Talent Acquisition Workplace

Top 3 Tips for Working with Recruiters…from a Recruiter!

I have been recruitment consultant for the last 10 years and absolutely love my job. I’m aware that recruiters don’t always provoke happy thoughts in the minds of job seekers and clients alike and that is maybe a blog post for another time, but for now I want to give some tips for getting the most out of your recruiter relationships.

1. Keep a daybook

After advertising on a job board, I can sometimes call up the successful candidates for interview only to hear them say they have no idea what job I am calling about. Sometimes I can hear the confusion and panic in their voice when they try to blag it…but I can tell. Sometimes they simply just tell me that they have applied for so many jobs that they are not sure which one I am calling to discuss.

I don’t mind this at all and I never take offence or hold it against them. This is because I understand how confusing it can be for job seekers. It is totally understandable when recruiters advertise their vacancies without telling you who the actual employer is.

There may be a few reasons why they have kept the job anonymous. Maybe they don’t want their competitors to know who they are working with or maybe the employer doesn’t want anyone to know they are hiring. Whatever the reason, this can make dealing with multiple agencies a little messy and confusing at times.

I recommend keeping a daybook and making a note of all the agencies, job titles that you apply for and the dates. You can also keep a note of all the emails and phone calls that you make too. This way you can grab it and scan it quite quickly and remain prepared. It also saves you panicking and feeling under pressure and allows you to make a positive impression from the start.

2. Call time

One of the biggest frustrations that I hear about recruiters is that they don’t return calls. It’s a tough one because the nature of their job is to network and track down possible opportunities, so they are always on the phone.

Companies rarely just telephone recruiters to give them jobs to work on. Recruiters are often targeted on making a certain number of ‘prospect calls’ per day, especially during core business hours when their clients are in work. Most agencies work approximately 8am to 6pm so maybe try to call them before 9am or after 4.30pm when they are least likely to be on a ‘prospect call’.

Not returning calls is really bad manners and I am not saying that this is excusable. I am saying that we cannot control the behaviours of others, only how we adapt to them.

3. Help them help you

Sometimes our client wants to see you, sometimes they don’t and ultimately it is their decision not ours. On occasions we have to work that little bit harder to promote you and the value that you could add. I once felt so passionate about a candidate who I’d advised my client to meet, that I was distraught when he kept refusing. My candidate was over qualified, I realise, but I had spent enough time with him to know this wasn’t going to be an issue.

So what did I do? I did a deal with my client. If he met my candidate for 20 minutes and felt that it was a waste of his time, he never had to use me for any recruitment again. I even told him he could create a Facebook page dedicated to my incompetence as a recruiter. Well, he did meet him and he did hire him (thankfully). I was willing to put my neck on the line and that’s what we do with our own reputations every day.

You need to influence your recruiter and convince them of the benefits you bring and the value you can add to their clients. They need to really believe in you to really ‘sell’ you.

You can do this by giving them a breakdown of your achievements. You can write them a list of companies that you would love to work for and give them the reasons why and you can hand over as many fantastic references as you can get. Your recruiter can and will use all of this information to help differentiate you from the other candidates and secure you that last interview slot.

Your relationships with recruiters can be complex at times and I hope these tips help you get the most out of them…and ultimately see you employed in a job you love!

Related: 6 Reasons You Never Heard Back from the Recruiter.

By Aimee Bateman

Aimee Bateman worked for some of the world's largest recruitment companies, before setting up her own consultancy. She has helped thousands of people get their dream jobs and has appeared in a number of TV programmes as the 'Recruitment Expert' on BBC 1 and BBC 3. Aimee is also the founder of Careercake.TV which is designed to help people thrive in their careers. Follow Aimee on Twitter @CareercakeTV.