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Relationship Building: Standing Out During Your Job Search Process

Recently I spoke with a handful of colleagues about the ways in which recruiters virtually network with candidates, and vice versa. This discussion reminded me of a speaking engagement of mine a couple of years ago that took place at a local college on executing an effective job search, including tips and strategy. During the lecture, there was one candidate sitting in the back of the room who consistently asked me questions. His questions were all great and related to how he could find a job, who to work with and even where to start. He was new to the country and determined to make it in the software world.  

After the lecture, this gentleman and I had the chance to chat. He wanted to pick my brain for hours over a cup of coffee that night, but it was late and at the end of a long day so I suggested we set up a future meeting. He reached out shortly thereafter determined to get some time with me, and was very persistent. I admired his style and diligence, and so I said yes. Over a 15 minute span, coffees in hand, he asked me a question that not many, if any, people have ever asked me.

He asked if he could keep in touch with me on a weekly basis. I said sure, thinking to myself that I would never hear from him again. Sure enough, not long after that sitdown I received a call from this candidate, just to see how things were going and to see how my week had been. This went on for a period of three months on a weekly occurrence. And yet, he never asked for a job, but he was getting my attention and embedding his name into my thoughts. As a result of his sincere persistence and relationship building ability, I decided to start marketing him to a few of my clients. Within a few short weeks he was placed in an excellent position!

The following week, he called me again. I recognized the number and thought to myself “I just got him his dream job, now why was he calling?!” Confused, I answered the phone asking if everything was okay. He responded, “Yes, Mr. Amit. I was just calling to thank you for the job search tips and ask if it would be okay if I stopped calling you on a weekly basis.” This genuine gesture put a smile on my face, and I felt I did the right thing by him. He deserved it.

Relationships like these go a long way.  

With so many options to network online, we tend to forget how important it is to establish meaningful relationships in “real life” versus making another Facebook friend or LinkedIn connection. A candidate’s professionalism speaks volumes through body language and verbal conversation, much more than a resume can ever convey.

Lastly, don’t forget to personally thank recruiters and hiring managers for their time after your conversation(s). Go the extra mile and mail them a handwritten thank you note. This leaves a lasting impression and not only showcases your ability to manage professional relationships but also your good will.

Many job seekers don’t understand how to find jobs and heavily rely on job boards and social media. In this new age, where many of us are all about social media, texting and online communications, very few will actually even attempt to make a personal connection, unless they are already employed by the given company.

The most important tool to keep in mind as you job search is the power of in-person networking. To stand out from the crowd and showcase your talent beyond the resume, I would suggest three simple steps:

  1. Find the recruiter online or in person (this can be anywhere from the company website or LinkedIn to personal connections) and connect with them. Ask them out for a coffee or the opportunity to meet up in person, and express why you want to be part of their organization. This will show them that you are serious about searching for your next career move or starting your career.
  2. Research the recruiter you are going to meet with: what do they predominantly search for, and what types of clients they work with? This will go a long way in building a trusting partnership. Remember, you always have the right to work with who you want. This belief shows that you are trusting and willing to put in the extra effort.
  3. Continue to follow up with your recruiter(s). Oftentimes, candidates have a single conversation with the recruiter and that’s where the discussion ends. Maintain an open dialogue moving forward and, if you interview elsewhere on your own, let the recruiter know. They may have a contact or may have done business with that company in the past, and they may be willing to help you navigate your way through the interview process.

When job searching, it’s important to keep an open mind, research best practices and never underestimate the importance of building connections and relationships!

Career Advice

Amit Patel

As a Recruitment Consultant for WilsonHCG, Amit Patel is responsible for recruiting and sourcing exceptional talent for clients throughout North America. Prior to joining WilsonHCG, Amit gained over 4 years’ experience in agency recruitment, and 13 years of experience in the IT management field, where he provided Infrastructure and Software solutions, budget and vendor management, team leadership and strategic planning. Quickly developing a reputation for excellence, Amit became a highly sought after consultant, with the proven ability to quickly develop strong business and professional relationships.