When you least expect it, the phone will ring, and a recruiter will be on the other end of the line, wanting to talk to you about an opportunity.
Sometimes, the timing is serendipitous because you are actively engaged in a job search—it’s like bread falling from heaven!
“Oh boy!” you think to yourself, anticipating the thousands more in salary you can expect to earn now that you are a hot commodity.
But what happens if you are as happy as a clam right where you are, and have no intention of moving on?
You should STILL be interested.
As a passive or active job seeker, you should always listen to what a recruiter has to say. Something caught their eye about you.
When opportunity comes knocking, this is the time to at least open your mind to new possibilities. Be prepared for some pretty specific questions about exactly what it would take for you to change companies. This includes benefits, salary, job duties and title.
Think of this as a great exercise to brush up on your career goals.
And after they make their pitch, and you are still not interested, be respectful and timely in your responses back to the recruiter.
Because they have long memories, and that cushy job you’ve been enjoying can evaporate at the click on a supervisor’s keyboard. The adage of “don’t burn bridges” comes to mind—recruiters are a tight-knit community, and they talk. If you are rude, dismissive or otherwise unpleasant, word gets around.
Remember: You might not be interested in opportunities right now. But you might be later.
For those job seekers who are actively on the hunt for a new job, besides silently yelling “YES!” away from the phone, this is a good opportunity for you to remember one thing: You are in the driver’s seat.
The recruiter has contacted you because they have a specific need to fill, and you are a likely candidate. But don’t get too full of yourself.
Ask questions back. This is your opportunity to learn more about the employer than what they will typically tell you. Recruiters are also careful about finding the right culture fit, so you need to ask the right questions about how the potential company treats their workers.
If a candidate that the recruiter puts forward doesn’t work out, the recruiter loses that account and they don’t get paid. So it is in their best interest to share as much as they can with you so there is that magic match.
So when a recruiter picks up the phone and calls you, it is in your best interest to listen and consider. It doesn’t mean you have to act.
And who doesn’t love a call from someone who thinks you would be a valuable asset? It’s extremely flattering.
As a final note, there is a common misperception out there that recruiters work for you, the job seeker.
Reality Check: Recruiters work for their client companies, who have hired them to fill a specific job order. Although it may seem that they are a barrier to you and the target company, they are actually your best advocate for getting you the job. So treat them as such.