How Building Rapport Can Help Ace Your Job Application: Tips for Interacting with Recruiters, HR, and Talent Acquisition Professionals

In today’s competitive job market, standing out as a candidate requires more than just a stellar CV and impressive qualifications. Building strong relationships with Recruiters, HR and TA professionals can significantly impact your success throughout the job application process.

The majority of candidates I work with are courteous and professional. They commit to providing screening information, tailored CV’s, profile pointers and taking on board preparation tips or interview feedback. What’s more is they understand that I’m asking for these things as I’m a professional, and I know how to navigate the application > interview > job offer process.

Unfortunately, from my 10+ years’ experience working with a variety of different candidates, many candidates overlook the importance of fostering these connections, leading to missed opportunities and potential pitfalls along the way.

It’s not always the less experienced candidates who are guilty of this. Scarily, I tend to find more senior professionals skip the rapport building windows.

Here are some essential tips for interacting with the key players or gatekeepers in your job search journey:

Communicate with Courtesy:

Whether it’s through email, phone calls, or in-person meetings, always maintain a respectful and courteous tone. Remember that Recruiters and HR and TA professionals are busy individuals managing multiple candidates simultaneously.
Being polite and considerate in your interactions will leave a positive impression and demonstrate your professionalism.

Top tip: If a Recruiter, HR, or TA professional asks you how you are, or how your weekend was, don’t skip to the business part – take that opportunity to build rapport on a personal level. This may sound super basic, but you would be surprised….

Be Responsive & Timely:

Promptly respond to any communication from Recruiters or HR professionals, including emails, calls, or interview invitations. Delayed responses can signal disinterest or lack of commitment, potentially causing you to miss out on valuable opportunities. Strive to reply within a reasonable timeframe to keep the conversation flowing smoothly.

Top tip: To create a shortlist of 3-5 top candidates, I communicate with a longlist of 10-15 candidates, which can be shortened down from 50+ applicants. Multiply that by 5-15 jobs, and you see how many candidates are competing for that one golden opportunity. A Recruiter will prioritise candidates that are punctual and consistent in their communication. Keep in mind that recruitment moves fast.

Tailor Your Approach:

Take the time to understand the specific requirements and preferences of each Recruiter or HR professional you interact with. Tailor your communication style and content to align with their expectations, whether it’s highlighting relevant skills or demonstrating enthusiasm for the role and company. Personalising your approach shows that you’re genuinely interested and invested in the opportunity.

Top tip: Recruiters have the same goal you have – to successfully secure the role. If your Recruiter asks for certain details to add to your CV/ application, it’s in your best interests to get it to them. Chances are it’s the difference between being shortlisted or being rejected.

Build Rapport:

Building rapport is key to fostering positive relationships with Recruiters, HR, and TA professionals. Take on board their insights and perspectives, and don’t hesitate to ask thoughtful questions about the company culture, team dynamics, or the hiring process. Establishing a rapport can set you apart from other candidates and increase your chances of success.

Top tip: Many candidates I have placed over the years come back to me to either find a new role again, or to hire for their own team. This is a two-way street as candidates know they will have a reliable recruitment partner for life. Since Covid the world has become a much smaller place – always keep business relationships intact as you never know when you might need to lean on somebody again.
If you’re not looking, timing isn’t quite right, or your circumstances have changed, always keep your Recruiter in the loop with an update if they’re think of reaching out to you with an opportunity.

Follow Instructions Carefully:

Pay close attention to any instructions provided by Recruiters, HR, or TA professionals, especially regarding the application process or interview arrangements.
Failure to follow instructions accurately can reflect poorly on your attention to detail and ability to follow directions, potentially jeopardising your candidacy. Double-check your submissions to ensure compliance with any stated requirements.

Top tip: It can take a whole lot of effort, luck, and skill to land your dream job first time round. In many cases it takes two or more applications to get the job offer you want. If I know a candidate will take on board support and guidance on how to tailor their application and interview technique, I will prioritise that candidate for the next suitable opportunity. Bear in mind the volume of candidates a Recruiter deals with – you want to be the first person they think to go to.

Express Gratitude:

Don’t forget to express gratitude for any assistance, guidance, or opportunities provided by Recruiters, HR, and TA professionals. A simple thank you note, or email goes a long way in showing appreciation and leaves a positive impression. Even if a particular opportunity doesn’t pan out, maintaining a gracious attitude can leave the door open for future collaborations or referrals.

Top tip: No Recruiter wants to give a candidate negative feedback. However, negative feedback is a golden ticket to getting it right for the next opportunity. If one company thinks you’ve lacked skills or not showcased your specific strengths to secure the job, maybe it’s an area for self-improvement. Either way, don’t shoot the messenger! A Recruiter giving it to you straight isn’t in the business of wasting your time, they’re giving you vital signals for improvement.


Navigating the job application process requires more than just submitting a resume and cover letter. By focusing on building rapport, demonstrating courtesy, and effectively communicating with Recruiters, HR, and TA professionals, you can enhance your chances of success and stand out as a top candidate. Remember that every interaction is an opportunity to make a positive impression and move one step closer to securing your dream job.

Personally, if a candidate shows a genuine interest in me as a person and I enjoy my interactions with them, I’m all in on pushing as much as I can to help influence their chances of securing their dream job.

Ask yourself the question – What sort of lasting impression are you leaving on your Recruiter, HR and TA professional?

In some cases, candidates can argue that they have had a poor experience with a Recruiter, HR, or TA professional. I have had this experience many times.

However, it’s very much a two-way street. As there is no cost associated with using the service of a Recruiter, candidates are free to work with whoever they like.
If you find a courteous Recruiter, HR or TA professional that goes the extra mile for you, reciprocate the behaviour, until you’re given a reason to do otherwise. They most likely can be the difference maker between success and failure.

Finally, a job description and a website can for sure tell you a lot about a job opportunity. However, a good Recruiter will know the culture of the business and its people, how the business is performing, what the hiring manager is like, what to expect at interview, if there’s potential for career development….the list goes on.

Want to sharpen your job search skills and give yourself an advantage when attacking a competitive job market? Reach out to our specialist Recruitment Consultants, who are local market specialists in their chosen fields.

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