All posts in: Career Advice

A Recruiter Messaged You on LinkedIn - Now What?

If you have a LinkedIn account, chances are that a recruiter has messaged you about a job opening. In this era of spam emails, pop up ads, and unwanted solicitations, you may wonder if the message is worth reading or responding to at all. By understanding how the recruiter discovered your profile and what they are hoping to accomplish through their message, you will be prepared to know the best way to proceed if you are interested (or uninterested) in the job opportunity.

How the Recruiter Found You

When you receive a LinkedIn message regarding an open position, you may wonder how this person found you. Many people don’t know that recruiters have a special version of LinkedIn that they use to find candidates for positions they are looking to fill. Recruiters will search specific keywords, job titles, and locations to find candidates that fit the necessary criteria for their open position. To ensure you are appearing on recruiter’s searches, be sure that your LinkedIn profile is up to date and has keywords that are relevant to your field.

Why the Recruiter Contacted You

The person contacting you is either an in-house recruiter who works for the company, or a recruiter from a search firm that has been contracted by the company to find candidates on their behalf. The recruiter’s goal is to find great candidates, screen them, and send a qualified selection to the hiring manager or client.

The initial message is a way to present their open position as an attractive opportunity and solicit your interest. From there, the recruiter is hoping to have a phone conversation with you to see if your career goals are in line with the position, and that you are a good fit in terms of personality, skills and other qualifications. The recruiter’s ultimate objective is for the client to hire you, or another one of the candidates they have submitted.

How to Respond if You are Interested in the Job

If you are interested in the job, respond as soon as possible. That way, the recruiter can give you more information about the position and get the process started with a phone screening. If the recruiter thinks that you are a strong candidate and you decide to move forward in the hiring process, the recruiter will submit your resume and information to the employer.

How to Respond if You are Not Interested in the Job

If you are not interested in the job, it is still recommended that you respond back with a polite message. A simple note along the lines of “Thank you for reaching out, but I am not interested in changing jobs at this time. Let’s connect and keep in touch” is straightforward, but also leaves the door open for future correspondence. You may also provide your current resume for the recruiter to keep in their database for future positions that may be worth considering. It would also be appropriate to add the recruiter as a LinkedIn connection and provide your contact information.

Replying to a recruiter goes a long way. Whether you want to hear about that particular job or not, it’s always good to build connections with recruiters because you never know when they may be hiring for a position that you could want down the line.

If you are not sure whether you are interested in the job, it’s worth asking some questions to find out more information. Schedule a phone call with the recruiter so you can learn more about the position. There may be aspects of the job that were not mentioned in the initial message that would appeal to you. Once all your initial questions are answered, you can decide if you would like to be considered as a candidate.

Though it may seem out of the blue, you never know when a recruiter may contact you with an amazing employment opportunity. It is in your benefit to develop relationships with recruiters in your industry. If you keep an open mind, your next LinkedIn InMail message may lead to a great new career.

This article has been updated from an original Bristol Associates post from 2016.


Bristol Associates, Inc. is an executive search firm with over 50 years of excellence in recruiting nationwide. Bristol specializes in recruiting for companies in the casino gaming, food manufacturing, hospital & healthcare, hotels & resorts, travel, tourism & attractions, facilities & concessions, nonprofit, and restaurant businesses.

If you’re interested in working with Bristol Associates, click here if you’re an employer or here if you’re a job seeker.

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Phone Screening Image - Business person holding up a phone and about to answer a call from another executive

Ever been contacted by a recruiter to schedule a 15-minute phone call? It’s a good sign to be selected for a phone screening. With the hundreds of applicants that they receive daily, recruiters will utilize their limited time and prioritize candidates who have the best chance to be considered for a particular job.

The phone screening is the first opportunity for the candidate to express who they are and why they are the best fit for the position. The recruiter will be highlighting the candidate to the employer based on the call, so it’s important for them to show the recruiter exactly what makes them stand out from the rest.  And if the candidate is unable to successfully explain to the recruiter why they would be a good fit for the role, then they may not submit their resume to their client, the hiring company. Remember, executive search firms are paid by their clients to attract talent and fill key roles.

We asked President and Executive Recruiter Ben Farber his perspective on how to have a successful phone screening experience.

How do you normally approach your phone calls with candidates?

