1. Realism – Recruiters are one way to get into your choice company when looking for a new job. However, they are not nor should they be the only way you take. My advice is that you work multiple recruiters and be honest about it, because the recruiters will find out eventually. Get involved and build your social network, and be active in professional associations. As recruiters, we’ll do our very best to find the best match and create that win/win scenario. Ultimately it’s up to you to make things happen.
2. Candidness & Prioritization – Discuss your priorities for a new role with your recruiter. Be candid. You won’t hurt our feelings. We’re not the hiring manager, we’re your partner throughout the process. If you had to make a choice today, what’s more important to you: money or location, title or responsibility, growth opportunities or work–life balance? If you don’t know, then we can’t help you on these choices, because everyone’s choices aren’t the same. However, we can ask questions to help you decide for yourself. This is one of the most important exercises to do when you first even think of looking for a job. Without knowing your own priorities, you may jump out of the frying pan and into the fire. That’s not what you want to do. So prioritize.
3. Open-Mindedness – Recruiters offer our best, most objective counseling and feedback. These may come in many different ways: 1. Advice on your resume for specific position. 2. How to answer questions effectively in an interview. 3. What’s the hiring team is really looking for in their ideal candidate. We’re trying to help you show the best version of yourself in the presence of the hiring manager. Take a deep breath and listen. When we give you suggestions, please listen and understand that we’re here to help you show your best side. Do not get defensive, and please do not show up to the interview and do the exact opposite that we counseled you not to do.
4. Responsiveness – Return your recruiter’s calls and emails. It really doesn’t necessarily mean drop everything and respond right away! I know we all have lives. Of course, if we’re talking about a job offer or salary negotiations, then yes, it’s pretty much drop everything. But if it’s more general, like seeing if you’re working or not, this is not a drop-everything communication. If a candidate is taking a lot of time to respond to something important — for instance a job offer or subsequent negotiations — it’s a revealing sign that the candidate may not be all that interested in the position. Many times an offer has been rescinded because the candidate took too long to respond. Recruiters know that most job seekers are looking at multiple opportunities at the same time. For this reason once a hiring manager makes an offer to you and you’re taking too much time to respond, the hiring manager (like it or not) assumes you must not be interested. FYI – If you have to think about it more than a day or two then it’s too long by many corporate standards, and it’s a no-go in their mind. You’ve done your soul-searching, you’ve gone through the process, and now you have the offer: get on the phone to your recruiter and give your answer.
Check back tomorrow for Part 2 for the final 4 skills for successful partnering with a recruiter.