The truth is, whether a recruiter works for a large corporation or within an independent recruiting firm they all have one thing in common. They all want to fill positions for their company or client. Period.

A lot of big corporations now have in-house recruiting divisions. Typically the individuals in these divisions are made up of ex recruiters “headhunters” or ex employment agency staffers. My experience with these big corporate recruiters is mixed and they tend to have some limitations due to the fact that they recruit now for only one company. But, guess what? They want to fill positions for their own company just as badly as the independent recruiters do for their clients.

The independent recruiting firms, or executive search firms, can be generalist or specialize in a specific industry. Most of the senior level consultants or recruiters in these firms tend to be very experienced and not limited to what they can do because they recruit for multiple companies, not just for one company. And guess what they want to do? Fill positions for their multiple clients. So, what’s this mean to you?

First of all, having recruiters as your friends isn’t an option. You must be friends with the recruiters in your industry. Not just the independent recruiters with multiple clients but the big corporate in-house recruiters recruiting for one company. Remember, what do these recruiters want to do? Fill positions! And what do you want? You want a better position or a way to “get in” to that dream company. In other words, you want them to use you, or at the very least, call you when they have an attractive position open.

As a professional recruiter I can tell you this without hesitation. If you stay in your industry for any length of time you will run into these recruiters again and again. I do it all the time. I have discussed opportunities with individuals and they weren’t interested at the time but I kept them in my data bank. Years later I call them (in some cases many years later) to see if they’re interested in a new opportunity and this time they are and I set-up an interview with my client. This happens a lot and it’s all because we stayed in contact through the years.

Now should I bore you with the number of times I didn’t call a candidate back? Typically if a candidate is very rude to anyone within my firm, we won’t call this candidate again. How sad. Don’t do this to yourself. Don’t be a foe be a friend. All recruiters can help you in some way, whether they work for a large corporation or an independent recruiting firm.

Do you want a career insider’s tip? If a recruiter calls you and you’re not interested at the time, be courteous and let them know you are happy and not interested but you would like to be considered for future opportunities. And then supply the recruiter with someone you think would be a good fit the position. I love candidates that refer people to me, absolutely love it! And guess what? All recruiters love it! And believe me, you will always be on the top of our list of people to call whenever we have excellent opportunities within your industry.

Another thing, most recruiters have an inside track to a lot of positions that are unknown to the general public. You know that “hidden job market” you’ve heard so much about. If you’re not very friendly with recruiters how are you ever going to hear about these opportunities? If you’re a jerk to them, believe me they won’t call you again. So always be friendly with the recruiters because you never know when you might need one. Networking and being friendly with recruiters will pay off – big time! I hope this helps.

Good luck to you!

Mike Palumbo