The main purpose for the call is to learn the candidate’s character and personality more so than experience. I usually have a sense of a candidate’s experience based on their resume, but I want to know what makes the person tick. How do they lead a team? Do they understand the importance of having fun and get along with their team in a social setting (in a professional manner of course)? If someone fits the job description, but not the company culture, it will be challenging for employees to work with that person day in and day out. This in turn leads to turnover. We strive for tenure, always.

While some recruiters may go by the book when it comes to phone screening, my calls are typically spontaneous and free flowing. Once a candidate opens up and answers a question, I answer follow-up questions based on their answer. Doing so helps to get to know who the candidate is while keeping them on their toes.

In your opinion, how have candidates knocked the phone screening out of the park?

A candidate who is able to make a strong impact in showcasing their personality and skillsets within the 15-minute phone call is ideal. I look for someone who is personable, passionate, and self-aware during the call. The ideal candidate will also be able to answer a question fully without overtalking. I am impressed by a candidate who can be serious when talking about numbers and how they can add value to the company without being arrogant. And the really sharp executives also know how to throw in a touch of tasteful humor. These candidates get us excited to present them to our clients, which makes for an even smoother recruitment and interview process.

What are some reasons you do not consider candidates after a phone screening?

As mentioned before, it’s all about energy and interest. I would be less inclined to present a candidate to a client who has a lack of enthusiasm for the opportunity and has not done any homework before our call about the company or position. While some candidates give me short, incomplete answers to my questions, others can stray away from the conversation all together and talk about topics I didn’t ask. A candidate who is not giving their full attention during the call can also be concerning. On some occasions, I have even heard candidates taking care of chores such as dishwashing or cooking mid phone interview! We all lead busy lives, I get it. However, undivided attention shows respect and focus. If a candidate can’t sit still for 15 minutes during a call with a recruiter, how are they going to function on the job?

Any last piece of advice for candidates who are starting the initial stages of the hiring process?

Treat everyone as if they were the CEO and follow the basics for a phone screening. Speaking respectfully to anyone affiliated with the company is an opportunity to differentiate oneself throughout the process. Be on time, research the company, and try to carve out 15 minutes of peace for the call. If there is a need to reschedule or there is no longer an interest in the opportunity, let the recruiter know in advance. It’s better to follow up and stay transparent with the recruiter in order to build a good rapport for any future opportunities.

The way a candidate acts during the phone screening sets the tone for the rest of the hiring process. While the initial phone screening with the recruiter may seem like a casual conversation, treating the conversation professionally and authentically will lead to a successful experience. We never get a second chance to make a first impression.

By Haydee Antezana

Business woman on top of a mountain holding up a flag. 3 Ways to Increase Your Influence and Impact Blog Image

Successful people are not born with a success gene; they develop a scientifically proven secret sauce: the ability to influence and impact with intention. As an executive, you are constantly influencing and impacting those around you. Being aware of how to increase these skills matters greatly in your career.

Follow these three crucial steps to increase your influence and impact as a successful leader in today’s competitive market.

1. Upgrade Brand YOU.

Do a Brand Performance Appraisal.

Whether by design or by default, you have a personal brand. How you are perceived and received by the people you seek to influence and impact matters. 

Imagine everyone you’ve interacted with over the last year had to “review” your personal brand on TripAdvisor or Yelp.

On a scale of 1 to 5, what would your rating be? Would you be offered the position of Head Marketer of brand YOU?

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Master the Art of Small Talk

Do you dread participating in small talk during networking events or company functions? Making an effort to improve your small talk skills and refining your business etiquette will assist you in climbing the ladder of success. Stop stressing and start impressing with these tips on how to make your conversations at any event a successful and pleasant experience.

1. Before the event practice in low risk situations; e.g. the line at the supermarket.

2. Do your homework and be prepared – this will help you feel more confident. Contact the event organizer and try to find out who will be attending. Identify specific individuals you would like to meet at the event.

3. When walking around the room – catch the eye of an approachable looking individual. Don’t approach a group of two people – they are probably deep in conversation – you will feel awkward and they will feel uncomfortable.

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Back of moving truck filled with boxes for relocation.

You’ve just been offered an amazing career opportunity, but it requires a move – now what?

For most, relocation can be a challenging and stressful experience due to the amount of time and resources it takes to undergo such a big change. Packing and unpacking, scheduling moving services, booking flights, breaking leases, buying and selling property, and family situations are just a handful of common hurdles that can be faced during the process. However, all the work and effort it takes to relocate can lead to a brighter future for your personal and professional life.

