Wherever you are in your job search process, recruiters can be your best ally, but know that it takes some work from you to make employers want to go above and beyond to aid your job search. Here are five guidelines you need to keep in mind when you want to work with a recruiter, but don’t know where to start:
1. it’s not all about you.
Now, you might be tempted to think that you’re not a selfish jerk. However, ask yourself if you’re only contacting a recruiter when you absolutely need one, ignoring them if their request isn’t beneficial to you or convenient at the moment, or being dismissive once you’ve gotten what you wanted. It is easy to make recruiters feel used and under-appreciated. Many job seekers forget they directly relate to sending emails that never get replies and pursuing candidates who may or may not be interested. If you’re not currently in the job market, don’t just dismiss a recruiter’s call. You could play a role in helping them find the right candidate. It won’t take that much of your time. You never know when the recruiter might be able to return the favor. Whenever you approach your job search with a selfish, short-sighted view, you will only hurt yourself in the long run. If a recruiter is going to be your ally, you have to be an ally to them too.
2. Don’t be fake.
It’s never a good idea to try to be someone that you’re not. No one likes to feel lied to. And that’s what happens when you try to oversell yourself, laugh too hard at the recruiter’s jokes, or make it hard for the recruiter to get the sense of the real you. Definitely be confident, talk about your strengths, and show your capabilities. But you can be confident without being fake. Don’t confuse the two. In order to have a recruiter as your ally, there has to be trust.
3. Don’t forget to bring your ‘A’ game.
Things can feel a little more casual with a recruiter, but if this is supposed to be your “in” to the company and getting in front of the right people, you have got to bring your game. This means that you need to prepare for phone conversations or coffee meetings. You need to double and triple check your emails for typos. Don’t think that an introductory conversation is the time to be relaxed. That kind of posture is underestimating the value of the recruiter and the power that they might hold. You can be relaxed with a recruiter, but don’t let your guard down – every conversation is a mini-interview.
4. Don’t waste your recruiter’s time.
Know your qualifications and what you want. This means that you cannot just tell a recruiter that you “will do any kind of work.” It means that you don’t send an email with zero text and just your resume attached. It means that you learn a bit about the company you’re interested in or the recruiter’s area of expertise. Do your homework. If you need a career coach, you should hire one, but do not expect a recruiter to fill those shoes for you.
5. Don’t ignore the recruiter’s feedback.
Recruiters can have a pretty good handle on what the company or industry is looking for, so do not ignore any feedback that you get. Constructive criticism can help you adjust your accomplishments to better align with client expectations. So, do not dismiss a recruiter’s criticism. Graciously accept and use it.
Relationships take work, and gaining recruiters as allies in your career is a win-win for both of you. Recruiters are constantly looking for the right candidate for the right job. Sometimes, you might be that right candidate, and other times, you might be the connection to the right candidate. Whether you’re the candidate or the connection, bring your best to the relationship.