In the modern era of job boards, LinkedIn, web portals and transactional hiring processes, face-to-face meetings between candidates and recruiters have become far less common.
There are many benefits to these meetings for both sides; it’s certainly worth taking an hour out of your diary to venture down to a cafe or bar, particularly if the recruiter is willing to come to you.
An obvious benefit of meeting your recruiter is gaining a better understanding of the market. We work roles across financial services (within our discipline) on a daily basis and so naturally we have a good idea who is hiring in our particular domain. On top of this, your recruiter will be able to give you a far better insight into a certain client; their organisational structure and processes to help you really get a well rounded view on your next move. This can be done over the phone, but it is a far more slap dash manner than when communicated in person. A ten minute phone call will never compare to a 45 minute conversation over a coffee when it comes to the discussing the specifics of the market or a role/process.
Trust is, in my opinion, the most important reason to meet up for both candidate and recruiter alike. Sitting across a table from someone and finding common ground builds trust better than any other method. If you are to trust someone to represent you to a hiring manager, you need to have belief in their ability and that you will be represented as well as possible. Everything down to a person’s appearance will form your opinion of how equipped they will be to do represent you moving forward. Again, this is not possible over the phone or email.
A further good reason to meet with a recruiter is you will able to separate the good from the bad. As value added is so much greater in person, differentiating becomes easier. This becomes important, as in an ideal world you would only want to work with two or three recruiters. Having your name spread around the market too much and being submitted to roles that aren’t relevant is only going to damage your job hunt in the long run. Differentiating the quality of a person from the meeting is a two way stream. As recruiters, we see several hundred CVs per week, meeting you in person makes you memorable and keeps you fresh in our minds. So when an urgent role is released and our client wants to see profiles ASAP, you will be at the top of our list.
To sum up, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain from meeting the person who will be spearheading your job search. If nothing else, you can enjoy the free drink!