I will never forget a question that was I was asked quite early on in my career by my CEO - "do you think its more important for your candidate to like you, or for you to like your candidate?"
The answer seemed obvious... "for my candidate to like me?"
I was told I was wrong. And it's turned out to be true - I have only ever placed people that I like, believe in, and positively rave about.
So - does your recruiter like you?
Do you have quality relationships with a select few really good search partners, or are you spreading yourself too thin and ultimately have not much of a relationship with any of them? Yes the market is fragmented - but I would always recommend a quality over quantity approach. I work in the same way - I can't help everyone, and would rather work proactively with a smaller amount of individuals I really think I can add value to.
Some recruiters you'll get on with, others you won't. We are all different. So sack off the recruiters you don't have a connection with and nourish relationships with the ones that do. Keep in contact with them, keep them updated, and ensure they understand your experience in detail. If your recruiter likes you, understands you, and trusts you, they are more likely to sell you to their clients – even if you might not fit the exact spec.
A good headhunter will become more than just an inroad to job opportunities - they will give you advice on the market, offer career advice, CV advice, and give you insights into company cultures and reputations. They will be able to make expert introductions to people in their network, approach relevant businesses on your behalf, often create opportunities, and offer insights into new CEO and CPO appointments, and up and coming company transformation programmes, mergers, IPO's... the list goes on.
This sort of relationship will only work on the mutual grounds of respect, honesty, and trust - so if you don't like each other, you might as well give up now.
Would love to hear your thoughts!