You and Your Recruiter: In a Relationship? or It’s Complicated

Swans and their eggs

Finding and working with a good recruiter is not luck. Sure, maybe a recruiter initiated the first call and caught your attention. A second call, and you both start thinking there’s something there. But then, the work begins. In part 1 of the recap of my conversation with Barbara Blau, President of DPP, we discussed the recruiter as your career partner. In part 2, we discussed exploring the opportunity with a recruiter. In this final part, we’ll look at working with a recruiter during the placement, and after the placement.

Full Disclosure 

By this time, the recruiter has discussed the opportunity with you in detail.

  • You know what the compensation package looks like
  • You know who the client is
  • You’ve provided the bottom line for your salary requirements
  • You understand the work environment

Ask the recruiter about how they submit resumes to clients.

  • It is in your best interest to ensure that your resume is not submitted without your express permission.
  • Having your resume submitted to a client that the recruiter has not discussed with you can very well put you in a bad position if you don’t want to interview with the company.
  • Signing a blanket permission is not a good idea, especially if you are working with more than one recruiter. Having two or more recruiters submit your resume for the same position may very well get you locked out of the running.

Do an internal check. Are you comfortable with the recruiter? Do you think she has a clear understanding of your pain points and your priorities? Do you trust her to represent you?

Remember: the recruiter is working for a client, who will pay him a fee when a placement is made. A good recruiter wants to make a placement that meets and exceeds the client’s needs. That means not only do the skills and experience fit the client’s needs, but also the candidate wants to work with the client, and is a good cultural fit.

The recruiter who does not clearly represent the client and her needs to you is a recruiter you do not want to work with. Again, it’s the trust factor. If a recruiter doesn’t seem to be articulating the client’s needs, and doesn’t seem to be loyal to the client, how well do you think the recruiter will represent you?

You don’t have to make this decision in a vacuum. Recruiting and staffing firms have credentials. Do your due diligence. Check with the Better Business Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce where the firm is located. Does the firm belong to any professional organizations? Are there testimonials from clients and other candidates? LinkedIn® is a good place to check for recommendations for recruiters.

Ready to move forward? 

If you and the recruiter have come to an understanding, and you’re ready to commit to this opportunity, then it’s time to tell the recruiter you’re onboard.

At this point, you may be asked to meet face-to-face with the recruiter. If you are not a local candidate, this can be done via Skype or some other technology. This is an important meeting. Dress as you would for an interview – it is an interview, in fact.

Once your resume is submitted, a good recruiter will provide you with status reports. Keep in mind that at times, the recruiter may not get speedy replies from the client. This can be as frustrating for him as it is for you.

Once an interview is scheduled, a good recruiter will provide you with the details about parking, directions, and some “insider” information. Pay attention. Your recruiter should be able to prepare you for the nuances of the interviewer. In some instances, the recruiter will not be able to supply much information; this is often the case when there’s an intermediary, such as a vendor management system. Even then, good recruiters will be able to fill in a few details, based on debriefs with other candidates.

After the interview 

Talk to your recruiter as soon as possible after the interview. A good recruiter will have blocked out some time to talk with you. She’ll want to know how things went, what questions were asked, and in general what was discussed. If there were things that made you feel uncomfortable, be sure to tell the recruiter. If you felt the interview went well, explain why you feel good about it.

Thinking about counter-offers

If all goes well, and the client offers you the position, you may find your current employer presenting a counter-offer. 

A counter-offer sounds good, right?  A counter-offer rarely turns out to be a good thing for the long-term. Accepting a counter-offer gives your employer time to hire and train your replacement. If you haven’t seen it already, read our post about counter-offers.

The anxiety about accepting a counter-offer should be negligible — if you were up-front about your compensation requirements with your recruiter.

Hey, where did your recruiter go?  

There you are, all set in your new job. Do you kiss good-bye to your recruiter? Not a wise move. A good recruiter is going to stay in touch with you, and here’s why:

  • If you are in a contract position, your recruiter will want to make sure things are going well for you. If you’re not happy, the recruiter will want to know why, and how it can be fixed.
  • As your contract draws to a close, your recruiter will be checking to see what you would like to do next.
  • Recruiters also rely on their placements for referrals. Maybe one of your co-workers will be leaving soon. Pass this information on to your recruiter. Many recruiters will pay for good referrals.
  • You may also hear of new openings in your area. Share these with your recruiter.
  • Your recruiter may also negotiate pay increases, assist you with making internal moves, and provide other support.

The relationship that lasts 

Ideally, your relationship with your recruiter will be a long and prosperous one. As with any relationship, the building blocks are the same: honesty and trust.

You need to be honest with the recruiter (and yourself):

  • Honest about your qualifications and past work experience
  • Honest about why you would consider a change, and where you’d like to be
  • Honest about your financial goals and benefits needs
  • Honest about the other people in your life who will be affected by your career change

Your recruiter should be trustful. You need to be able to trust your recruiter:

  • Trust that the recruiter completely understands your needs and requirement
  • Trust that they will honestly represent you and your needs to the employer
  • Trust that they will honestly represent the employer to you

A good question to ask now is, What if it doesn’t work out? Stay tuned…

You can read the previous posts in this series here:

What has been your experience with recruiters? Let us know in the comments below. 

Corporate Media Specialist, DPP 

Photo:  Some rights reserved by Lawrence OP

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