Sometimes you hit send on an email or leave a voicemail and it’s as if your message entered a black hole, especially when dealing with Wall Street recruiters. They tend to be busy, and they are often only searching for a few specific skills sets or types of experience at any given time based on their clients’ current wants and needs. Still, there are certain tactics you can use to improve the likelihood that they'll call or email you back, even if you’re not a perfect fit.
Here are some tips from Wall Street recruiters on getting them to respond – and avoid annoying them – when you’re reaching out via phone, email or social media.
You have to do research to make sure that the recruiter’s areas of focus are the right fit for you and your past experience, rather than randomly picking recruiters and trying to get in their face.
“Recruiters focus on specific areas, so don’t ask ‘Why isn’t that person paying attention to me?’ – they’re not being rude; it just may not be a fit, so educate yourself on the recruiter you’re going after and trying to get in touch with,” says Jeanne Branthover, a managing partner at recruitment firm DHR International. “Their background is going to be clearly advertised.
“Once you do that homework, you’ll figure out the recruiters who are a fit for your background and have a better idea of how to get in front of them,” she says.
The bottom line: Contact Wall Street recruiters who recruit for your skill set.
“Do research ahead of contacting recruiters to ensure we recruit for what you do,” says Anne Crowley, a managing director at recruitment firm Jay Gaines & Co. “You’ll have much higher odds of getting a call or email back if our searches align with your talents, industry and interests.”
Be brief and be clear when reaching out to recruiters.
“If writing, make it a short and to-the-point email or social-media message – if calling state what you are seeking, and don't get frustrated or testy if we can't help,” Crowley says. “We have feelings too and remember rudeness and note it in our databases to not contact you in the future when we may have a good opportunity you might be interested in.
“Don't send out those generic form letters that start: ‘Are you looking for someone who…,” she says. “We never finish reading those because they never yield anyone for our searches.”
Some recruiters hate email in general and rarely read unsolicited messages from candidates. Others hate voicemail and only check it infrequently. Still others haven’t embraced social media and are not accustomed to using it as a communication channel. That said, all of them use all three to a certain extent. The key is to figure out which one is their preference for communicating.
“Candidates should be politely persistent using multiple channels – social media, email and phone,” Branthover says. “That will catch the attention of the recruiter, and [in the case of social media], look for connections in common to see if someone will refer you or introduce you.
“If someone knows a way that to contact me that is creative, that’s fine, but people who cold-call my cell phone, especially late at night – I don’t love that,” she says. “First reach out via social media, then send a resume via email, then call.
“If you leave a voicemail saying, ‘I reached out via LinkedIn and email, and I wanted to make sure you got my resume,’ I’ll think, ‘Let me check.’”
Try to contact Wall Street recruiters first through social media, sending a request to connect with them, and then send a short email asking to schedule a brief conversation.
“This will appear in our inboxes and get our attention faster than a random email,” Crowley says. “See if you have anyone in common, either through LinkedIn – a first-level connection you may have in common – or someone we've already been in contact with as a candidate or current or previous client who can make an introduction or be a positive reference check.”
The resumes that prompt recruiters to go further in their communication are typically well-organized and show that the sender has thought through the important skills and attributes that will interest an employer. Make sure yours includes the right keywords – without going overboard.
“We tend to dislike long summaries of skills at the beginning of the resume – they can be easily ‘spun,’” says Robin Judson, the founder of recruitment firm Robin Judson Partners. “I will not respond to skills-based resumes that do not outline career progression and responsibility from one role to the next.
“The resumes that grab my attention show job listed in reverse chronological order with the dates right or left justified,” she says. “The best resumes have bullet points or short description of skills and achievements – that makes it easy for me to determine if someone is a potential fit for our practice.
“A very brief cover note describing what a candidate is looking for in their next role is helpful.”
After applying for a job or completing a job interview, you have to stay on Wall Street recruiters’, HR executives’ and hiring managers’ radar screen without coming off as desperate.
“People who are looking for jobs have to be very careful that they don’t act unprofessionally, sound desperate or do things that aren’t professional,” Branthover says. “As a job-seeker, you have to say to yourself, ‘Where is the line that I should draw that will turn off a recruiter?
“How often should I call? How soon should I follow up? What should that I do so that I’m on their radar but not in their face in a negative way?”
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