You’ve probably heard negative stories about recruiters who don’t return calls or “headhunters” who pursue a candidate aggressively, only to disappear. If you listen to all the buzz, recruiting professionals seem to be more likely to lead people on and ghost than a bad Tinder date. If you’ve ever been frustrated working with a recruiter or recruiting agency, here are three truths about our business that might help you get the most out of any future encounters:
1. When to connect with a recruiter
The best time to connect with a recruiter is while you’re content with your employment situation, but want to keep open to other options. We’re typically not a good “last resort“, but you’d be amazed at how many people come to us with comments like, “Well, I’ve been looking for two years and I’m finally reaching out to a recruiter.” Except perhaps in temporary or contract placements, this is the worst time to rely on a third party agency. When you’re feeling vulnerable, frustrated, and maybe even desperate in your search, use as many resources as possible, because so much of the process is based on timing and best fit. It’s often a recipe for disappointment when you put all your eggs in one basket.
2. Find a recruiter who specializes in what you do
Most recruiters are industry specialists or work on specific types of positions. In fact, you want your recruiter to specialize in what you do! If your experience or interests don’t align with our specialty, we’re typically not very useful to your search because we won’t have the connections, relationships, or experience to be a valued resource to either you or the employer.
Do your due diligence on a recruiter’s areas of expertise before connecting with them. Wouldn’t you rather work with a market expert rather than someone who does a little bit of everything?
3. Understand how it works
Like many professionals who work in human resources, recruiters serve two masters. Although we’re here to be a resource and an advocate for candidates, the placement fee is always paid by the employer. Our job is to find great candidates for the roles we work on, and to keep the process flowing smoothly.
If you need or want a job coach, there are many excellent fee-for-service career coaches in the community. Armed with a thorough knowledge of your skills and interests, a recruiter will have you top-of-mind and present you for jobs that are a true fit.
However, even if you are qualified, you may not be the most qualified candidate for the role. In these kinds of scenarios, the recruiter has to satisfy the employer’s desires to see the best fit for the role rather than presenting a candidate who only fulfills the minimum requirement.
Additionally, recruiters are seldom the decision-maker determining whether you get an interview or job offer. We usually have input into the decision, and we are often the one who delivers the good or bad news to the candidate. Your recruiter should be as honest and forthcoming as they can be, given the feedback and information available from the client.
You typically won’t get a call from a recruiter just to chat, but we’ll try to set expectations — if we don’t have jobs that fit what you’re looking for, or that you would be a strong fit for, we probably won’t be in touch that often. Sometimes, we will have multiple roles to run by you, but we may be working on jobs that aren’t a match for your background. It’s important for both candidates and recruiters to set expectations. It doesn’t mean we don’t think you’re great, or can never help you, or that we aren’t accessible. Feel free to check in with questions, or if anything changes in your search!
If recruiters can help, we will! We make our living creating amazing matches between candidates and employers. However, it helps to know a little bit about what we do, to get the most benefit from our services.