There are a lot of factors that go into recruiting. For some of you who are new to the process of working with a recruiter, here’s a quick primer to help you get the lay of the land:
1. Know that the recruiter doesn’t work for you – they work for their client. Too often, candidates approach recruiters with the mindset that the recruiter will work to find them a job. In contrast, recruiters are given jobs by their clients, and work to find candidates that are match for that particular job. Because of this, if they don’t have a job that is a match at this time, they may not be able to help you – but that’s not to say they won’t have something that is a fit down the road. In the meantime, a recruiter may be willing to offer interview tips or revise your resume, if they feel they can place you in the future.
2. Be selective in which recruiters you use and which jobs you are submitted to. All recruiters are not created equal. You will be better off forming relationships with a few good recruiters, than working with every agency in your area. Also, know that two recruiters submitting your resume for the same job can sometimes remove you from consideration entirely. Be honest with your recruiter about your motivations for wanting to change jobs, salary expectations, and other job opportunities you are currently pursuing. Don’t let them submit you to a job you don’t have a reasonable chance of leaving your current employer for.
3. Recruiters are not in the same profession you are. Recruiters do their best to learn the jobs they will be filling, but hundreds of jobs come across their desk, and it is impossible to be an expert on each one. Be polite if you are contacted about a job that isn’t a match for what you do, and make sure to let them know what type of work you would like to be contacted about. Also, assess the technical aptitude of your recruiter when explaining your skills and abilities – you may need to talk to them as you would a layperson rather than a colleague in your field.
4. Communication and follow up are key – but don’t be a stalker. Set expectations with your recruiter on when you should expect to move to the next step (interview, second interview, offer, etc). Ask them if it is okay with them if you follow up with them if you haven’t heard from them by that point; then make sure to do it. Most recruiters are juggling several priorities and will appreciate you contacting them, rather than having to remember to call you with a status update.
Don’t be the person who calls every day (or multiple times per day) for an update – good things take time. If a recruiter is nice enough to give you their cell phone number, use discretion in calling them very early or very late.
5. Don’t burn bridges. If you have been working with a recruiter on a particular job opportunity, and receive a better offer, give them a call and let them know you are no longer available. Nothing irritates a recruiter more than working with a candidate every step of the way – and then an offer arrives, and the candidate is nowhere to be found. Similarly, if you need to cancel an interview, give them a call rather than being a no-show. You never know when you will find yourself back in the job market and need your recruiters’ help again.