Recruiters Prefer Someone They KnowWritten by Scott Brown
If a recruiter has a position open, guess who their first move is when they want to fill it. If you guessed posting a job on a job site, you're wrong (at least most of time). Recruiters are like any other human being and they want to get their work done with least amount of effort. So a recruiter's first move is usually to call (or email) someone they already know. Posting a job on a job site is time consuming and typically requires having to deal with a deluge of responses (most job ads yield 300+ candidates responding with their resumes). It's much easier for recruiter to try someone they know first.
Being Candidate Recruiter Calls First
In addition to hassle associated with posting a job on a job site, there is another downside to a recruiter using this approach: since they don't know people responding to a job posting, they have to take time to review resumes, talk to potential candidates, and try to get to a comfort level where they feel like they can recommend person to a client. If you already have a relationship with a recruiter, they're going to be much more comfortable recommending you than someone else.
Don't Let Relationship Die Out
Most job seekers, and frankly most recruiters, make mistake of letting their relationships die out. Recruiters get busy with new open positions that have to be filled. Job seekers get distracted by new jobs to respond to or calls from new recruiters. So time invested in getting to know each other often goes to waste. Does this mean you need to work hard at building a relationship with every recruiter you talk to? Not at all. Rather, you may notice as you go about your job search that certain recruiters seem to understand you and your strengths better than others. It is these recruiters who you want to stay in touch with.
Typically, recruiters you want to maintain a relationship with will have come to a good enough understanding of your background that they've submitted your resume for a position that you recognize is a very good fit for your background and interests. You may even have gone on an interview that recruiter has set up for you but it didn't work out for whatever reason. These are recruiters who you want to maintain relationships with. If they recommended you for a job in past, chances are they'd do it again in future. For simplicity, let's refer to these people as "High Probability Recruiters."
Making Sure You Have Good Employment ReferencesWritten by Scott Brown
Most people don't give much thought about references until after a potential employer asks for them. After all, searching for a job is very time consuming and doesn't give you much of a chance to think about anything except getting interviews. But reference checks are a very important part of job search process: both for job seekers and for employers. For employers, references are a chance to add depth to information they have learned about you from interview and from your resume.
At a minimum, your references should confirm information employer has about you and that you are a competent employee. However, you should strive to provide references who can be as enthusiastic about you and you would be about yourself. A great reference makes hiring manager feel good about their decision to hire you and sets a positive tone for your first few days on job. As saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression and your references can help you do that.
Getting Your Ducks In a Row
It's a good idea to get a reference letter from your manager as soon after leaving a position as possible. Getting a reference letter right away makes it easier for your manager to recall specific contributions you made to team. Even if you don't end up needing a reference right away, having reference letter provides you with something to fall back on in event you are unable to contact your former manager at a later time. Plus, if you decide to go back to manager a year or more later to ask them to provide a phone reference, you can remind them about reference letter they wrote for you.
Before asking someone to take time to write a reference letter or provide a phone reference, it's a good idea to get a feel for what they would say about you. One way to do this is to say "Do you feel you know me well enough to write a good reference letter?" instead of just "Could you write a reference letter?" This way, if person doesn't feel they could say something positive, they have an easy way to decline your request.
Employers who ask for references want to confirm dates of employment and position titles at a minimum. They will also try to find out if your former boss would rehire you given opportunity. And many employers will ask reference to grade your abilities in specific areas that will apply to your new job. For example, if you're applying for a job as a manager, employer may ask your reference to rate your managerial skills on a scale from 1 to 10. Having a sense of types of questions employers are likely to ask your references, you should try to gauge potential reference's response to these questions before deciding to let them vouch for you. For example, you could say "I'm curious - if you had chance, would you hire me again to work for you?"