How Should I Communicate with a Recruiter?

September 28th, 2018

The relationship between a recruiter and a job candidate can be nuanced and subtle, and since recruiters have often worked in the field for years, they sometimes take the nature of this relationship for granted; they don’t always clearly explain to candidates exactly how the interaction works, and that can leave candidates feeling confused and not sure what to expect from the recruiter or how to behave in turn. Here are a few points that may clear things up.

Recruiters work for their employer clients, not for job seekers.

Your recruiter will smile and demonstrate a genuine interest in your job search goals and your qualifications. But she isn’t working for you, and you aren’t paying her. Instead, she works for employers who have open positions and need to fill them with the right candidate at the right time. She’s been sent to find you, but if you aren’t the right fit, she’ll need to move on, sometimes without explaining why. If this happens, don’t take it personally.

Don’t give your recruiter a hard time.

Again, recruiters must be quick, sharp, and responsive—to their employers. Not to you. If you call your recruiter and she doesn’t call you back right away, don’t worry. At the same time, if she asks you for some information or leaves a message requesting something from you, you’ll need to respond as soon as possible. If she gives you some advice prior to an interview she’s scheduled for you, take the advice. She knows the employers and their needs better than you do, and she wants the two of you to form a connection.

If you need information, speak up.

Sometimes job candidates (especially inexperienced candidates) have trouble standing up or voicing needs and concerns to employers. We’re often counseled not to make salary demands during an interview, or to avoid saying things like “How much vacation does this job offer?” or “Will I be able to work from home?” or “I don’t want to deal with angry customers. Can you assure me this job won’t require that?” But if you have these questions, you need answers, and you deserve them. If you can’t ask your employer, ask the recruiter. She’ll tell you what you need to know and she won’t pass judgement. Again, she wants both you AND the employer to get what you need.

Share everything that might help.

You don’t need to (and you shouldn’t) tell your recruiter anything you wouldn’t share with an employer, for example, your religion, family, or marital status. But you CAN tell her as much detail as possible about what you’re looking for, why you left your last job, exactly how far you’d like to commute, and where you’d like to take your long term career.

For more on how to talk to and work with your recruiter, reach out to the team at PSU.

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