What a Recruiter Wants and Needs From You, the Candidate/Job Seeker

What a Recruiter Wants and Needs From You

Recruiters are valuable to job seekers in several ways.

Recruiters are an amazing resource for job seekers. The trouble is that most job seekers have unrealistic expectations of recruiters, and mistakenly believe that recruiters find jobs for people. The truth is that recruiters fill jobs for companies.

This principle works great if you are a job seeker with the right skill set to fill a position that’s currently open or will be in the near future. In other words, if you are marketable and happen to find a recruiter working in your area of expertise, the odds of that recruiter placing you are pretty high. However, if you are working with a recruiter who doesn’t have any open positions in your industry, or you are difficult to work with, you may be headed down a dead end.

Recruiters are valuable to job seekers in several ways. The most obvious is that they may be able to present you for a position. They also offer tremendous value to job seekers in areas that may not be so obvious. For example, recruiters might have insight into your market or geography that you didn’t know about. They may offer advice about job-search activities, your résumé or your interview skills. In many cases, it’s actually in their best interest for you to be hired.

That means if you help recruiters get what they want and need from you, you will have a greater chance of getting what you want from them. Here are some ways you can make the most of your relationship with recruiters:

– Build a connection. People want to help people. Seek appropriate ways to connect with recruiters as people so as to inspire them to want to work with you. Don’t go overboard and be inappropriate, but be personable.

– Be up front. Don’t make recruiters pull information out of you and don’t mislead them with your answers, as they need key facts from you. Truthfully answer inquiries about how much you make, whether you’re willing to relocate, how you feel about traveling, or any other key questions. Anything less is a waste of time — both theirs and yours.

– Remember that a recruiter has limited time. Recruiters have lots of people wanting their attention. Use the time you have with them effectively and direct their attention to your value. In order to stand out from the sea of other job seekers, quote achievements that highlight how your performance differentiates you. Recruiters are looking for sound bites they can repeat to a hiring manager.

– Respond promptly. Check your voice mail and e-mail at least twice a day. Recruiters live in a “hurry up and wait” world and will call you when they need you, so don’t hesitate. Otherwise they will keep looking to find someone else to meet their immediate need.

– Don’t let a recruiter be surprised by anything. Recruiters hate to fall in love with a candidate, only to find out later that there are skeletons in his or her closet. Honesty, while putting your best foot forward, is still the best policy. Let recruiters know what’s going on and they will do their best to help you.

– Provide information about your job-search progress. If you are interviewing and getting close to an offer, let your recruiters know. They may want the opportunity to push the interviewer into making an offer, and it’s in your best interest if they do.

– Remember that you are a reflection of the recruiter. Recruiters risk their professional reputation and relationships with hiring managers each time they present a candidate. If they present wrong candidates or someone who doesn’t perform well in an interview, their work life becomes more difficult. Recruiters live in a world dominated by trust and don’t have authority over hiring managers; they act in service to hiring managers. They can’t afford much risk in this area.

– Comply with their process. Give recruiters what they need when they need it. While they don’t make the rules or create the process, they are often held accountable for it. If you want them to help you, you have to help them.

– Share the responsibility of maintaining communication and following up. If a recruiter is working 20 positions, and 100 people apply to each of those openings, then that means 2,000 people want his or her attention at any given time. Recruiters should be professional, to be sure, but ask yourself this: How fast could you get back to someone if you had so many people wanting something from you? Don’t lose sight of the fact that the sole responsibility of recruiters is making their hiring managers happy.

– Don’t harass recruiters under the guise of being persistent. This will only frustrate and eventually anger the person you want working on your behalf. Recruiters can say and do things you cannot. They can also give you an inside scoop that you can’t get anywhere else. Are these really the people you want to make angry? Recruiters may not make the decision to hire you, but they can surely make a decision to eliminate you from the process.

All in all, recruiters function as educators and filters, and they should give you as much information as possible about positions, companies and managers. As they do this, they will be simultaneously learning about you and deciding if hiring managers should invest their time with you as a prospective hire. The trick is to be a job seeker with whom recruiters want to invest their time.