If you have a LinkedIn profile, a recruiter may have messaged you at some point. Maybe it sounded something like this - “I am a talent acquisition specialist with [x] firm, and we are currently hiring for [x] positions in your area.” You wondered: Is this spam? Are these jobs too good to be true? Should I reply?
As it turns out, these are probably not bots, but real, live recruiters vetting candidates like you for actual jobs. These industry professionals are tasked with connecting employers to a pool of ideal candidates. Recruiters can provide job-seekers with industry-specific feedback and insight, access to job opportunities, and contacts not posted to the public. In some cases, they can help to negotiate higher compensation packages. As a job-seeker, working with a recruiter can give you the jumpstart you need to get your foot in the door.
Recruiters can work in-house at a company directly or be third-party agency recruiters that work for a number of clients at multiple companies.
This dynamic makes it essential that you represent yourself as the best candidate possible and establish an ongoing, collaborative relationship with every recruiter and firm you connect with during the job search process. The Golden Rules below will help make your experience go smoothly and mutually beneficial for all parties involved:
1. BE HONEST
When working with a recruiter, communicate your goals and qualifications up front. This ensures that neither you nor the recruiter are wasting each other’s time. If a recruiter knows your desired roles, as well as your background, salary history, and reasons for leaving prior employers they will be better equipped to help both you and their clients. Being honest also prevents you from being pressured into interviews you are not interested in or not qualified for and ultimately leaving a bad impression on the recruiter by turning down the job or performing poorly in the interview. Since many recruiters are paid on commission and only get paid if you are hired, clearly conveying your goals will show that you respect their time. They will also be more inclined to contact you should you need their services at a later time. Similarly, if a recruiter approaches you for a job you are uninterested in, decline the offer, thank them for considering you, and tell them what roles or industries you would like to be contacted for in the future.
2. ESTABLISH TRUST
Being a good candidate involves establishing a trusting relationship with your recruiter. This not only means being honest about your intentions and goals but allowing the recruiter to do their job. Unless otherwise stated, let the recruiter handle all communication with the job leads they connect you with while working with them. If you find a lead on your own, promptly inform your recruiter. This will ensure that they do not send you to the same company for the same job and will prevent any communication issues or other confusion. If you are unsure what your recruiter’s communication preferences are, make sure to ask them.
3. BE PROFESSIONAL
At all points in your job search, maintain a professional, cordial relationship with recruiters. Do not complain about or bad mouth a hiring manager to a recruiter. Remember that recruiters work for their client organizations, not you. If you do not get a job offer from an interview set up by a recruiter, thank the recruiter and let them know that you would be interested in similar opportunities. If a recruiter gives you feedback on your resume, interview style, or personal branding presence, do not act offended. Instead, make it clear that you appreciate the feedback and will use it to your advantage for future job leads.
4. STAY IN TOUCH
During your job search, keep your recruiter up-to-date on your job search status without pestering them. Checking in every week or two is common practice but ask the recruiter how they would like to manage follow ups. As with any professional relationship, reply to all communication in a timely manner, keeping in mind that recruiters often work on a tight schedule. Forgetting to reply to one message can be the difference between a secured interview and a missed opportunity!
At the conclusion of your job search, whether you have found a position through the recruiter or not, be sure to thank the recruiter for their time and make it clear you are open to working together in the future. If the recruiter secured your position for you, they may follow up with you throughout your new-hire onboarding to ensure there are no issues between you and their client company.
Establishing a collaborative, ongoing relationship is essential to making the most of working with recruiters. Only through honesty, trust, professionalism, and communication can you fully leverage a recruiter’s insight and resources!
Interested in learning more about recruiters or connecting with industry-specific contacts? People Culture Consulting offers concierge career support services with all resume and career coaching packages, including connections to recruiters from a vast professional network. Unsure of how to represent yourself to a recruiter? We also offer Professional Branding services. Learn more about our individual services or schedule a free 15-minute consultation.
Clark, Biron. The Muse. “4 Truths About Working with Recruiters (That They'll Never Tell You).” https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-truths-about-working-with-recruiters-that-theyll-never-tell-you
Papandrea, Dawn. Monster. “The quickest ways to make a recruiter hate you.” https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/six-ways-to-make-a-recruiter-hate-you
Robert Half. August 1, 2018. “How to Build a Strong Relationship with a Recruiter.” https://www.roberthalf.com/blog/job-market/how-to-build-a-strong-relationship-with-a-job-recruiter
Sundheim, Ken. Top Resume. “The Do’s and Don’ts of Working with Recruiters.” https://www.topresume.com/career-advice/the-dos-and-donts-of-recruiter-communication