This post originally appeared on Levo League.
When I was getting ready to graduate from college, I had a recruiter contact me about an outside sales position. Even though I interviewed and got the job, I still remember feeling mystified by the whole process of working with a recruiter.
Fast forward to a few years down the road in my career, and I now work as a recruitment consultant for an recruitment process outsourcing firm.
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Get started with a free financial assessment.
My company handles the recruitment process for clients in a wide variety of industries; it’s my job to find qualified candidates to fill our clients’ open positions, move them through the interview process, and (hopefully) get them hired. However, I realize there is some level of confusion from many job seekers on just how this process works.
A few key pieces of advice that can help make the process of trying to work with a recruiter more effective are as follows:
1. Improve Your LinkedIn Profile
I often get asked how I find candidates for the jobs I recruit for, and my number one answer is LinkedIn. I use the networking site to identify profiles of candidates who could be a fit based on their backgrounds. So, if you’re in the market for a new job, be sure that your LinkedIn profile is as comprehensive and up-to-date as possible.
Include any potential qualifications you possess like foreign language skills, experience with certain types of software and knowledge of a specific industry, as this will ensure your profile shows up in a keyword search. Additionally, make sure that your current privacy settings allow your public profile to be seen by everyone and that you are currently open to receiving InMail, as that is often the method a recruiter will use to contact you.
2. Return Phone Calls and Emails
I respect the fact that candidates are not necessarily sitting by the phone waiting for my call when I reach out to them. However, if someone I contact for a position is constantly unresponsive, it’s likely I won’t be moving that candidate forward in the interview process. My job is to get quality candidates over to my client in a timely manner. If someone does not respond to my emails and voicemails, I have to assume that there’s not enough interest in the position. Also, when candidates reach out to follow up about a position, it shows me that they’re interested. However, when they call me about it multiple times a day, it definitely comes off as more desperate than driven, which is not a good thing.
3. Use the Recruiter as a Resource
Don’t be afraid to pick a recruiter’s brain. As a liaison between you and the employer, recruiters can help provide you with valuable information including the responsibilities of the position, the company culture, etc. As a candidate, you have a great opportunity to take advantage of the recruiter’s knowledge to determine whether or not the position is something you’d be interested in pursuing. A recruiter can also provide insight on what the steps in the interview process will look like, along with what you can do to stand out to the hiring manager—so don’t be afraid to ask!
4. Always Be Honest
If a recruiter reaches out to you about a role that’s not the right match for your skillset or career goals, start a conversation about what types of positions you would be interested in. I appreciate when candidates are upfront with me so I can keep them in mind for future openings or other jobs that my colleagues may be working on.
Additionally, my job is to ask candidates the tough questions, and that includes discussing compensation expectations. Don’t be vague or dishonest about your current salary or the salary you’d expect in a new position, as that wastes everyone’s time. Finally, don’t let a recruiter set up an interview for you if you know that you can’t make it or you don’t have a genuine interest in the position. Nothing is more frustrating to me than a candidate canceling an interview at the last minute, or worse, not showing up at all.
5. Trust the Recruiter’s Word
The worst part about my job is calling people to let them know they weren’t chosen for a position. However, I am more likely to consider these candidates for future opportunities when they take the news gracefully. More often than not, the candidate didn’t do anything wrong; there was just someone else in process that aligned more closely with the client’s needs.
Also, I may not receive detailed feedback on why someone was not selected, so don’t assume the recruiter is being intentionally vague if you don’t receive specific reasons for why you’re not moving forward in the interview process. Finally, if you do get rejected, don’t go around the recruiter’s back and reach out to the company directly. You’ll only make yourself look worse by trying to go over the recruiter’s head and get back into the process.
My goal as a recruiter is to create a win-win situation in which I find my client outstanding talent and help candidates land new positions that align with their career goals. If you’re currently work with a recruiter, respecting the process and acting professionally will go a long way to ensure a successful outcome!