career-advice

10 Tips for Working with Recruiters

Matt Glodz
10 Tips for Working with Recruiters

Recruiters Explain What You Should Know About Working With Them

Never worked with a recruiter before and not sure what to expect?

We spoke to recruiters to help you understand exactly how they work.

You’ll learn why partnering with a reputable recruiter in your field can be transformative for your career.

Through these quotes, you'll better understand how recruiters think and how you can work with them successfully moving forward.

Here are ten things recruiters want you to know:

1) We’re free to work with and are paid when you secure a job

The most important thing to keep in mind is that recruiters want you to find a job. Success for a recruiter is defined by job placements, and in many cases, a recruiter’s pay is determined by the contract they secure for you.

This is a benefit for the candidate since it gives the recruiter extra motivation to find the right position and secure you a higher salary.

It's also what leads to the reputation of recruiters being pushy or pressuring candidates into taking jobs they don’t want.

– Jon Hill, Chairman & CEO of The Energists, an executive search firm specializing in energy, oil & gas, and power & utilities

The truth is, we often aren’t fully paid until the candidate stays in the position for at least three months.

One hundred percent of our work is front-loaded, so we invest a lot of time and money before we even get paid. We do this because we truly love the work and believe in the candidate.

– Ben Lamarche, General Manager of the Lock Search Group, an executive recruitment firm with 12 offices in Canada and the US

2) We have your best interests at heart and push for you

Recruiters are advocates.

When we think you are the top candidate, we will fight for you to be at the top of the hiring manager’s list.

We are in the field of recruitment because our impact comes from placing the right people in the right position.

 – Ben Lamarche, Lock Search Group

The most pervasive misconception I’ve heard is that recruiters only want to fill roles and don’t care about the quality of the match.

The truth is, a recruiter who does this won’t last long in their field.

Recruiters rely on their reputation for success to secure new clients, so if they’re filling positions with candidates who aren’t a good fit and quit soon after hiring, that recruiter will soon find themselves without any work.

It’s to the recruiter’s benefit, as well as the candidate's, to match applicants to the right job posting - not just the first one that comes along.

 – Jon Hill, The Energists

3) It’s okay to say no to a job, but don’t ignore us

If a recruiter follows up about a job opportunity you were interested in, try to respond to the recruiter’s message within 24 hours.

Don’t completely ignore the recruiter if they reach out to you; recruiters will understand if you are not interested in the job opportunity presented.

Replying to the recruiter can leave the door open in case you would be interested in a future opportunity.

Even if you may not be actively looking for a job at this time, take the opportunity to start cultivating a professional relationship with recruiters that align with your industry and field by connecting with them on LinkedIn or sharing your resume via email.

- Benjamin Farber, President of Bristol Associates, an executive recruitment firm specializing in casinos and hospitality

4) We can only place you in roles that companies engage us for

While recruiters are in the business because we love helping people connect with the companies and jobs that align with their highest values, our main priorities are our clients.

Recruiters are hired by companies to source candidates.

Many times, I get calls from candidates expecting that we operate for them.

While we would love to spend the time searching for the right opportunities for a candidate, it, unfortunately, does not make sense for us to spend our resources on something that would not keep us in business.

– Taylor Grant, Sr. Recruiter for Surf Search, a recruitment firm specializing in biotech, pharma, and medical devices

5) We can help you save time on the job search

We can save you a lot of time via our network. Job hunting is an incredibly difficult, overwhelming, and demoralizing process.

Additionally, networking is extremely exhausting, especially if you are an introvert.

A smart cut to reducing this stress is by working with a recruiter.

We have industry-specific networks that can help you find the best fit for you in terms of responsibilities and culture.

– Ben Lamarche, Lock Search Group

6) We have niche expertise and extensive networks

The recruiter acts as the bridge between the candidates and client companies, trying to make the process smooth for both parties.

Recruitment firms specialize in different industries, positions, and levels. Candidates should research and reach out to recruitment firms that best fit their career interests and skillsets.

– Benjamin Farber, Bristol Associates

You want to work with a recruiter who is knowledgeable in your field, both in terminology and networks.

The longer we’ve been working in an industry, the better we can help you.

– Ben Lamarche, Lock Search Group

7) Be honest, open, and transparent with us

I am just as much human as you are!

Sometimes when I schedule calls with people they immediately panic and go into interview mode like I’m about to start grilling them with HR questions.

The easiest way to work with recruiters is to go into it just having a conversation.

The more details you can give me about your skillset, the better I can sell you to our clients!

When I can have a conversation with someone that's casual and us just bantering back and forth about what they do, it allows me to really get to know the person.

- Madison Jinks, Creative Recruiter at Synergis, an IT and creative staffing firm

My biggest 'do' is to be as honest and transparent as possible.

Every week we see candidates that withhold critical information, hide true intentions, or outright lie about various things.

It always results in them losing out on the role, but more often than not, it also reflects poorly on them.

– Sarah Doughty, Director of Recruitment at Talentlab, a recruitment firm for the tech industry

8) It’s okay to say “no, thanks” when we contact you

It is one hundred percent okay to say no to a recruiter.

You can politely decline, stating that you are happy in your current role, but perhaps you’d like to remain in the database if future positions become available.

You can also mention that you might have a colleague to refer - but check with the colleague first.

 – Ben Lamarche, Lock Search Group

9) We expect you to act professionally

Many jobseekers assume that if they have multiple opportunities going on it will hurt their chances of being hired, so they often omit the truth and tell us they are not seeking other opportunities, only to back out at the last minute and accept an offer elsewhere.

Jobseekers [also] assume that once they have been hired elsewhere, they no longer need to nurture the connection with us or with the other company they were speaking with.

This is a major misconception that can damage a jobseeker’s reputation and career trajectory.

Recruiters are in it for the long haul and have deep pipelines with extremely detailed records of correspondence. What you say now will impact you later on.

We often work with other recruiters and communicate about a candidate’s professionalism. If a candidate burns a bridge with us, it may cost them later on in their careers.

- Taylor Grant, Surf Search

10) We can be a partner or an adversary – you choose

Often it's the candidates that decide the tone of the relationship they have with recruiters.

You can choose to have an adversarial relationship with recruiters built on mistrust and lack of respect, or you can choose to view a recruiter as a partner who can provide you with years of subject matter knowledge related to your career.

Choose wisely, and don't bother working with any recruiters you don't trust or value.

It's a waste of both of your time. 

-Sarah Doughty, TalentLab

In Summary

By investing time into finding and building relationships with reputable recruiters in your field, you can position yourself for long-term success throughout your career.

Additional Recruiter Perspectives

Read more recruiter perspectives on the following topics:


About Resume Pilots

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About the AuthorMatt Glodz


Matt Glodz is the Founder and Managing Partner of Resume Pilots and a Certified Professional Resume Writer.

After studying business communication at Cornell University, Matt worked within Fortune 500 companies, where he noted that qualified candidates were frequently denied interview opportunities due to poorly written documents.

At Resume Pilots, Matt combines his business and writing background - which includes prior work for a Chicago Tribune publication - to craft resumes that give his clients the best chance of landing interviews. He works with clients ranging from CEOs to recent graduates and has been writing resumes for over eight years.


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