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Ask the Recruiter: Even with inside track, don’t go around search consultant

If you know someone inside hiring organization, avoid perception of circumventing search process; tell recruiter of your connections

Friel and MartinFriel (left) and Martin

July 13, 2018

Question: I have strong connections to an organization that I’ve heard is hiring. How do I effectively use my network and not seem like I am “going around” the recruiter?

Pat Friel
Managing Partner
Lochlin Partners

By not “going around” but instead working with the recruiter.

Before a search is public the recruiter and the hiring organization have invested a great deal of time in defining the role and the ideal qualifications to fill the position. If the recruiter determines you to be a good potential candidate, you should alert them to any connections that you have in the hiring organization. The recruiter can then help the client establish that internal feedback loop to support your candidacy.

If the recruiter determines that you are not a fit, it is best for you to respect the decision and gracefully exit the process. If you choose to “go around” the recruiter, you run several potential risks, including alienating the recruiter. Recruiters have the ability to connect you to a wide range of opportunities, and it is best for you to be remembered as a professional, respectful candidate.

David Martin
CEO and Managing Partner
Sterling Martin Associates

It is tempting to want to reach out to one’s contacts at a potential employer, even if the organization is using a search firm. However, it is best to work through the recruiting firm.

Many applicants think they may be able to gain an advantage by contacting people they know at the organization. But when the person at the organization is contacted directly, they usually refer the candidate back to the search firm. The candidate is putting the hiring executive in an awkward position because the organization has hired a firm so that all applicants go through the same process. Therefore, it can reflect negatively on the candidate rather than positively because they may be seen as trying to circumvent the process. In this sense, it is the applicant’s first “test.”

If an applicant does know someone at the organization, they can let the person know of their interest, and inquire which firm is handling the search so they can send their resume to the firm.

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