Most companies work with recruiters, whether outside or in-house. Another way of looking at that situation is that all recruiters, the best recruiters and the worst recruiters, are working for the company—not you. Their pay depends on their ability to find good candidates who will last at least a year at the company. Their definition of a “good” candidate can vary widely depending on the knowledge, priorities, and ethics of the recruiter, but it is well to remember that recruiters are not always invested in your best interests.
How to Work Well with the Best Recruiters
The best recruiters, like professional resume writers, often have insights into the job market that you cannot possibly have. The best recruiters are also among the first—and sometimes the only people—to know when a job opening occurs. To benefit from these advantages, you need to know what to share and what to look for:
- Interview the recruiter because not all recruiters are conversant in your field or industry, and the ones that are not are probably a bad fit.
- Know what the industry norm is for paying and promoting someone with your experience, education, and background in your geographic area so that you are realistic about compensation and the positions you are qualified for.
- Communicate in advance what range of salary will be acceptable to you.
- Make sure your resume is current and marketable. Treat the interview with the recruiter the same way you would treat an interview with a hiring manager. You would never show up at a company with an outdated, unprofessional resume, would you?
- Determine the best way for you each to contact the other. With all the options available today—email, office or cell phone, video, and in-person—you need to settle on the best means and times, or you will constantly miss each other’s communications.
- Be honest. The recruiter is in direct contact with the company. If you hide or distort information when you speak to the recruiter, the company will hear it, check it, and turn you down—and you will lose any chance of working with that recruiter. Also, let the recruiter know if you are working with other recruiters, so you do not end up applying for the same job multiple times.
- Take their advice when they offer important reasons to change your interview style, for example, or offer to negotiate on your behalf to help create an offer you will accept. Be careful about advice to lower your salary requirements below the industry norm or to change your job title or other factual information–these are tactics used by the worst recruiters.
- Speak up if you think a recruiter is trying to fit you into a job or industry where you do not belong. You may find that the recruiter has interesting ideas—or may need further education on what you are looking for and qualified for.
Reasons to Stop Working with a Recruiter
According to a recent survey, 46% of organizations have cited recruitment challenges as one reason they cannot expand. But you have good reasons for walking away from the worst recruiters, the ones who:
- Try to pressure you to take a low paying job.
- Accuse you of wasting their time.
- Want you to pay for their services.
- Refuse to listen when you try to educate them about your career or industry.
- Lie about the position, or lie to the company about you.
What Working with a Recruiter Means for Your Job Search
Not everyone will benefit from working with a recruiter—for example, anyone seeking an entry-level job would normally be of little interest to a recruiter—but even if you are working with the best recruiters, you have to keep up your job search by other means. Working with a recruiter is not a magic key to instant employment. As long as you synchronize your search (again, so you are not applying multiple times to the same job), you should continue all your other job-seeking efforts.
Recruiters need professional resumes to work from. They do not rewrite resumes, although they may offer suggestions. If working with a recruiter is appropriate for you, contact Robin’s Resumes®—we have decades of experience writing resumes that appeal to recruiters and hiring managers alike.