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.
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What Clients Say About Patrice & Associates

  • Allison Sullivan was amazing! 

    She found my resume online and reached out to me. I had been in the market looking for the right next step in my career for several months and had been receiving calls daily from different recruiters so I didn’t expect anything magical to occur overnight. Allison called me, we chatted quickly about my work experience and she advised me she thought I’d be perfect for a client she was working with….and literally the next day I got a call for an interview with the client. The day after the interview, I was immediately offered a position consulting on insurance claim management. Allison was checking in with me each step of the way and made the transition from unemployed to working at a career I’m excited about in no time at all! I cannot thank her and Patrice & Associates enough for all their help!  

    ~ Shane Laughran

    Allison Sullivan was amazing!
  • I am very thankful for Liz Costa.

    She was kind, informative, and very encouraging during the process of applying, interviewing, and finally accepting the position once it was offered to me. I have worked with several recruiters before and Liz was the most friendly and professional at the same time. She made me feel comfortable and also made me feel confident during the interview process. After only a few weeks, I now consider Liz a friend and would certainly recommend her to anyone who is in the looking in the labor market. Thank you Liz, I appreciate you as a person and a professional.

    ~Brent

    I am very thankful for Liz Costa
  • Jonathan Litt set me up for success!

    I am truly excited to start this new journey at this restaurant. I can honestly say I don't think I would have been able to pull this off without Jonathan Litt's help. He was more than professional but at the same time he was authentic and explained everything I needed to do to make things work. He definitely set me up for success. My confidence level wasn't what it used to be, but with his help he made me believe in myself. He encouraged me and believed in me as well. I will never forget his efforts. My appreciation for his work and dedication will always be remembered. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for allowing me to be a part of this process. I am forever grateful.

    Thank you again,

    Latifah Walker

    Jonathan Litt set me up for success!
  • Recruitment & Hiring for Sales Jobs - Patrice & AssociatesRick Weaver is a pleasure to work with!

    Very helpful and professional! Goes out of his way for people!          

    Thank you for all you do!

    Ken M.

    Rick Weaver is a pleasure to work with!
  • Rick Weaver is great!

    I love it at my new career and picture my future here. Rick was awesome in helping me choose where I need to be and how I had to get there. It took a lot of interviews and me turning jobs down because it wasn’t a fit for me. At my new career I’m in the right place!  

    Thank you,

    Shaunte

    Rick Weaver is great!