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Getting on the Right Foot: The Recruiter Relationship

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Chaloner and PRSA have teamed up to write a series of articles on how candidates and clients can best navigate the recruiting process. Each post of the series chronologically follows the steps of a search process, with direct insights from Chaloner recruiters, clients, placements and candidates who Chaloner has partnered with during the recruiting process. Throughout the series, readers will have the opportunity to learn about how to best partner with a search firm and recruiters. 

When a prospective candidate has taken the time to learn about an opportunity in an initial recruiting call (see last month’s article on “Preparing for the Candidate Screen”), it can be hugely beneficial for them to continue building a strong relationship with their recruiter. Recruiters are today’s workforce mavens, with expert advice on what’s happening in the job market and providing insight on topics like career growth, compensation, as well as company-specific information like culture and management style.

As you figure out whether to pivot, stay or plan the next step in your career, a recruiting partner can be a valuable soundboard on how to best navigate your career journey. This month’s piece shares insights on how to best build meaningful rapport with recruiters. To help shed light on this, we interviewed Melody Lee, one of Chaloner’s placed candidates turned client, about her experience in relationship building with recruiters.

How did you find out about Chaloner? What was it like to go through the recruiting process as a candidate?

Jenn [Saldarelli, vice president at Chaloner] landed in my inbox for the first time with this opportunity to come to Camron. Recruiters all go about things differently, but what stood out about her email was how she provided a lot more detail. She said, I saw you were at Cadillac, Shiseido, etc. and did X. There was an acknowledgment of not just where I’ve been but the experiences I had. It meant she had done her research. The magic of a good recruiter is someone who makes you feel like you are the only person being recruited. That’s an art.

I know rationally, at any given moment, a recruiter is talking to 30 different people for different searches or opportunities. But there is a true art to making a candidate feel like they’re the only one that matters and they’re the only person they’re going after. That was my experience with Jenn and, in my best recruiting experiences, that’s how it goes.

What do you think has helped create a strong relationship between you and recruiters? 

When you have a recruiter who takes the time to understand the candidate (and I knew that firsthand), takes the time to understand the client well and has this ability to sell to both sides in a way that doesn’t feel squirrely — it builds so much trust and confidence. Having been on both sides of the equation, when a recruiter I have a strong relationship with puts someone in front of me that they’re really excited about, I trust them because I know how much time they took to get to know me: what drives me, what motivates me, how I make decisions.

At the same time, having been a candidate, I know how successful recruiters have sold a client or opportunity to me. That’s also a magical skill. Usually, the people who are best at selling a company or agency are those who have worked there. Recruiting is a remarkable sales gig — it’s a PR and storytelling job.

What advice or words of wisdom would you impart to those looking to engage with a search firm?

A recruiter is only as good as the partnership that they have with their candidate or client. We’re really in the same business — there are total parallels between our work, and we should be empathetic toward one another. Be cognizant of the fact your recruiting partner is probably working on multiple clients and searches, and talking to people all day. Treat them like a true partner; that’s how they’re going to be the most effective.

A true recruiting partner wants their candidates to succeed. At Chaloner, we seek consistent open lines of communication with candidates, whether our current search is a good fit for you or not. Building a rapport based on honesty and candor between a recruiter and a candidate leads to mutual trust, something that we observe is frequently lacking in the recruiting process. Trust is the basis of a meaningful and authentic long-term relationship, much like Jenn and Melody will have going forward.

For more information about Chaloner and advice on the recruiting process, visit our website and follow us on LinkedIn. As we enter the end-of-year season, we look forward to sharing more insight on the recruiting process with you in the new year. Our next column will set you up for success on “in-person” interviews. Stay tuned for more in January 2022!


[Illustration credit: djrandco]

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