Interview Tips: How to Get the Most Out of a Recruiter
Using the industry knowledge and networks of recruiters can be a critical component of any job search. A professional recruiter can offer career advice, inside knowledge of your target industry or company, compensation guidance and “cultural fit” insight on prospective employers.
With the right recruiter you can:
- Avoid the general inbox: Recruiters have relationships with human resources and hiring managers, so your résumé goes directly to them, not a “job response inbox” containing hundreds of résumés.
- Access unadvertised opportunities: Recruiters often know about and fill positions well before they are advertised.
- Gain valuable insight regarding company culture: A good recruiter should be able to tell you about the company culture and what to expect from individual interviewers on your schedule.
- Get your own advocate: As an advocate, a recruiter can present you in the best way, provide feedback and follow-up, and provide assistance through the negotiation and hiring process.
Different types of recruiters Staffing recruiters work for staffing firms to provide a wide range of candidates to customers. Staffing recruiters may place administrative, professional or technical candidates, ranging from entry level to senior level, in temporary contract or permanent jobs.
Corporate recruiters handle most aspects of the employee recruitment process for their own organization. Corporate recruiters are typically in the human resources division.
Executive contingent recruiters work for search firms that are engaged by clients to perform a specific search for a range of mid- and senior-level positions. Contingent recruiters receive a fee only upon the successful placement of a candidate.
Executive retained recruiters work for search firms that are engaged by clients to perform a specific search for a senior executive position. Retained recruiters receive a retainer (upfront fee) to execute a search.
Make a recruiter shortlist There are many types of recruiters, and each may have a specific industry or area of expertise. Ideally, you should focus on building relationships with the recruiters that can best help you with your career aspirations.
Don’t just engage a recruiter, build a relationship The best recruiter-job seeker relationships are mutually beneficial. A candidate receives access to unadvertised career opportunities and gains an advocate. A recruiter will appreciate reciprocal access to your network of potential referrals as well as specific company or industry insight.
A common job-seeker mistake is to engage with a recruiter only when actively searching for a new job. A strictly transactional relationship — candidate needs a job, recruiter needs a candidate to fill a job — is less valuable for you, the recruiter and ultimately the hiring organization. Be prepared to invest time in building and maintaining a long-term relationship.
Consider these guidelines to strengthen a good working relationship with recruiters:
- Make a good first impression: Approach a recruiter as you would a prospective employer, and send an email with a professional cover letter or social media message.
- Make an introduction: Introduce yourself during the first conversation, just as you would in an interview. A recruiter will need to be comfortable with you before advocating for you as a candidate to a prospective employer.
- Provide information: Let recruiters know how you found them and if you’re interested in working for a specific company or targeted industry.
- Think longer term: Be prepared to stay in touch over the short, medium and long term to find the right opportunity.
- Keep your information current: Ensure they never have an out-of-date résumé on file, and update your recruiter when things change.
- Be open to constructive feedback: A recruiter can share a great deal of information about the company, job requirements and even specific interviewer characteristics before an interview. After the interview, ask for and be open to constructive feedback.
- Share insights: What did you learn in the interview that would help both you and your recruiter? Was the job as described by the recruiter or has it changed? Was there a new interviewer in the process? Is this the right role for you based on your career goals?
- Keep the communication open: Maintain a positive relationship for the future, even if you secure another job.
- Become a resource: Share your industry knowledge and network of contacts who may be interested in learning more about an opportunity.
- Consider all kinds of work: Short- or long-term project and contract work can often be a steppingstone to a permanent job and allows you an opportunity to evaluate the job and company.
- Be clear: An open dialogue regarding your work experience, career goals and salary requirements will increase the chances of a successful placement.