Don’t let fear get between you and what could be a life-changing career move.
A good recruiter can be the key between settling for any old job and securing a position that fits your true skills, interests and ambitions. Yet some people will hang up when a recruiter calls or press delete on their voicemail before even listening to it. Others will agree to meet, but then put on a front for the recruiter – hiding facts about their work history they worry will not go over well in an interview.
Both reactions are based on inaccurate perceptions – often rooted in fear – of what recruiters do and who they work for.
We recruiters are not an extension of a company’s HR department. We’re independent contractors working on a commission basis. And we only get paid if you get the job. Our interests are aligned. You are our client.
The best recruiters do this job because we truly like people, are interested in their stories, and want to help them succeed. We are here to help you, not hurt you.
Be Transparent with Your Recruiter
In order to truly help you, we need to have the full story. Far from being the ticket to that job you have been dreaming of, hiding or distorting key facts about your background from the recruiter could wind up sinking your chances.
Telling a recruiter you have particular tech skills, when in fact you don’t, never ends well. The company invariably discovers this, to their frustration, after a few days on the job. The recruiter, in turn, has lost a chance to help place you in a job that would have been a better fit.
Don’t be evasive
Nor does it pay to be evasive with a recruiter about gaps in your resume. We’ve seen it all, and can help you make your best case, but only if we have all the correct info.
A case in point is the restaurant industry manager who had been out of work for several months and was feeling anxious about the gap on his resume. He was determined to paper over that gap, but it was clear that this would only raise questions and severely undermine his chances with this company. After a friendly discussion and some gentle probing, it became clear that he was not shirking work. Far from it, in fact. Rather, he was worried about being exposed to COVID-19.
So, instead of hiding this pertinent fact, we agreed he would be upfront during the interview about the real reason for his decision not to work during those months. The first interview wound up going so well that he was recently called in for a second.
Keep Lines of Communication Open
All that said, honesty and communication must be a two-way street. If something doesn’t go well in the interview, the recruiter is going to hear about it from the employer. It’s important for recruiters to discuss this feedback with their candidates to identify potential issues and correct them. There are other situations where there is no feedback or response from the company at all for several weeks after an interview. In this case, it’s important for a recruiter to stay in regular touch with the candidate, even if there is no new news to pass on.
A good recruiter checks in with candidates once a week. It could be just a quick text to see how they are doing, or maybe just to say that they haven’t heard back yet, but will let them know as soon as company XYZ reaches out. Having a recruiter on your side during the inevitable lulls or quiet periods in your job search can be invaluable, giving you a leg up on other candidates who are going it alone.
Recruiters have an extensive network of relationships with a range of companies, including a sense of what their corporate cultures are like and what they are looking for in an employee. Even as one job falls through, your recruiter may already have an eye on another opening for which you might be an even better fit.
Hunting for a new job is never easy. But working with a recruiter could make all the difference. So, the next time a recruiter leaves a message, return the call. It could just be the big break you have been looking for.
By Melissa Musser, Recruiter at Planet Forward
Image credit: Canva