If you're one of the millions of Americans considering a job move right now, recruiters are on a tear to find you.
Workers burned out by their employer during the pandemic, or those simply biding their time for the job market to recover, are quitting their jobs at record rates, leaving hiring managers scrambling to fill an increasing number of open roles more than a year after devastating layoffs.
All of this means that "recruiters in this moment are spending a lot of money to hunt down talent," says Brianne Thomas, head of recruiting at the hiring software company Jobvite. Workers just feeling out the current job market "may find just cracking the door open brings [them] lots of opportunities," she adds.
Connecting with a recruiter, whether they work internally with one company or hire roles across several organizations in one industry, can offer some serious advantages throughout the hiring process. CNBC Make It spoke with recruiting experts about how to best work with them and make the most of the current hiring market.
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Get their attention
Recruiters are most likely to contact you through LinkedIn, Thomas says, so make sure your profile is up to date before you change your settings to indicate you're open to hearing from them.
To make sure you're hearing about the right opportunities, check that your latest work experience is filled out, you've added any new skills or certifications you picked up in the last year, and that you give a clear sense of your career path.
Job seekers who make this simple tweak are likely to be "flooded with requests" and messages from recruiters about openings across industries, Thomas adds.
Reach out the right way
It can be a good idea to reach out to an internal recruiter if you've already applied for a job with their company through their application page, Thomas says. Recruiters get a lot of inbound applications through their hiring platform, she explains, so sending an additional, personalized LinkedIn message "could be the best way to get your resume seen."
Sometimes, job openings are listed on an internal page before they're posted publicly, so it can also pay off to reach out to a recruiter on your own, says career coach and resume writer Chelsea Jay. But don't make the mistake of cold-messaging and expecting them to do all the work for you.
Recruiters want to get you hired quickly and work with a "help me help you" mindset, Jay says. So, when reaching out, be informed about the type of roles they hire for — and if they recruit for multiple entities, the organizations they represent.
Then, be specific about the job or type of company you want to work for and why. Most importantly, be ready with a 30-second elevator pitch about why you're a standout candidate.
Be straight and to the point about your biggest accomplishments with results to back up your claims. For example, a sales professional might say: "For the past five years, I've exceeded my sales goals by 120% and I want to do that with this organization because my values align with theirs."
By contacting a recruiter, you essentially want to show why they should let you in on a job posting that hasn't gone live yet, or keep you in mind for something coming down the road, and — most importantly — that you're a sure bet to get hired quickly.
Have your non-negotiables ready
With an abundance of job openings, it's easy to get distracted by temporary perks like a hiring bonus or even competitive base salary, says Thomas, but don't lose sight of what the actual job is and the company you'd be working for.
To fully evaluate the job and the employer, know your top five to 10 non-negotiables that will help you "truly thrive and be happy in an organization," says Jay.
Salary is one component, of course, but think beyond that — like greater flexibility in how you structure your workday, room for growth through promotions, mentorship programs, the opportunity to travel for work, and so on.
When working with a recruiter, make sure you communicate these values early and bring them up often. An independent recruiter can match you with a company that fits with your goals and values from the start.
Ask about values in action
Once you have your workplace non-negotiables, ask specific questions to get a sense of those values in action at the company.
For example, if you really care about being able to take time off, don't just ask about the company's vacation policy. Instead, you might ask an internal recruiter or hiring manager: "When's the last time you took a vacation, and could you really disconnect?"
If you're really interested in taking advantage of company-sponsored training and development, ask the people you're interviewing with about what opportunities they've taken up, and how much it was encouraged or supported by the team.
Thomas also encourages job seekers to ask the same question of multiple people, especially around company values or perks that are especially important to you.
Get a sense of how the company looks out for employees
Though parts of the U.S. are seeing some health and financial recovery from the pandemic, the global health outbreak is still ongoing and continues to have deep and lasting impacts in daily life. That's why, even during today's mass hiring efforts, Career Contessa coach Ginny Cheng encourages her job-seeking clients to ask: "What has the company done during the pandemic for employees?"
Ask what kinds of initiatives already existed or were created for employees to stay safe during the heath outbreak, whether at home or at a physical worksite. What types of programs supported employees' physical, mental and financial health in the last 16 months? Did the company extend their benefits to other members of their workers' household? Are any new offerings now permanently part of the employee benefits package?
You can also ask your recruiter how their own job changed during the pandemic, Cheng says. For example, were they laid off, or put on temporary furlough and brought back after a hiring freeze? For people who were offered their jobs again, did the majority come back?
You can also look out for companies that, instead of cutting recruiters, moved them to different departments to support new business efforts during the pandemic, Cheng says. This is the time to find an employer you can see yourself with for the long-term, she adds.
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