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Working with Recruiters

Career Resource Center

Working with Recruiters

An Executive Recruiter partners with employers to find the best available talent for specific positions or openings.   Cultivating a relationship with a recruiter in your niche before you need one can be advantageous to your long-term career advancement. Whether or not you are actively seeking a new job this may be a good time to become a helpful member of a recruiter’s professional network and for a recruiter to learn more about your strengths and interests.  By cultivating a relationship with key recruiters now there is a stronger likelihood that you will be remembered when those “plum” assignments hit the recruiter’s radar.  Also, recruiters often decide whether your resume is going to be directed to the hiring manager’s desk or to their office files. See our sample letter to a recruiter.

Organizations will engage a recruiter for many different reasons. The three most common are:
1. A sense of urgency in filling a position
2. The organization has not been successful generating qualified candidates on their own using traditional methods
3. The position calls for a specific skill set and there exists a limited pool of qualified candidates.

Types of recruiters

  • Contract/temporary recruiters contract with an employer to act as the employer's agent in the recruiting andemployment function. They hire individuals to work for the client organization, but are almost always considered mployed paid by the recruiting agency.
  • Contingency recruiters receive payment from employers only when one of their candidates accepts a position.The majority of these placements are completed by filling open positions and it’s not uncommon for a contingency recruiter to be working on an exclusive basis.
  • Retained recruiters are paid a retainer in advance for their services. Typically, a retained search demonstrates that a partnership exists between the recruiter and their client company and is an indication of both a sense of urgency and a commitment to find the best available talent for a specific position.

Working with recruiters

  • Some executive search consultants are open developing relationships with candidates and some are not.  When you find a good recruiter who is willing to invest some time and effort on your behalf remember to be respectful of their time.  They may not be able to speak with you at the moment you call, so be prepared to offer them some optional times on your calendar for a call back.
  • Most communications between you and the potential employer should usually go through the recruiter.  When you think you have a question that you should just call the employer about be sure to check 1st with the recruiter.
  • When approaching or being approached by a recruiter, make sure you verbally express and put in your cover letter that they may not send your resume to any organization without your permission.  This will ensure that the recruiter has a legitimate position and that it is from an organization that you have not contacted yourself.
  • Include three professional references, (3 names with contact information), when sending your resume to a recruiter. Providing references is a great way to increase the recruiter’s desire to represent you to his or her clients.
  • When a recruiter contacts you, treat the conversation as you would an interview.  Always be honest in putting your best foot forward.
  • Remember to be straightforward when working with a recruiter. They work and negotiate on your behalf, so let them know where you are in your job search process and if you have any concerns or issues along the way.
  • Recruiters often work a “hidden marketplace” and have knowledge and access to positions you do not have knowledge of.
  • When talking to the recruiter, be decisive about the position that you are seeking and be able to clearly communicate the value that you would bring to the position and the organization.
  • If a recruiter approaches you, ask questions about the employer, its culture, the skills needed and why the position is available. The recruiter will recognize you as somebody who is serious about the potential job.
  • Recruiters will want to know your current or most recent compensation package up front. You may be asked to verify your salary with a W-2. They will know the compensation parameters of each position and will ensure you fall into the range for the position before moving forward.
  • Check out the recruiter’s website to find out more about them.
  • Gain a clearer understanding by asking questions about the position and the organization.
  • Recruiters are not career coaches. They typically don’t craft cover letters, edit your resume or plan your career path.
  • Call the recruiter with feedback immediately following any interview (including phone interview) that the recruiter has set up for you.
  • Stay involved by contacting the recruiter with feedback on an interview or progress you’ve made on your own.
  • Provide a list of companies that you have interviewed with already and companies that you have a strong interest in pursuing.
  • For jobs that aren’t a good fit, explain why to help the recruiter gain a clearer understanding of your preferences. The recruiter may keep your information on file to contact you if a suitable position emerges. If possible, leave a lasting impression by recommending someone else for the jobs you turn down.

Questions to ask
Initial questions to ask a recruiter before submitting your resume:

  • What is their specialty/niche?
  • Do they think they can help me?
  • Have they made local, regional, national placements?
  • How do they handle candidate confidentiality?
  • Are they an Employer Paid Firm (EPF), rather than an Applicant Paid Firm (APF)?

Additional questions you may ask if you are not comfortable

  • Do they have a website?
  • Are they independent, a boutique firm, or franchise or division of a large company?
  • What is their level of search activity?
  • Are they a contract, contingency, or retained recruiter?
  • What networks/associations do they belong to?
  • How many years experience do they have?
  • Do they meet with candidates in person or is everything done over the phone or through video conferencing?
  • What are their certifications? Are they a CPC—Certified Personnel Consultant—if it is a permanent position or a CTS—Certified Temporary Staffing Consultant—if it is a contract or temporary position?
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