Don’t run from your inbox: how to network with recruiters

person running from inbox messages
We wanted to highlight this recent piece from our Engineering Recruiter, Becky Hines, on how engineers can benefit from networking with recruiters!


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“Hey there! I see you have prior work experience as an engineer. I have a ~insert generic technical title~ job I think you would be a great fit for. Let me know if you’re interested!”

I know what you’re thinking. “Great. Another recruiter spamming my inbox for a job that isn’t even in my field.”

I’ve been there too, and I responded the way many of my fellow engineers likely do.

I didn’t.

Fast forward a few months and I found myself on the job market regretting the fact that I hadn’t made a single connection with any of the recruiters in my inbox.

Cue the job hunt question spiral: Is it too late to connect with them? Can I get away with a “Sorry, just saw this!” 6+ months later, or is that rude? Are these jobs still open? What if none of the roles seem relevant to my background? And, my personal favorite, what even is a recruiter, and what can they actually do for me?

If any of this sounds familiar, I have a few tips as an engineer-turned-recruiter to help you navigate those messages, whether you’re on the job hunt or not.

✔ Consider connecting with recruiters regardless of your employment status:

Whether you’re actively looking or a month into your dream job, you never know when you might wish you had made those connections. Establishing yourself in a recruiter’s pipeline keeps you top of mind for any future roles they get that align with your skillset and experience. At Carex, we build relationships with candidates for the long-term, often helping them get placed months or years after initial contact when they’re ready to hit the job market (or even working together more than once!).

✔ It’s okay to be picky about who you connect with:

A quick scan of a recruiter’s profile could show a technical background or a background with years of technical recruiting experience. There’s a good chance those recruiters don’t just talk the talk; they’ll understand the requirements of the role and how your background may be a great fit. Take us as an example—our specialized recruiting teams all have extensive experience in the industries they recruit for.

✔ Be up front about what you’re looking for:

Transparency is the name of the game. If the job doesn’t align with your expectations—responsibilities, background requirements, location, compensation, etc.—let the recruiter know. While that first role might not be a fit, there’s a chance they know of others now or in the future that will be.

✔ Go with your gut:

If something feels spammy, it likely is. Keep an eye out for any red flags such as avoiding answering questions, asking for money or confidential personal information, or the job seeming too good to be true.

Now that that’s out of the way…we actually do have a lot of exciting engineering openings, and we’re always happy to connect!