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The Truth about Working with Recruiters

The job search and hiring process has a lot of moving parts, which can be difficult for a candidate to navigate. A skilled recruiter can be a guide through your job search’s trickiest steps and lead you toward the position you’ve been looking for. But often, the job seeker / recruiter relationship is misunderstood.

Recruiters routinely utilize their extensive networks to secure the candidate who’s the best fit for a client’s role. While that involves working closely with job seekers on finding their next opportunity, ultimately a recruiter’s goal is to fill their clients’ jobs. This dynamic is often misunderstood by job seekers which can leave them unsure as how to work best with recruiters.

Let’s break down the truth about working with recruiters.

Truth #1: We’re not trying to fill positions regardless of fit

One of the biggest misconceptions about the recruitment field, is that recruiters are trying to fill positions regardless of fit. It’s important to note that we’re not here to just hire for a job. If we weren’t thoughtful during each search, it would defeat the purpose of the entire process, and neither the client nor candidate would be happy.

Planet Forward is a client-driven organization, and while our reputation is based on the quality of the candidates we bring to the table, it’s also closely tied to meeting our clients’ short and long-term business objectives.

Truth #2: It pays for job seekers to be completely honest with their recruiter

During the initial conversation with your recruiter, they will want to know what kind of opportunities you’re looking for. They’ll also want to know what you’re motivated by and what your expectations are. Be truthful! Leaving something out wastes everyone’s time, and no one will get what they want or need.

Being honest from our first conversation is critical to our combined success. One of the keys to working with recruiters, is their ability to form a relationship with you. We consider many factors when working with a candidate. Even something as innocuous as commute times can have an impact on whether a job is the right one. Unfortunately, people are notoriously unpredictable, and while we try our best to set expectations up front, we’re not always given the full story.

There are many areas in which job seekers should be especially forthcoming with information, including:

  • Working with other recruiters. Although we love exclusive relationships, working with other recruiters is not a deal breaker. As a job seeker, you should be working all angles of your search, but it’s important for us to know who else you are working with.
  • The companies you have directly applied to. It’s imperative that we know which companies and jobs you have directly applied to – not so we can cut you out of the loop, but so we don’t submit you for the same opportunity. More on this below.
  • Why you left your last role. It’s critical that we know the truth about why you departed your last company so we can help advocate for you or coach you on messaging if necessary.
  • Your salary expectations. When we have insight into what you expect to be paid, we can finetune the opportunities presented to you; we can also share our market insight to let you know if your expectations are in line with what we are seeing on the hiring side.
  • Your skills and experience. It’s an opportunity wasted if your actual skill set doesn’t match what you’ve written on your resume. We’re counting on you to be accurate, and if we know what you’re actually capable of, there may be wiggle room with an employer.
  • Your timeline. If you’re not ready to leave your current place of employment, tell us. If you present yourself as actively looking for work but aren’t 100% committed to leaving for the right opportunity, make sure you communicate that so expectations are managed on all fronts.

When we don’t have the full picture from the beginning, we won’t be able to make the kind of connection that gets you the best job, and our client, the best candidate for the role. If you’re transparent, we’ll keep track of you. There’s a good chance a position will come up in the future, and we’ll reach out.

Truth #3: We want you to proactively communicate with us

We understand that everyone has a lot going on, but we can’t stress enough how important it is to communicate clearly with your recruiter. If we call you, it’s for a reason, and if you don’t respond, we won’t know if you’re no longer interested or simply unavailable.

Always take the time to ring us back. If you don’t have time to talk, send a text to let us know when you can connect. Also, recruiters would rather talk to you than text back and forth. There’s a lot more clarity in a conversation, so keep the texts to a minimum.

Truth #4: We won’t take it personally if you’re not interested

Our feelings, as well as those of other professional recruiters, won’t be hurt if you’re not interested in a job. It’s why we have those candid conversations on the front end. We’ll know if you’re ready to commit, and we’ll have a solid understanding of the work you really want. If you don’t want to move forward though, let us know why. Your feedback is helpful, and it keeps the lines of communication open.

It will also help us present more targeted opportunities in the future. And, not being interested in one opportunity won’t prevent us from reaching out later with another. Again, it’s all about communication and transparency.

Truth #5: It’s important to let us manage your search

Although you must be an active participant in your own job search, let us manage as many pieces of the process as possible, especially as it relates to applying for jobs. If you see a role listed online, reach out and let us know you are interested. If we are working with that company, we can put your resume directly in front of a hiring manager. Apply on your own and you could get rejected by the company’s hiring software. And, once you’ve applied, we can’t represent you at the company which could be detrimental to your search. If we’re not working with the company, we’ll let you know so you can strategize on the best way to apply.

A recruiter will also prep you for interviews, which puts you at a major advantage. We know our clients and are familiar with how they run their businesses. After an interview, we’ll debrief you for your impressions of the meeting. If that role isn’t a good fit, we’ll retain your information for other opportunities. If all goes well, we’ll help negotiate your compensation, which could give you a boost, because we know our clients’ current rates, as well as their limitations.

You’re not going to be offered every job that you interview for. Sometimes the right position comes up and you’re hired immediately, and other times it takes as long as two years. Try not to get discouraged, recruiters are looking for the best fit, and a position that you’ll be happy in. If the recruitment process works as it should, the client will be just as happy as you are, and that’s the best possible outcome. Just remember to always be truthful when working with recruiters!

Photo credit: Canva

by Sam Craciun, Senior Recruiter, Planet Forward