doesn’t work in their books so they can score an interview.

The feedback I usually give is:

For creative candidates: Go to the website of the company you would like to work at. Check out their look and feel, design aesthetic, their clients and their past work for those clients. Do you think your portfolio matches their style? Do you have similar clients/industries showcased in your portfolio? If your answer is no, your book probably won’t align with what they are looking for. So take some time to revamp your site and highlight your relevant work experience.

Follow up

Do not hesitate to check in with your recruiter every once in a while. I know this is a tricky situation since you don’t want to come off as desperate or aggressive but you don’t want to miss out on an opportunity either. For me, it’s very important to receive follow up inquiries since messages can get buried very easily. I appreciate when candidates follow up as it gives me the opportunity to get back to them if I missed their previous messages. But remember to give some breathing room in between messages.

Be kind and apply all other qualities of a good human being here: be honest, be respectful, be positive 🙂

Kindness will lead you to success.

Have you had success communicating with recruiters? What are your tips?


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