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Feb 6

What’s the best way to work with recruiters?

Dear Recruiter,

I’m a professional looking for employment. How can I best work with organizations like yours?



Dear Rob,

The thing to remember when speaking with recruiters is that their fees are paid by the companies they recruit for. Because of this, the only way recruiters can help you find a job is if your skillset matches up with the current needs of their clients. Because of this, you’ll want to work with recruiters as an avenue in your search for a position, not as the exclusive avenue for you.

Here are a few other best practices for working with recruiters:

  • Be the squeaky wheel. With the number of conversations recruiters have on a daily basis, it’s easy to overlook great candidates from the past. By reaching out to them periodically, you can stay top of mind.
  • Cast the net wide and speak with more than one recruiter. Because of the nature of our business, different companies will have relationships with different recruiters.
  • Like all industries, the quality of the recruiter you work with can vary greatly, so take the time and effort to find the best ones. The very best will be responsive by getting back to you in a timely manner, will be articulate on the phone, and will be able to give you sound advice in your search.
  • BE VERY CAUTIOUS IF A RECRUITER SUGGESTS THAT YOU MUST PAY THEM (instead of being funded by the hiring company). I can’t make the blanket statement that this is never a great idea, but I’ve yet to hear of an arrangement like this working well.
  • Ask if they’ll proactively make calls to companies that you identify. When you identify positions, good recruiters will be willing to place calls on your behalf into these companies to see if they can facilitate an introduction. You should know that if you’ve already submitted a resume to a company, there isn’t much a recruiter can do to help.
  • Understand that most recruiters specialize in a specific industry. If a certain recruiter doesn’t work in your particular industry, chances are they won’t be able to help you.

Rob, good luck with your search!