Get the BEST out of working with a Recruiter

June 17, 2013

If you find yourself in job search mode, the representation of a Recruiter, if done right, can be a tremendously powerful thing.

A strong endorsement from a well respected Recruiter (the key is to find who is the best in their particular vertical) can put you FRONT & CENTRE for a position because the hiring manager trusts the judgment and expertise that a recruiter provides – because they understand the client and they get the feel of edge of the overall market. If Recruiters and candidates gel well and find a way to work in an open and honest way where both benefit. And where there is a good flow of information, they can move mountains!!! If both sides pull the oars in the same direction and work efficiently together Recruiter/Candidate relationships work superbly.

Recruiters do sometimes get a bad rap from candidates. From our perspective, some of that bad press comes from misconceptions that candidates have about what Recruiters can and can’t do. So with the goal of making the recruitment process smoother and more beneficial for everyone, here’s some concrete tips about what you can do to make sure you get the most out of your interactions with Recruiters and land the role you want.

1.      Understand what a Recruiter can and can’t offer

The first step towards dealing with any Recruiter is to understand the strengths and limitations of what recruiters can offer to candidates. The first thing to understand is that recruiters are working to fill the specific set of jobs on their roster right in front of them. These jobs come from their clients, who have specific talent needs. The client approaches the Recruiter, and the Recruiter then begins a search through their pool of qualified candidates. These are almost always people in our existing network, which is why we value networking with new candidates because we are in such a narrow vertical.

However, some candidates, especially if they’re working with Recruiters for the first time, misunderstand the role of the Recruiter in that they expect them to find a job for them much like an (Hollywood) agent. The fact is, Recruiters (especially highly specialised vertical small firms) simply don’t have the resources to do job hunting for an individual. Their recruitment practice thrives if they focus on their active job mandates that their clients need. If you are in the same market area as the Recruiter practices, it’s  definitely still always a good idea to connect with a Recruiter even though there in not an open role – in fact it’s smart to do as you will now be an active part of the Recruiter’s candidate pool. A smart Recruiter might not have the right job for you today, but things change quickly in recruiting and a good contact made is a possible fit tomorrow.

There will be certain situations, time permitting, where a really seasoned Recruiter will also take it upon themselves to tell their clients that they have a really good candidates who might be a fit for their culture for a potential future need – so building a good rapport with a Recruiter does help. This is where patience is important and being realistic in your expectations of what a Recruiter can and can’t offer you. Staying in touch is critical without being overly persistent. Watching that Recruiter’s open job positions and bringing any business intelligence to that Recruiter will all add to building that relationship and help to keep you top of mind.

2.      Do Your Research – It’s imperative to Pick a Recruiter in Your Field.

Many Recruiters are still generalists. This means they try and staff roles in all sectors and all fields. These recruiters try to do it all. When you call a generalist Recruiter, they’ll tell you that they’ll be able to find something for you, and it’s unlikely that you will build anything substantial with them. That’s because they’re working with a specific set of clients like the rest of us, but they’re trying to be all things to all candidates, and that never works. – keep looking for another firm to represent you.

The more powerful Recruitment firms are the specialized ones. They pick a specific business sector and focus their efforts there, both on the client side and the candidate side. For example, Argentus is specialized in Supply Chain Management, Procurement, Distribution, Operations and Change Management. That means that we are exclusively focused in this work and we have a very strong network in those spaces, and we will turn down both candidates and clients if they’re looking for work or for people outside our vertical. If you call us and we say that we won’t be able to find you a job, it’s because we want to know that we can deliver results to those represent. It just means that we want to save both your time and ours because your background is outside of our specialty.

The best way to work with a Recruiter is to do some research and find a firm that’s highly specialized in your field, and only work with a small handful of firms(two or three maximum) who would commonly fill jobs similar to what you’re looking for. Say you’re a pure Marketing professional: There are specialty Marketing Recruiters – why try and fit a square peg in a round hole by trying to deal with a Supply Chain Recruiter, or a pure Oil & Gas Recruiter?

3. Disclose Whatever You Can – Open Communication is Key

Okay, so you’ve found a Recruiter that’s specific to your field. Or you’ve heard from a Recruiter with a job that looks interesting. Now you’re cooking with gas. Here’s our next tip: once you begin to discuss roles with a Recruiter, tell them everything you can about your job search activities to put you both on the same page. Always ask who the position is with. If a Recruiter is unwilling to offer that information, something is suspect. You shouldn’t be willing to permit anyone to send your resume to anyone without first knowing which company it is. And, say the Recruiter mentions a job with a specific company. You need to let them know if you’ve applied to that company or interviewed with them before or if another Recruiter is already representing you there. If you’ve already applied, that means the Recruiter can no longer represent you for that job because the client has already evaluated you for the role. It doesn’t matter if time has passed between the applications. It just makes both the candidate and Recruiter look unprofessional if the Recruiter submits a candidate who has already been passed over. Forget rowing in the same direction: now the boat is taking on water. So openness is key. Right now you have lost a lot of trust with the Recruiter and they are going to think twice about calling you the next time.

4. Be Honest with Yourself– don’t like a role? Don’t interview.

Recruiters can be pretty emphatic, and we really want to get candidates excited about jobs. This often means trying to open your mind to something you might not have considered – contract as opposed to permanent full-time work, for example.

But don’t let yourself be convinced into something you really, really don’t want to do, because that just causes headaches for everyone down the road. Say you and your recruiter start discussing a job that would amount to a two hour commute. Used to commuting? Great. But if you honestly can’t picture yourself making that commitment, don’t try and fool yourself just to please the recruiter or make yourself feel as though you’re progressing in your job search. Recruiters are only successful if the candidates they place are happy. And we’ve all had placements evaporate at the last second because the candidate wasn’t honest with themselves and upfront about what they were looking for. Don’t let that happen. It’s another situation that makes both the candidate and recruiter look bad. Again, boat: Meet Davey Jones’ locker.

5. Deal with one Recruiter in a firm, not the whole office

This might seem trivial but it can cause lots of headaches for both candidates and Recruiters. Recruitment firms will typically have an account manager for each job, and a specific point person for each candidate that comes through the door. Even in a heavily team-based recruitment office like Argentus, we still maintain this structure because it makes everything tidier and more organized. So when you engage with a Recruiter, make sure you continue to work with that same recruiter in the same firm.

Occasionally, candidates will call and speak to one Recruiter, and when they don’t hear back from them after a few days, they’ll go around the office trying to get the ear of everyone else in the company, hoping they’ll get a quicker result. In these situations, we have to spend time untangling who’s told who what. We have to do more legwork and unpack how far along we are in the process instead of moving the process forward. Like we said in Tip #1, patience is important.

Obviously, there are situations where you can’t speak to the same Recruiter (for example if they’re out of the office). You can of course ask another Recruiter to pass along a message. But it saves both candidates and recruiters a lot of time if you’re up front about who you’ve dealt with already in the firm.

This is obviously a huge topic, and these tips just scratch the surface. We look forward to hearing your opinions now and in the coming days about the best ways to deal with Recruiters. In the meantime, whether you’re actively looking or if you’ve worked with us in the past and want to update us about where you’re at with your career, please feel free to give us a call at 416 364 9919.

One last thing. We are becoming increasingly social – so this is the fastest place to find out about jobs and information to pass through your network.

Follow us on Twitter @argentustalent or Google+, and of course LinkedIn.

Over and Out



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