How to Work with a Recruiter 101

There are recruiters at all levels, with all types of different companies, with different goals, strategies, methods, etc. For me, it is important to be honest, open and recruit with integrity to really find candidates that are a fit for the positions available. If you are not a fit I will tell you, if the hiring manager has not given feedback yet, I will tell you, if we cannot afford you, I will let you know. I have learned recently that not all situations are as clear for the candidates as I think they are, hopefully this provides some clarification.

I have provided some general rules of thumb, and advice from my perspective from the trenches.

When a recruiter calls you- you are already being interviewed. The first phone call you get from a recruiter is essentially your first phone interview. Details about what you are looking for in your next career move, salary inquiries, what you are currently doing now, are all questions to deduce if you are the right fit for the position they are recruiting for. THIS DOES NOT MEAN TO BE VAGUE AND GENERALIZE YOUR ANSWERS. Be honest here. Tell them what you are looking for and your experience, it will not benefit either party for you to get interviewed for a position you are unqualified for. If you aren’t a fit now, maybe you will be in the future for another position.

If you submit a resume, and you don’t get a call back. You were not the right fit. We receive so many emailed in resumes and applications to job posts that we just don’t have the time to send individual “Our apologies” emails. We WANT to have a reason to call you about a position, so make it easy for us. Cater your resume to the job description that is posted. Use key words that are on the JD on your resume. BUT DO NOT LIE- the WORST thing you can do is lie on your resume to get an interview. You will look like an idiot when we ask questions about specific things and you have no idea what they do, but it’s on your resume. (I’m thinking about writing a blog dedicated to this, let me know if you’re interested)

We take notes and have a database. Most recruiting companies have some sort of database they log information to see when the last time a recruiter from their organization reached out to you. We save the salary range you are looking for and the type of position you are looking for. This way other recruiters are able to search you out in case they do have a position that is a right fit, another reason why it is important to be HONEST.

Recruiters tend to be WELL connected. Be careful about doing what you say you are going to do when you speak with a recruiter. If you are going to take an assessment test, or make a follow-up phone call, DO IT. Unfortunately, sometimes it is easier to remember what people didn’t do and how they messed up, than what they did. If you didn’t take an assessment test you told me you would, and I never heard from you again about a position you weren’t too sure you wanted anyway- and a colleague of mine asks me if they should reach out to you, my response would be “No, they are flaky and I would not recommend setting them up for an interview with a client”, and that could have been your dream job.

If we say ‘Please_____as soon as possible”. We mean it. Hiring managers for various companies are on their own schedule. Sometimes GREAT candidates have to get passed up because they have not completed certain phases of our screening process quickly enough to be submitted to the client. SO PLEASE, if a recruiter asks you to do something quickly, feel free to inquire as to “why”? Hopefully the person you are working with will be open with you and you both can get on the same schedule.

If your recruiter goes “dark”. If you haven’t heard from the recruiter you are working with about a position for a while, call them or email them. Sometimes recruiters are working on 10+ positions at a time and not all of them have the same priority rating and some of the hiring managers are a little slow getting feedback. It is OK to call and check in, or follow-up with an email. You have a right to know where you stand- but try to keep it as polite as possible. We aren’t trying to screw you over.

Thank you emails. Following up after a phone interview or an in person meeting is always nice. A thank you email a few days later is also a good way to check in on the status of your position if you aren’t comfortable just making an outright phone call, to a hiring manager OR a recruiter. However, timing is important I read an article about not reaching out on Mondays, so maybe check in on a Tuesday 🙂

Social Networking. WHEN YOU START APPLYING TO JOBS, CHECK YOUR MEDIA! Two of my coworkers do extensive video chats with people for in person screens. TWO people they video chatted with had pictures of themselves flipping off the camera as their default. This is not only unprofessional, it shows a lack of care for how people view them. There may be some companies out there that would love to hire you because of the picture you posted doing a keg stand upside down, while holding the handle with one arm and humming the national anthem, but most don’t (I got lucky here and they did happen to want someone with such talent, kidding!). Fix it. Most of us are the same age as you, we know what Twitter is and #badlifedecisions should not be a recent post.

There will probably be revisions, extensions, and redrafts of this post. If you have any other questions please make a comment. I would love to share!