The Do’s and Don’ts of Working with a Recruiter

Iris Moon

Unemployment rates remain at or near all-time lows and competition for talent across all industries continues to increase. As a result, recruiters are having to work harder to find the right candidates for the right companies. Many candidates may be inexperienced in working recruiters, or perhaps they worked with one before but didn’t find the relationship rewarding or helpful (you’re not alone!). Working with a recruiter successfully is dependent upon the recruiting firm’s culture and knowing how to make that relationship work both ways. Here are some simple do’s and don’ts to consider when you are ready to take the next step in your career:

DO: Be Responsive
Because of the competition in today’s job market, recruiters must move quickly to ensure they don’t lose candidates to a faster moving company. As such, recruiters will ask for your availability for interviews that may be happening the next day. If it takes you a couple of days to respond to emails, the interview opportunity may no longer be available. Recruiters assume that you are serious about your job search, so it’s important to show that you are by making yourself available. Even if you are not interested in the position or can’t make time for the interview, it is always better to say, “no thanks,” than to not respond at all.

DON’T: Ghost or Disappear
Perhaps you’ve found another job opportunity or your current job offered you an increase in salary that you couldn’t turn down. Let your recruiter know as soon as possible. If you have simply changed your mind about working with them, they would prefer that response versus you “ghosting” or disappearing on them. It’s possible that your resume may end up on their desk in the future, and you want to make sure you aren’t burning any bridges or leaving anyone with bad feelings.

DO: Be Transparent
If you are working with other recruiters or applying for jobs outside of your relationship with that recruiter, be transparent. Most companies and recruiters know that candidates are applying elsewhere. But without knowing exactly what that means and what it will take for them to get that candidate on their team (salary, culture, etc.), they won’t be able to take the necessary steps to meet your needs. If you’re not open about what it will take for you to sign on with a new company, the recruiter can’t work in your best interest or find you the best fit.

DON’T: Lie
This seems like a simple one, but many people either don’t understand how the recruiter relationship works, or they are simply embarrassed by a past discrepancy in their background. Just as you shouldn’t lie in an interview, it’s important to not lie during the recruitment process. Lying about something that may pop up on your background check, or not being truthful about your salary at a previous position will not help your relationship with the recruiter or companies looking to hire you. It breaks people’s trust with you and is seen as a major character flaw.

Recruiters are here to build a trusting relationship with you and facilitate that same relationship between you and your future company. Good recruiters don’t want this to be a one and done transaction. Even if they don’t find you the right fit for this job search, they may find you a great fit down the road when you are ready for a future career change. You should always be able to be open and honest with a recruiter and expect that it won’t hurt the relationship. When you can do this with the right recruiting firm, the stage will be set for a mutually beneficial relationship. Good recruiters are not only looking to find you a good fit now, they are also seeking to help you with the long-term growth of your career.

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