How To Work With A Recruiter In Harmony

How To Work With A Recruiter In Harmony
Article contributed by Ben Kahan
Written on 23 February 2015

Working with a recruitment agency can seem a daunting task, and if you've been unlucky before then it's always tough to convince yourself that a recruiter will be able to help you.

At the end of the day, you and the recruiter have the same end goal: get you a job at somewhere you'll enjoy enough to commit to, and for a salary that suits all parties.

And working with a recruitment company is advantageous in several ways. To begin with, a good agency will have an impressive network to connect you with roles that are otherwise hidden, and good relationships with clients mean thatcompanies will be willing to make room for an exceptional candidate if they trust the recruiter's judgement.

But what if you haven't heard from your recruitment agent in a while? Should you call them up and ask what's going on? You've had an interview elsewhere through someone else, should you keep that quiet or let them know? How do you know that they're looking out for you?

At times it may seem as if you're in the dark but the best recruiters will try to be as transparent as possible with you. But this is a two-way street - and this a guide for putting yourself in the optimal position to work harmoniously with someone who is an expert in getting you a job.

Write (and maintain) an updated résumé

I've seen so many excellent CVs which, upon phone screening a candidate, I find are outdated by months or even a year, leaving out as much as an entire position or qualification. If you want to lead with your best foot, ensure that you start out with the most up-to-date edition, and if there are any changes during your time working with a recruiter, be sure to alert them to your amendments.

Be honest (the good and the bad)

The more honest you are, the easier it is for a consultant to understand what opportunity best suits you, and the more efficient your relationship will be. For example, saying that you aren't great at working alone might be a death sentence in an interview, but a recruiter can find a role that keeps you working in a team. If you say you're looking for £25,000 but really want a salary a few grand higher, make that clear - the agent is working to get you what you want or they know the deal will fall through.

Keep them updated on your job search

It's always important to keep your recruiter updated on how your job search is going. Some agents might request you not mention the names of firms your visiting - and that's fine - but any feedback you get, successes as well as letdowns, are a good indication of where your strengths and weaknesses are. Of the places you've interviewed at, where have you liked? Why? This information is great for helping your agent find you your ideal environment.

Be clear on what you want (and what you offer)

The best way to tell a recruiter what you're looking for is to simply tell them. Don't give them an answer that you think they want to hear - what they really want is to know exactly what kind of opportunity you'd be interested in. Likewise, help a recruiter understand why you want the role by telling them what you offer - a recruiter can be considered a salesperson and you are their product, so don't be shy when talking about your best qualities. These will make it easier to impress an employer - and get your foot in the door.

Stay in contact (within reason)

The life of a recruiter is a busy one - and there are lots of conversations going on at once. The best recruiters might have already assessed you for a number of roles that were in the pipeline but established that you weren't the best fit - but from your side, it sounds like you've dropped off the radar. Radio silence from a recruiter doesn't mean you're not still in consideration for any number of roles - it's usually an indication that they're busy, and that's a good thing, because that means more opportunities.

That said, it's perfectly reasonable to call up your agent from time to time to see how they're getting on, what roles they have and to simply develop your relationship.

Tell them why opportunities aren't right

If a recruiter comes to you with an opportunity but you turn it down, or you go to an interview but the company doesn't seem right, you should let the recruiter know exactly how you feel. This will give them a clearer idea of exactly what you're looking for; sometimes finding the right role is be about establishing what the wrong role is. And if you're not right for a position, perhaps someone else you know is - referring someone who your agent can work with on a position that isn't right for you will elevate your relationship with the recruiter and make you more favourable for further opportunities.

Keep them up to date

What has changed since you last spoke? Have you had more interviews? Met with any other directors or partners? Heard about a role in the pipeline? Handed in your resignation letter (or set a date to do so)? Completed an exam toward a qualification? All of these pieces of information are both important aspects of your career progression and are excuses to talk to your recruiter to develop your relationship. Letting them know about your own career and personal development will help evolve your profile and could make you open to more opportunities.


Walker Andersen - It's all about time