Best Practices for Working with a Recruiter

Look, it’s time we had a talk.  We understand that you’re a motivated, energetic, career-oriented go-getter that has a firm grip on their industry employment market.  You may be ready, willing and able to spend hours hunting down and applying for the job of your dreams. You may have even been rewarded for your efforts thus far with an interview or two.

If you’re on the hunt for a new position in today’s competitive job market, however, you’re doing yourself and your career no favors by overlooking the usefulness of a professional recruiter.  Whether an exclusive recruiter hired to staff a high-level position for a major corporation or a specialized firm that is known for staffing in your industry, recruiters are in the business of placing qualified candidates in the perfect jobs to benefit both employee and employer.  In short, if you have the chance to work with a recruiter, what are you waiting for?

With that being said, working with a recruiter for the first time can be a bit of a change of pace for those used to going at it on their own.  To ensure that you get the best use out of your personal recruiter, here are a few best practices for working with a recruiter in your job search.

Be Honest

Many candidates fear to be forthright and open with their recruiting contact for fear of the information they share “getting back” to the potential employer.  In reality, however, recruiters build their personal careers on a reputation for excellence and making the right connections between workforce and company need.  

Be upfront with your recruiter on items such as salary requirements, upcoming vacation schedules, lurking issues on your resume such as job gaps or terminations.  Many times a recruiter can work with these known variables and, in fact, has probably seen just about everything when it comes to career placement. Save yourself and your recruiter time and embarrassment and be open and forthright with your career needs and limitations at the start.

Ask Questions

Curious about the job application process for a particular position?  Not getting interview callbacks and wondering if your desired compensation is too high for the market?  Interested in knowing about a particular company, title or industry? Remember that recruiters work day in and out with these and many other details of the job application process.  Feel free to ask plenty of questions during your initial interview and throughout the recruitment process. Doing so will help keep you at ease and will also let your recruiter know you’re a serious candidate looking to make a move now.  There’s nothing that irks a recruiter more than a potential match for a position that seems uninterested or drags their feet. Be on top of things and engage and you’ll get extra job placement attention from the professional that matters.

Don’t Go Around a Recruiter to The Employer

This may be the holy grail of “just don’t do it” actions potential employees can take when working with a recruiter.  If your first point of contact for a particular position is with a recruiter, whatever you do, do not use the introduction opportunity to then apply directly with the employer.  If a company has enlisted the aid of a recruiter they likely will prefer candidates from that source lessening your chances at scoring an interview or job offer.

In addition, recruiters earn their income typically based off a commission for placing quality candidates.  If you undercut their ability to collect on that hard-earned fee, be prepared to be blackballed by the recruitment agency and potential affiliates as someone who doesn’t comply with the well-understood recruitment/candidate rules of engagement.  

Working with a recruiter is often the most efficient and productive way candidates can find quality open positions.  Certain fields and professions, in fact, hire almost solely through recruiters, relying on the expertise of these individuals to help lessen the risk of poor quality candidates and aiding in the reduction of employee turnover.  

Search jobs on for specific recruiter related open positions and find opportunities to rely on the pros to help you land that career-making job.

Article Updated from the Original on April 22, 2018