Knowing how and when to establish a relationship with a recruiter can be challenging. Many people feel perfectly comfortable applying for open job postings and/or using their own network to make a career change. However, when it comes to establishing a relationship with a recruiter, there are two big bonuses (among many).

First, you dramatically expand your network by becoming a part of the recruitment firm’s network. Getting yourself added to their extensive database of qualified candidates will enable them to act in your behalf as a second set of eyes and ears in the market.

Secondly, you’re much more likely to learn about roles that are not posted online or known to friends. At Aviation Personnel International, we find this to be especially true for business aviation leadership positions.

A common myth about recruitment firms is that they can find you a job ASAP. Of course, recruiters love to play ‘matchmaker’ and want to help you, their candidate, succeed, but they must ensure that they’re meeting the specific hiring needs of their client, the hiring company.

Here’s what you can expect when it comes to working with a recruiter:

  • Synergy. Creating great synergy is an absolute requirement for a recruiter. To ensure that our ‘matchmaker’ role succeeds, the marriage of the hiring company (client) and the candidate must be a perfect fit. This requires being in the right place at the right time for all three parties. In many cases, a candidate might not be ready to make a transition even if and when the perfect job comes along (and vice versa).
  • Investment. Working with any recruiter requires a personal investment and commitment of time, energy and focus. More often than not, recruiters find that they can establish a much better connection when you keep in touch and check in every few months. As you might expect, a recruiter is more likely to be more engaged and supportive of the candidates who are willing to put in some work. If invited to do so, it’s wise to establish a relationship with several members of the recruitment team, since doing so will help keep you “top of mind.”
  • Brand yourself. Your résumé will help you tell your story. Make it clean and easy to read. Choose a fairly generic template in Microsoft Word and select a font like Arial or Times New Roman. Construct it in such a way that recruiters can easily locate the following: your current title, employer and tenure (at least 10 years); a few quantifiable achievements during your time in your recent role; post-secondary education; continuing education; military service (if applicable); volunteerism (e.g., NBAA committee member); technical skills and business skills (e.g., coaching, finance, negotiating, etc.). It’s also important to list your license and certification information (e.g., Airline Transport Pilot, Airframe & Powerplant and/ or licensed dispatcher).  If you’re a pilot, also list your type ratings and flight hours.
  • Pay attention to details. Even if you’re a better-than-average writer, please do not send an email with your résumé and cover letter without first having someone proofread it. Even professional writers know that a second pair of eyes is a necessary safeguard against sending documentation with a blatant error. And doing so is a surefire way to make a bad first impression.
  • Experience. Hiring companies usually have specific requirements they’re looking for when it comes to technical and educational experience. For example, a client might have a strict requirement for a minimum of 2,500 flight hours. These days, nearly all of our clients require a bachelor’s degree for senior leadership positions within their flight departments. Some even require fairly significant business skills, such as a MBA. When it comes to presenting candidates, we recruiters have to check all of the boxes to ensure that we’re meeting the hiring company’s needs.At API, for example, we will never present our top three (or four) best candidates unless we have spent some quality time with them. And corporate aviation departments come to us specifically because we make it a point to understand how each candidate will fit into their particular culture.
  • Cultural fit. You might be an excellent fit when it comes to background and experience, but you must also have the personality, motivation, leadership skills and ethics that are a good match for the hiring company. Corporations spend a considerable amount of money during the hiring and onboarding process, so they want to know that they’re making the best selection. A good fit isn’t always good enough. It often has to be exactly the right fit. And finding the right fit typically entails a very unique approach. What recruiters are looking for is something not just found on your résumé, but an assurance that you can personally and professionally assimilate into the client’s culture.
  • Assessment. Through our testing and interview process, we learn if you’re a good fit by determining what motivates you, how you react under stress, what you enjoy outside of aviation, what your dream job entails, if you’re ready to relocate, etc. All of this information helps us make the best professional matches.
  • Be assertive. You might reach out to a recruiter who doesn’t respond to you right away. Keep at it. Oftentimes we’re handling hundreds of emails and phone calls a day, but we do want to hear from you. If email doesn’t work, make a phone call. Be sure to use effective communication in your correspondence so we know the purpose of your inquiry and how to best reach you during our follow-up.

Next steps
Are you ready to work with API? If you are already an API Registered Professional, now is the time to login and update your file with us. There is no need to submit a new application. Simply login to your active account and update!

For new candidates, here are two easy steps to get started:

  1. Become a API Registered Professional™ and share your credentials with us. There’s no fee to you.
  2. If you have the right technical training, education, skills and tenure with a corporate flight department, you’ll be invited to go through our process, which requires that you:
    • Provide scanned copies of your license and certifications
    • Write a short autobiography
    • Participate in our personal assessment
    • Meet with a member of API’s staff for a personal interview, during which we will conduct an in-depth exploration of your background, goals and career motivation

During the candidate registration process, we will listen to you, learn about your personal and professional objectives and get to know you much better. And then, if the right role materializes, we will tap you on your shoulder to discuss a potential opportunity.

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