Past Issues

February 01, 2010

Insider Tips on Working with Recruiters

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Tips on Working with Recruiters

By Katherine Moody, VP of Recruiting for S. Benjamins & Company.

1. Recognize they are good people trying to do a job. You have expectations on how you would like to be treated, and they are valid. But they are expectations, and they may not get met. Try not to take it personally.

2. Build a strong relationship with them. Take a moment to ask them a question. Talk to them as a person you are working with rather than someone you are trying to get past to talk to the "real" decision maker. Recruiters can have a real impact on whether you move forward in the process.

3. Remember, the hiring company is paying them.They work for a hiring manager who is calling the shots. If, for example, you don't have the background required, the recruiter may not be willing or able to try to convince the hiring manager your "skills are transferable."

4. Recruiters find people for jobs, not jobs for people. If a recruiter offers to "represent" you, they may be planning to "shop" your resume to companies in the hopes you might be a fit for an opening. You can do that yourself. But if that recruiter gets your resume to the company before you do, it could cost the company thousands of dollars in commission to hire you. This doesn't work out in your favor!!

5. If a company is using a retained search firm, they will only hire one company. Everyone who applies will go through that retained firm's process. If you use a networking contact to express interest in the position, you'll still most likely work with the retained search firm. If that firm turns you down as a candidate, there is only a slim chance the hiring manager will consider you if you contact the company directly.

6. Ask the recruiter about things beyond the job description - what is it like to work for the company, what is the hiring manager like-anything that is of interest to you and could be useful to know as you move through the process. You'll be able to tell if the recruiter has the time and/or the information to share. Recruiters like people, will often be wonderful partners in the process. Since most candidates don't take the time to do this, you will be able to differentiate yourself with your "insider" information.

7. When you get the recruiter on the phone, don't launch into the 55-story elevator pitch about why you are the best person for the job. If they called you, start building a relationship and let them ask the first questions. If you called them about a position, ask them if it's a good time to talk for a moment, and then tell them briefly what you can do for the company.

8. Recruiters aren't always given the tools to keep everyone informed. Ask if you can get back to them at a certain time to follow up. They may not want you to, but often they will. This can help you build the relationship with the recruiter. Plus it means you will get information you otherwise might have missed. Ask what their preferred communication method is.

9. Ask the recruiter up front if they will give you feedback about your candidacy as you go along. Ask them if to share what others have to say about you. Assure the recruiter you won't try to sell them on you as a candidate if the feedback is negative, but that it will help you. Recruiters often don't share feedback because the candidate then spends a lot of time trying to convince the recruiter the feedback is invalid.

10. Send the recruiter an email or hand written note to thank them. You never know what searches might be coming down the road for them, and guess who they will remember. They might even refer you to other recruiters who do similar searches. It makes you stand out in a good way.

Wishing you all the best in 2010!

Katherine Moody is the VP of recruiting for S. Benjamins & Company. Her site addresses the unique issues of job search for HR professionals. She has a marketing background and experience recruiting for HR positions at all levels. Katherine brings a unique perspective and shares how to benefit from the dramatic shift in what companies are looking for in HR professionals.

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