I spent over 13 years working as an executive recruiter and spoke with thousands of job applicants during that time. While each and every situation is unique, one thing was very clear however, there were several misconceptions about recruiters and the recruiting process that candidates have.
The single biggest misconception is that the recruiter works for you. Don’t get me wrong, the recruiter definitely wants to help you secure a new position; that is how they get paid. However their first obligation is to the company that they’re recruiting for. They pay the bills. Potential job seekers need to understand the fact that recruiters are paid to find people to fill jobs they are not paid to find jobs for you. When recruiter receives a job order from a client, their job is to find the best possible match for that position. A recruiter’s responsibility is to put forth the best possible candidates to that client; they are under no obligation to submit your résumé to that client if they feel that you aren’t the best fit. Don’t take it personal it’s just business.
Often potential job seekers treat recruiters as though they don’t matter; they are just an annoying, but necessary, part of the process. Hiring managers often ask recruiters about their opinions on potential candidates – which candidates have been the most professional, which candidates have followed up the most, which candidate seems the most excited about joining their team. If you lack professionalism during your communications with your recruiter, often that will keep you from landing your next job. Build a relationship with a recruiter. Recruiters like to work with people who are professional, understand business etiquette, and are good resources. If you are not the perfect candidate for a current job opportunity, share names of others who might be a better match. They will not only appreciate the information, they will remember you for future positions they need to fill. It is one of the most effective forms of networking where eventually everyone comes out a winner.
Lastly be respectful of the recruiter’s time. If your recruiter is calling you it isn’t just to say hello. Your recruiter often is looking for information that has been requested by the HR Manager. Your sense of urgency or lack thereof, matters greatly. If it takes you 72 hours to return a phone call or respond to an email, what are you saying about your interest in that position? While we are all busy, staying in communication with your recruiter will help enhance your prospects for landing your next job.
Lastly, like with every profession, there are good recruiters and there are bad recruiters. You won’t get along with everyone and it is important to work with someone you feel comfortable with. If you have had a bad experience in the past with a recruiter don’t let that hold you back. Try again. Recruiters can be a great source for networking and offering career advice. Take advantage of it.