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

  • I would like to start off by saying that Mike did a great job. He is very passionate about what he does, and he is very good at it. He stayed in constant contact with me, he made sure i was 100% prepared for the interview process and everything. I don’t usually work with recruiters, but this time i am extremely happy i did. Thank you to Mike, and Patrice & Associates for all the hard work you guys put forth! I will make sure i send more people your way. Thanks again Mike, it was a pleasure working with you!   Sean Williams-Mitchell USMC Veteran Thank you to Mike, and Patrice & Associates for all the hard work you guys put forth!
  • I recently worked with Sherri Balzer in conjunction with a management opportunity with IHOP. She was extremely professional throughout the entire process. In addition, she was very helpful and knowledgeable about the company and interview process. I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a new job opportunity to consider Sherri Balzer for all their needs.   Read Mullin I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a new job opportunity to consider Sherri Balzer for all their needs. 
  • Stephanie Yee is a great part of my journey with California Fish Grill. We came across each other via LinkedIn and started a professional relationship. Not only she told me about the great opportunity with CFG, she also gave me info and reading materials about company and helped me built confidence before my interview. Lorie Santos-Law Assistant. General Manager California Fish Grill Stephanie Yee is a great part of my journey with California Fish Grill.
  • Stephanie reached out to me at a time when I was thinking about looking for a new job but was not quite sure where to begin. From our first call together she was professional and friendly. We talked a lot about my current position, previous jobs and what I was looking for in the future. From our conversations she made a new resume for me that was specific to Susiecakes. Stephanie was always on top things communicating with Susiecakes as well as myself. She was always easy to reach via phone, texts, and emails. Furthermore it really felt like Stephanie was on my side and wanted what was best for me. She listened to my concerns and negotiated on my behalf. In the end I was hired in a position that I think will be beneficial for both myself and Susiecakes. Even after I started my job a work text was accidentally sent to her and she promptly sent it to me. Still looking out for me even after I received the job. I have since referred her to an old coworker and am certain that she will find them a great job as well. I will continue to recommend to Stephanie Yee to only the best culinary professionals that I know. Sincerely, Andrew From our first call together she was professional and friendly.
  • From the initial interview, Helen was very thorough and spent time getting to know my background and experience. She was detailed in her delivery of the opportunity, and confirmed the dates and times for follow up. Her open line of communication made the process easy and enjoyable. From our initial conversation to the signed job offer, Helen shared in my excitement! I am so grateful to her, and Patrice and Associates for fitting me with this amazing opportunity. Christina Russillo I am so grateful to Helen and Patrice and Associates for fitting me with this amazing opportunity. 
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