Working Long Distance with Recruiters

Recruiters regularly work across geographies. Does it pay to find a recruiter who knows the terrain?


When you’re working with a recruiting firm, will its location affect your chances at landing the job you want? If you’re trying to find a job in a new location, does it pay to find a recruiter already there on the ground? Or does it make more sense to pick an industry expert first and worry about location second?

The best advice is to cast a wide net with the recruiters you use. Given today’s competitive market and shifting economic conditions, you should never align yourself exclusively to executive recruiters or coaches in your immediate area or even just the area you want to target.

Recruiters regularly work across borders and regions. While I serve many clients in my own backyard on the West Coast, I know several recruiting companies on the East Coast that have client relationships in my neighborhood. Conversely, I have had active clients on the West Coast who were hiring for positions on the East Coast.

Instead of the location of the recruiter’s offices, focus on the tactical perspective of their market presence, their market disciplines, and their level of engagement and tiered recruitment opportunities with their clients. In other words, don’t engage with a mid-level contract placement agency if you are looking for a full-time, executive-level position.

Your assessment of recruiters should include these steps:

  • Research your target companies to determine which recruiting firms they use as preferred vendors for their open positions.
  • Interview the executive recruiter to determine his ability to support your job search and professional expectations.
  • Ensure the firm has a strong presence in your industry and discipline. If your target industry is contract manufacturing or finance, you do not want to engage with a recruiter whose primary focus is retail.
  • Make sure the recruiter really knows your industry. Whether or not she can speak the language and use the acronyms and buzzwords of your business will reflect her degree of experience in your field.
  • Check the recruiter’s market presence and credibility. Review his LinkedIn profile, read his “recommendations,” look at his online presence and research his professional networks.
  • Be tactical in your selection and maintain a high-touch, accountable relationship with that recruiter. It’s imperative that you stay on his radar and “top of mind” whenever possible.
  • Be mindful of the recruiter’s track record. For example, if the position you are seeking is at the C-level, you want to be confident knowing she has experience placing candidates at this level. Don’t invest too much time in small talk with a recruiter or coach who does not focus on your type of position or level.

Never allow location to prevent you from working with your next recruiter. You may find your next position online or through a specific posting, but the most effective way to increase your visibility at a specific company is going to be through a personal connection, including a trusted recruiter. Taking the time to review the capabilities and qualities of your recruiter, and establishing a collaborative partnership with them, can be instrumental in securing the job of your dreams.