How to Work With Recruiters

How to Work With Recruiters

by Dana Zaruba

Today’s post is about how recruitment firms work, what to know before you approach a firm and how best to work with one if you decide to include a recruiter in your employment search toolbox.

What Is A Recruitment Firm?

The very first thing to consider is that recruiters don’t actually work for you and their priority isn’t to find you a job. They work for companies who need staff but either don’t have the time, expertise or the staff to search for new employees. So when a recruiter talks about their “Clients”, they mean the companies who hire them to find them employees and not job seekers. Knowing this will help put your job search into perspective and will help you manage your expectations.

How Are Recruiters Paid?

Companies directly pay recruitment firms a percentage of an employee’s salary once they’ve hired someone a recruiter recommended, but that money isn’t drawn from a new hire’s salary. Companies also sometimes pay a set fee for recruiters who find them temporary workers.

Essentially, it’s a free service to you and using a recruiter should only be one avenue in your job hunting tool kit along with networking and other forms of career planning, like volunteer work and direct applications to postings.

Why Don’t Recruiters Get Back To Me?

Most recruiters simply don’t have the time to respond to the hundreds of people who send in their resumes. Their priority is finding appropriate candidates for their clients as quickly as possible. If they don’t get back to you it can be for several reasons:

  • You’re not qualified for the position. You may be a great candidate in many respects but someone else may be better. 
  • Reputable recruiters try to balance the pressure of finding an employee the company will accept with encouraging them to consider candidates whom the company may initially refuse. Recruiters are bound by confidentiality agreements and may not be able to disclose a company’s reasoning behind their decisions.
  • You may not be presenting yourself as a professional. Recruiters don’t have time to listen to lengthy explanations of why you’re out of work, previous employment problems or lack of career direction. 
  • If you are only using the job as a stepping stone, many recruiters will hesitate to consider you if they think you will only leave when something better comes along or if you start pushing for promotion soon after starting.
  • A recruiter who has an established relationship with an employer knows exactly what kind of employee they’re looking for and you may just not be the right fit, even if you have all the right qualifications. 

Tips for Working With Recruiters

  1. Know what kind of work you’re looking for in advance of contacting a recruiter.
  2. Find a recruiting firm that fits your industry.
  3. Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date as many recruiters find candidates this way.
  4. Read the job postings carefully and apply as soon as the posting comes out. Recruiters are under extreme time pressure and they will present suitable candidates as soon as they have enough people. Wait too long and you’ll likely be out of the running. 
  5. Make sure your cover letters, resumes, references and personal presentation are impeccable and targeted to a job posting. Do not expect any calls from them. They will only contact you if they think you might be a good fit.
  6. Be efficient and polite when speaking with recruiters and never show annoyance or frustration. Keep your answers, positive, short, direct and honest.
  7. If meeting with a recruiter, come prepared as though you were going to a job interview. Make sure your personal hygiene is perfect and wear your interview clothes. The recruiter is assessing you in that meeting and may or may not recommend you to their client based on how you present yourself initially to them.
  8. Be honest. If you were let go from a previous position, be sure to tell the recruiter but keep it short and as positive as possible. 
  9. Be prepared to share your salary expectations when asked as this is often a deciding point for a recruiter compiling a list of appropriate candidates.
  10. Respond promptly to a recruiter’s calls or emails. Follow up with them after an interview and whether or not you’re still interested in the job.
  11. Be honest with recruiters if you’re working for several recruiters at one time. 
  12. If you apply to a job both through a recruiter and directly, you run the risk of being disqualified from either possibility. If you have networking contacts within the company, you may have better luck applying directly. If not, then a recruiter may be a better way of contacting the company as they pre-screen for the employer. Tread carefully here and choose one or the other. 

By doing careful research on a recruitment firm and the industries in which they specialize, working with a reputable can lead to some valuable employment opportunities. 

For free employment programs and all things job search-related, visit our Help for Job Seekers page