Finding the right recruiter is like finding the right relationship on a dating site. It starts by creating a profile (your resume) and finding the right recruiter to represent you. Just because every recruiter under the sun reaches out to you, does not mean that they are the right recruiter for you. After working in recruiting for 7 years, I have heard story after story about what people haven’t liked about previous recruiters and why they are jaded against working with recruiters again.
Just like in relationships, there are a few signs to know if you have found the one.
1. Does he or she listen to you?
When you are talking with a recruiter, it is important for them to be able to best represent you to their clients or hiring managers. \Communication is important – it’s a two-way street. You need to communicate with them what is most important to you, and they need to listen to what you want. It’s the square peg, round hole analogy – if they aren’t listening to you, they might be completely off base as to what you need, and the relationship will ultimately fail.
2. How knowledgeable is your recruiter about your industry?
Whether it be working with a recruiter within a corporation or a staffing agency, it is crucial that they know about the position – how else are they going to be able to explain the role to you and how it fits into the company? In staffing, there is a reason that there are different agencies for different industries; some do industrial, financial, or customer service. That doesn’t mean agencies can’t overlap in expertise, but you wouldn’t go to an industrial agency for an Accounts Payable role. Chances are they do not have clients that have those roles, and your recruiter may not be as knowledgeable as you need them to be.
3. Has your recruiter discussed what they like about the company they are presenting to you for?
A very common question that is asked by the interviewee in an interview is, what do you like about your job or the company you work at? Whether it be a corporate recruiter or a staffing recruiter, they should be able to share with you what they like about the company they are discussing with you. If not – RED FLAG. Whether the recruiter is an internal or external employee, they should know enough about the company to be able to entice you to want to know more. It’s like reading the back of a book, what makes you want to open the book and read more of it? This goes back to how knowledgeable the recruiter is about the company, industry, or position itself. How can someone properly represent you when they don’t know about the position you are interviewing for?
4. How responsive is your recruiter? Are they there for you?
Let’s be clear, yes, your recruiter should be there for you but that doesn’t mean 24/7-365 days a year. But if you message your recruiter, do they respond to you? If your recruiter is going to be out of the office, is there a backup plan? Did they tell you someone will follow up with you? Who is reaching out to whom?
It’s important to note that communication is a 2-way street… your recruiter should reach out to you as much, if not more than you; you shouldn’t always feel like you are having to follow up with them. My rule of thumb is that I like to provide an update to my candidates at least 1-2 times a week – even if it is an update that I don’t have an update but that I didn’t forget about them. Communication is key.
5. Do they help you throughout the interview process or are they throwing you to the wolves?
Even if you think you are the best interviewee, having the guidance of a recruiter can help you get a leg up on the competition. Taking guidance for an interview doesn’t mean you interviewed poorly, it just means that we, as the recruiters, want to give you your best shot to get the job. So don’t take the preparation phone call as anything bad, take it as feedback that we know the people you are interviewing and certain quirks they have, and what they are looking for. Our insight will only help you, and we want to see you succeed!
Yes, there are moments as a recruiter that we may need to “finesse” your answers because it was not quite there – not exactly answering the question, beating around the bush, not being specific, etc. Whatever the reason is, don’t brush off the advice – your recruiter is trying to help you and uplift your answer.
6. Is your recruiter your cheerleader? Do they celebrate your wins with you?
Your recruiter should always have your best interests in mind, even if that means you didn’t go for the job that they were presenting you with. Have you ever made a call saying, thank you for your help but I found a job elsewhere and got the response “oh, where did you get a job?” and all the other 21 questions that came with that statement? The first response out of your recruiter’s mouth should be “Congratulations!”. If it isn’t, sounds like they might be in it for themselves vs. in it for you.
7. Building a long-term relationship
Relationships are based on trust and communication. If you have concerns, are your concerns being addressed? If you have questions, are you getting an answer in a reasonable timeframe? If your recruiter doesn’t have the answer to your question, do you feel confident that they will get back to you with the answer to your question.
Have you ever circled back to a recruiter that you worked with for a long time, and did they remember you? We talk to hundreds of people every month; will we remember your dog’s name – maybe not but hopefully we will remember something about you. Over the course of my more than 7 years working as a recruiter, there are names of employees and candidates I remember because of the relationship I built with them. Do I remember every single one, no – but when someone reaches out looking for their tax information and they were hired permanently last year, do I remember their names and where they worked – for sure! It’s not uncommon for me to strike up a conversation with those people to see how they are doing.
As you can see, finding your perfect recruiter is like finding your perfect partner – maybe not in the same order, but very similar. Build a profile – for job searching and matching with a recruiter, that is your resume. For dating, it’s creating a profile on a dating site and building your profile – for job searching, the next step is to get your resume out there on various job boards or company websites, then you start to date the company and the recruiter. Then you get to date your recruiter, find out what is working for you, how they communicate (or don’t), do they have the qualifications you are looking for, how they are going to enhance your job search, etc.
If you answered no to any of the above questions, it might be time to start building a relationship with a new recruiter that has your best interests in mind over their own. If you are on the search for your perfect match, we have a team of tenured recruiters waiting to speak with you.