According to our 18th Annual Casino Executive Satisfaction Survey, 82% of respondents are willing to relocate for the right job opportunity. With so many open to moving, it is important to understand the decision-making and negotiating process for relocation to be as pain free as possible. We asked our executive recruiters to provide their input when it comes to executives relocating for a new job.

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[Image] Magnifying glass hovering over candidate resumes (What Do Employers Look For in Executive Candidates?)

Experience isn’t the only aspect that employers look for when it comes to hiring. Having worked with clients for over 50 years, Bristol understands the complex wants and needs of employers searching to fill a role at their company. It takes the right mix of experience, skill, personality, and fit within company culture for a candidate to land an executive position. Our seasoned recruiters share their insight regarding what employers commonly look for when searching for executive candidates.

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[Image] People in internal interview process

When a position opens within a company, most organizations consider the option of extending the application to internal and external applicants. The internal interview may appear to be a smooth and easy process for employees who already work for the company, but it still requires the same amount of time and effort as an external interview to succeed.

Tip #1: Act Like an External Applicant

As an existing team member, be prepared to submit an updated resume when applying for the open position. It’s important to respect the internal process as one would for an external process by researching the position, dressing in appropriate interview attire, and preparing for the interview.

Even though you may know the interviewers in the panel, being too lax during the interview may come off as arrogant. Keep in mind that even though you may think you are the most qualified for the position, other internal or external candidates may prove to be a better fit for the role. Not taking the process seriously may decrease the likelihood of attaining the job.

>>> Read: Oops! Common Interview Mistakes Candidates Make

Tip #2: Use Your Knowledge to Your Advantage

Unlike external candidates, internal candidates have the advantage of having an inside perspective by already working for the company. It’s important to refresh your basic knowledge about the company while tying in what you have learned from your first-hand experience working for the organization.

If there are any changes that can be made within the company that can lead to the growth and success of the organization, be sure to address it in a constructive way, using solid examples from work experience. Showing proactivity in consistently improving the company can be a positive way to stand out from the other applicants.

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On October 10, 2018, Bristol’s President Benjamin Farber moderated the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) panel, Taking Charge of Your Career to Achieve Your Preferred Future. Joining Ben on the panel were Bellagio’s Human Resources Director Brenda Dysinger and Affinity Gaming’s Director of Human Resources Greg Kite. The three executives discussed two major areas of development to provide professionals with the necessary tools to prepare for their future: Effective Networking and Nailing the Interview Process.

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Letter of Recommendation [Image]

A strong letter of recommendation can distinguish a candidate’s application from the rest. Taking the time to obtain a letter of recommendation will leave a positive impact with the employer or recruiter reviewing the application. On the other hand, writing a letter of recommendation is a great way to pay it forward and contribute to the success of the candidate’s career.

Whether you are the candidate requesting the letter, or the employer responsible for writing the recommendation, it is essential to understand how to write a letter of recommendation that will leave a lasting impression.

What makes a compelling letter of recommendation?

Here are some helpful guidelines to write a strong letter of recommendation:

  • Print the letter on company letterhead
  • Personalization and sincerity is key – avoid using letter of recommendation templates
  • Explain the professional relationship and the duration spent working with the candidate
  • Give specific examples of the value and impact that the candidate has made in the company
  • Highlight the candidate’s hard and soft skills that greatly benefitted the company
  • When signing off the letter, include a handwritten signature along with the employer’s typed name, job title, and contact information
  • Proofread to avoid typos or grammatical errors

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[Image] Master the Art of the Follow Up

Candidates can get anxious when they have to wait for the status of a job that they really want. As ideal as it would be to receive an immediate response from the recruiter or hiring manager, it is not always feasible, and response time may depend on the amount of applicants applying for a given opportunity. However, keeping in mind simple follow-up tactics can benefit the candidate in the end – as long as it is done tactfully.

Things that make you go hmmm…

Before deciding to follow up on a position, it is important to keep in mind possible reasons as to why feedback has not been received. Here are a few reasons to consider:

• The recruiter or hiring manager has not received feedback from their client or hiring authority, thus they have nothing to share.

• The recruiter or hiring manager may currently be out of the office on business travel or vacation. Even in this day and age of technology, it is not always easy to respond in a timely manner. We still believe in being present when meeting with others, driving, etc.

• No news is rarely good news. If you have not been asked to schedule an interview in over a month, chances are the position has been filled or the search is no longer a priority.

We asked President, Ben Farber to share a few of his favorite tips on how to follow up effectively when seeking a status update.

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