How To Deal With A Job Recruiter

How To Make The Most Of Your Job Search Dealing with a Job Recruiter

Job recruiters typically work with businesses, to find the ideal job candidate for an open (or soon to open) position. Working with a recruiter can be an excellent way to find a job without wasting valuable time and effort.  [i] Using a recruiter shrinks the number of people you’re competing against for jobs, substantially improving your chances of finding the job you want.

Recruiters act as an intermediary between you and potential employers. As discussed previously, a recruiter will promote you to employers as the right fit for a position. His/her job is to match you up with the right employer so you are both happy with your new job.

If you’re committed to finding a job or want to take your career in a new direction, then you need to seriously consider using a recruiter. Before you jump in and start contacting recruiters and agencies, be sure that you’re prepared to make the most of your job search dealing with a recruiter. The first step is finding the recruiter that’s right for you.

Choose A Recruiter

There are many different types of recruiters. Some work in distinct industries or levels of a profession (C-level executives versus graduates). Some recruiters only work for employers in a specific geographic region, across multiple functional areas (accounting, sales, production, etc.).  Do your homework carefully so you choose a recruiter that meets your industry, employment level and geographic needs.

Select and handful of recruiters that fit the bill and get to work…


Make sure you’re prepared to speak with the recruiters you’ve chosen. The following is a summary checklist of pre-contact essentials. Have all of these on hand when you first speak with your recruiter.

1. Your Resume

The recruiter will be “selling” you to employers using the knowledge that you provide them. Make sure your resume concisely lists your experience, education, skills and achievements. When making job matches, the recruiter looks at several resumes at once, so you need to make sure your pertinent information is where he or she wants it. Listen to his/her suggestions.

2.  References

Have a valid and updated list of personal and professional references. You may want to go beyond the average 2 or 3 references you would include in a standard resume. Your references need to pass double inspection, once from the recruiter and usually once from the potential employer who is serious about making you an offer. Recruiters look for legitimate references so they can feel secure in presenting you to employers (their clients).

Additional reasons you want to have more than 2 or 3 references include; demonstrating that several people are willing to vouch for you, giving them the choice to call several people to get different points of view and most importantly, the opportunity to reach enough of them quickly. References are notoriously hard to reach which is frustrating when a role needs to be filled.

3.  Your Job Requests

Be prepared to list what you’re looking for in an employer and position. Using a recruiter is the opposite of replying to a job posting. Instead of telling the potential employer how you can fulfill THEIR needs, you’re telling the recruiter about YOUR personal needs and requests. This switch can take a little getting used to. What’s important for the recruiter to know are your desired salary and working conditions, but also any deal breakers that might pop up such as; extensive travel, shift work, overtime, noise levels, personal security concerns, etc.

The more truthful and forthcoming you are up front, the better he/she will be able to help match you up with the right employer.

4. Communication

Be honest with your recruiter. Let him/her know your exact skill set and the type of job you want and don’t want. Describe your skills and strengths and don’t be afraid to reveal your weaknesses. An experienced recruiter will use all the information you provide to guide you through the interview, selection and contract process effectively. [ii] He or she will be able to help you more with a complete picture of your professional abilities. The worst thing that can happen is for you to quit your existing job and start the new one and come face-to-face with a show stopping revelation. In that case, everyone loses.

5. Follow Up

Keep in touch with your recruiter(s). Different recruiters (or agencies) have preferred methods of contact. They use email and telephones to stay in contact with candidates – find out your recruiter’s preferred mode of communication and respect his/her choice. Make sure you promptly respond to your recruiter. If possible, set up a regular time to communicate about potential jobs and opportunities.

It’s acceptable and advisable to contact your recruiter following an interview to inquire about the results. The recruiter may or may not have information from the employer for you so try not to inquire too many times about the same interview, trust that he/she will pass on any crucial messages to you. Your relationship with your recruiter must be based on mutual trust and respect.

Follow Up Calls pay Off: Statistics show that the first person to place a follow up call to a job posting has a 95% chance to get the job position and those who call the following day only have a 1% chance. When dealing with a recruiter, don’t forget you have two calls to make, one to the employer and one to the recruiter.

6. Recruitment Myths

We’ve covered these previously, but it’s worth repeating here.

There are many misunderstandings involving recruiters. First off, don’t expect your recruiter to do your entire job search for you. Recruiters will help place you in a position, but they don’t work for you, they work for potential employers. Their job is to match you with employers, not to find every open position that you might be eligible for.

Since about 3 to 5 percent of all jobs are found though recruitment firms, a recruiter is a big part of your employment search, but should not be your one and only strategy. [iii] You still have to do some job seeking on your own!

Second, recruiters are not career counselors. They’ll help you find jobs that you are qualified for, not jobs that you wish you could have (and are not qualified for). They may help you realize that you qualify for a job in a different field than the one in which you’re currently in, but they’re not going to tell you what you need to do to meet the requirements of jobs that aren’t in your skill range. That’s your responsibility.

Recruiters won’t help you write your resume, they’ll expect you to have a complete, professional resume before you contact them. Of course they may have suggestions and recommendations, but they need to work with something that already exists – not a blank sheet of paper.

Many job seekers think all recruiters are the same, this simply isn’t true. Great recruiters are determined to forge long-term relationships with both employers and candidates. They are also intuitive and experienced enough to consistently make the best possible job placements.  Just keep in mind that well-prepared candidates make the recruiter’s job so much easier – improving your chances for placement!





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