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Four Tips to Maximize Your Recruiter Relationship

Thinking of using a recruiter for your next job search? A good first step is having a clear understanding of how recruitment firms work and what you can and can’t expect. If you are looking to a recruiter to help you in your job search, keep these four important points in mind.

1. We are career advancers, not career changers

Recruitment firms can be compared to a car’s accelerator but not to the steering wheel. This may be frustrating if you are looking to change careers rather than advance in your field. The inherent problem is that our clients – the hiring companies – are not willing to pay to find someone who wants to try something new. Companies pay agencies to find people who have done what they need them to do and have proven they do it well. They can find career-changers on their own and not pay an agency fee to do so. Clients want the ideal candidate from their recruitment firm, and for that they are willing to pay.

If we have a candidate whom we know is stellar but who may not have exactly what the client has requested, we will be their champion and make a case for the hiring manager to look twice. While the job seeker may not be exactly what they are looking for – at least not on paper – we explain they are exactly what their organization needs. With a select group of candidates, this approach can work, but its success is limited.

Use us for everything you can – market information, resume review, interview preparation – but understand that if you are looking to change careers, it’s likely we will not be able to help you.

2. You need to control your search

This is your search, which means you need to keep control of it. There is nothing more exciting for a recruiter than to meet an exceptional candidate and tell our best clients about him or her. But, before you let your recruiter send your resume to anyone, take the time to hear what she is saying. Make sure it’s a company you are interested in exploring before your resume is submitted. If you don’t like the company, tell the recruiter, “No thank you.” Or, if you’ve sent your resume in yourself, make sure your recruiter doesn’t duplicate your efforts, as it won’t reflect well on you or your recruiter.

If you are confident in your relationship with your recruiter and are comfortable with them submitting you for jobs, that’s fine. Just make sure you know and approve of what’s happening on your behalf.

3. Your recruiter shouldn’t forget you

We represent many clients and work with a lot of qualified candidates. Good recruiters have sharp memories and never forget a candidate when the right opportunity comes along. That said, we don’t always have time to check in with you if there isn’t something to discuss. When there is a lack of communication, don’t assume you’ve been forgotten; try to understand if it takes your recruiter a little time to get back to you. And, be proactive. You should feel comfortable reconnecting with your recruiter to make sure you are top-of-mind, and consistent follow-up will show your commitment to making a move. Just be sure and follow up appropriately; too much contact could become time-consuming to the recruiter and will not be productive for either of you.

4. Good recruiters are honest

A good recruiter who cares about your job search and your career will be honest with you. We will share feedback to improve your resume, interview techniques and even your interview attire. We will also talk with you about why you may not be an ideal fit for a particular job. While it’s not always easy to hear, an honest approach will put you in a better place to land a job. If you feel your recruiter isn’t being straightforward with you, for example, telling you things you want to hear because she may not be comfortable being direct, or if he just doesn’t seem trustworthy, it may be time to find a new career partner.

Working with a talented recruiter can be a valuable asset to your job search toolkit. Going into the relationship knowing what to expect and what not to expect will help you make the most of what they can offer.

Photo Credit: Wisegeek