When looking for a new position, working with a recruiter is a great option that not everyone considers. Recruiters can act as a guide by scheduling and prepping you for the interview, providing useful feedback, and mediating salary. As an executive search consultant, I know the ins and outs of the process and hope to share some of my knowledge with those of you who may be considering or are currently working with a recruiter. I have compiled a list of several Do’s and Don’ts for working with a recruiter as a candidate.
Who to Target
Do: Target appropriate recruiters who specialize in your level of experience and within your industry. There are many types of recruiters spanning field and levels, so be sure you are reaching out to the correct ones.
Don’t: Expect any and every recruiter you contact to be able to find a job within your specific niche. For example, if you are looking for an assistant position, an executive recruiter may not be able to help you.
How We Operate
Do: Understand that we work for the client, not the candidate. In other words, employers approach us with a position they need filled, and it is our job to find an exceptional talent pool for them to choose from. As much as we would like to help everyone, we can only help you if we have an open position with one of our clients that matches your background. However, if we have a role for which you are a good fit, you could be in luck!
Don’t: Take it personally if you do not hear from us immediately regarding a position. It may be that your background does not match the requirements for any of our current open positions, but we may have an appropriate position for you in the future.
Constructing your Resume
Do: Make sure your resume is clear and concise, and that all relevant information is presented in an easy to read format. Another tip is to include numbers, such as dollar amounts demonstrating increased revenue, or how many people you manage. Having concrete facts helps us market your background and skillset to the employer.
Don’t: Lie on your resume. If you get far enough into the process, it is likely that your education or experience will need to be verified. It is in your best interest to keep your resume truthful. If you are lying right out of the gate, it is possible you do not have the skills necessary to successfully perform the job. On that note, be straightforward about your current compensation, as the employer will find out eventually if you embellished the amount.
Importance of Honesty
Do: Be honest and open with your recruiter. Know what you want and make up your mind. Does the job meet your expectations in salary and location? Are you really willing to move across the country? Make sure you are serious about the position by asking the right questions to avoid a last minute change of heart. Voice any concerns early on so they can be addressed. As a recruiter, we are here to help you and are counting on you to stick to your commitment and see it through.
Don’t: Let it get to the final stages of the interview process if you are not actually considering the job. It is a waste of everyone’s time if you are not serious about the position, and it could jeopardize your chances of being considered by this recruiter or employer in the future, especially in smaller industries where everyone knows each other.
Make Yourself Available
Do: Be sure that you are reachable by your recruiter in order for the process to go as smoothly as possible. If you are going out of town or know you will not be available for a few days, then let them know.
Don’t: Disappear or go MIA in the middle of the interview process. If you are corresponding with a recruiter and are being considered as a candidate, time is of the essence. It also makes us nervous if we suddenly cannot get a hold of you, and not to mention, it prolongs the timeline for a decision to be made.
Leave the Negotiation to Us
Do: Let us mediate compensation negotiations.
Don’t: Try to take it into your own hands. We are familiar with the industry and comparative salaries, and have done this time and time again. We know how to handle this part of the process in your best interest.
Keep in Touch
Do: Stay in touch even after you get a job. We like to maintain contact with you and know that things are going well. You never know when you may need our advice, or you might even be able to help us in the future by recommending your colleagues for other searches.
Don’t: Disappear into thin air, you might miss out on a new opportunity with us. A relationship with a recruiter could be beneficial further along in your career.
Though searching for a job can be daunting, working with a recruiter can alleviate some of the stress, and help you find a great job that suits your skills and experience. I hope that these tips from an insider’s perspective will help you in your current or future job searches.