Love them or hate them, you most often can’t ignore them. In fact, along with internal job referrals, Recruiters are your best bet to land that dream job!
Like any professional, recruiters too have their own code of ethics. And understanding their ethics is the key to building a mutually rewarding partnership. In this post, we give you the 10 golden rules to apply when working with recruiters. With this, not only do these powerful folks help you, but you graciously return the favour and empower them too!
Do your research
If you’re looking for a job-change, we bet that you’re a sincere worker looking for professional advancement. You take your career seriously and have spent adequate time researching companies, and you’ve listed out the top companies that align with your professional dreams. Correct?
Our suggestion is to extend this research to recruiters too.
You see, there are (mediocre) recruiters. And there are THE recruiters, the ones who land you your dream job. These are the folks you want to tap to power your professional dreams. So spend some time and effort looking up the recruiters you intend to sign up with, as you prod them on the following questions.
- What is their reputation in the market with employers? Do you see your dream company hiring them, to hire you?
- What is their reputation in the market with professionals? If you have a co-worker or colleague you look up to, do you see him or her approaching this recruiter?
- What is their reputation amongst the workforce? Have any of your associates had any (positive or negative) experience with them? (Here, it also helps to research online to find non-biased feedback).
- How thoroughly do they want to know you? Do they seek to understand your interests and career goals? Are these recruiters interested in you as a professional member, or merely as yet another number?
- Do they have a well-connected network? This will determine if their noble intentions will indeed translate to a dream career placement for you.
- Finally, do they intend to charge you for their services? If yes, then you should treat this as a no, a loud, red-flag NO!
You want a recruiter who builds fulfilling careers, not mere positions. The above questions will help you get out the very best.
This is the logical conclusion to the first rule. Your research has possibly revealed some very integrated folks, committed to finding the top talent for top companies. In this step, you ensure that you are the talent they want.
Don’t just sign up with the top recruiters merely because the market seems to align in their favor. There’s always the possibility that your unique dreams do not align to popular market needs.
- Perhaps you’re highly skilled in a niche market?
- Or you wish to relocate to a specific geographical location, and want a recruiter from that zone?
- Or you want a job that will support you to build a successful career as you work from home?
This is the step where you carefully choose a “Headhunter” (another name for the popular recruiter) who’s equally committed to both sides: you and your potential employer. Only then will you find that dream job that also allows your employer to find immense value in you.
It is also this recruiter who will go out on a limb to make both ends work.
Allow us to re-iterate to you here: stay far away from recruiters who’re merely fishing for empty placements regardless of actual fit. You’re worth more than this.
Read the fine print
Once you’ve zeroed on your choice of top recruiters, the last step to ensure a worthy partnership is to carefully scan the fine print.
Mediocre recruiters can snare you in various ways. While the straightforward approach may be to ask for a cut from your first pay (which you should immediately refuse), their execution is often more devious. They may:
- Demand exclusivity for their not-so-exclusive services.
- Demand that you “introduce” them to at least 1 other associate (to increase their business).
- Bind you to the hiring company for a contract period. If you quit ahead of its release, you pay a penalty.
The only way to avoid their trap is to scan their contract and check if there’s a penalty clause hiding in there.
Place your best foot forward
With the first 3 steps in place, your efforts are sure to have paid off. You’ve found recruiters you respect and want to work with, and you’re all set to begin a mutually rewarding partnership with them.
Take the next step right by placing your best foot forward.
One mistake professionals make is they assume it is the recruiter’s job to find them a job. Well, it is, but this is the mental setup of a lazy, mediocre professional – certainly not you!
Make the effort to showcase that something “extra” in your resume. What makes hiring you a worthwhile proposition for top companies? Here, it’s not just about your technical skills or educational background or present paycheck, as recruiters can easily find these in spades. Instead, highlight to them the special experiences and knowledge you bring. Reveal yourself not just as a valuable employee, but as a precious, not-to-be-missed-under-any-circumstances star. This in turn will powerfully drive those recruiters to root for you amongst top-tier companies.
Be thoroughly honest. Always
Working with recruiters is a lot like working with lawyers, or doctors. Be honest in your dealings with them, always.
It helps nobody when you hide potential red-flags from your recruiter. Today, companies invest in thorough background checks before hiring potential employees. So if you have any unsavory elements in your past, it’s best to forewarn your recruiter upfront.
You may not want to capture them in your resume, but you will need to let your recruiter know if:
- You have had breaks in employment. (This is easy to disguise, but don’t.)
- You were given the pink slip from a past company. (This could be for various reasons: from bad performance to economic meltdown. Ensure that you stay ruthlessly honest with your recruiter.)
- You have any other past experience that can negatively sneak up on you.
Top recruiters often go out on a limb to find your dream job, placing enormous trust in you. Here, you return the favor. They will often reciprocate with understanding, and perhaps even help you overcome past digressions.
Participate in your hiring
Again, this is you being proactive.
You’ve already taken significant steps in attracting your dream job. You’ve showcased yourself as a fantastic bundle of talent and you’ve been honest and upfront with your recruiter. What next?
Foster open communication with your recruiter that works both ways. Here, you’re not just being honest, but also clear and reasonable.
- Clarify your expectations on role, company, salary, perks and other deal breakers with the recruiter.
- Share your long-term goals and how they fit with what you presently seek. If your recruiter is convinced that you’re the best fit for a position, they’re more likely to positively influence the hiring manager’s decision.
- Check in with your recruiter on the companies receiving your profile. Ensure they are what you want. Let this not be a blind scramble to get any job that comes your way.
Finally, keep your recruiters constantly updated on your availability status. If you’ve already approached other headhunters or companies, keep them updated on this too. Nobody appreciates duplicate or wasted efforts.
Be stingy with your money and generous with your time
Never put yourself in a position to “pay” the recruiter; that is the hiring company’s role.
But, do not hesitate to spend time with recruiters. The more they get to “know” you, the better they can fit you into that dream job.
As a company expands, there’s often a rush to fill new positions. Here’s where mediocre recruiters can come in with unrealistic promises. We believe that the first 5 rules empower you to avoid this kind of recruiter. But just in case you fall into their trap, ensure that you make it clear upfront that you will be enormously generous with your time (to discuss possibilities to advance your career, for preparation, to attend interviews, etc.) while remaining ruthlessly stingy with your money. This should set the mediocre ones running away from you.
Yes, you’ve finally won those recruiters over and landed an interview with your dream company. And you think that now’s the time to check out and make it on your own.
You think wrong!
Recruitment firms often have a ton of insight on what works in the market, and for your specific hiring company. Your recruiter may even have a professional relationship with the hiring manager, and can influence his or her decision. Don’t discount its value.
Seek “feedback” from the recruiters, even before you step into the interview room.
- Perhaps your recruiter may suggest that you strengthen your technical skills with additional certifications, and you can share your commitment for the same during the interview.
- Or your recruiter may have inputs on the company’s current passion project so you can research it and impress the interviewer with your knowledge.
- Or your recruiter suggests you highlight that part-time study to get a Management degree, something you would have missed since you’re interviewing for a technical role.
All of this can help you interview better and win that coveted job.
Yes, yes, yes! You’ve landed your dream job with a little help from a committed recruiter. Congratulations, it’s your time to celebrate!
Don’t forget to include your recruiter in your celebration.
The best way you can do this it to give them valuable feedback, the kind that strengthens and expands their business.
You see, you have a unique opportunity that your recruiter never gets: to attend and ace a live interview. For all their inputs, recruiters miss a portion of that live-experience. Here’s where you can give them more than a sneak-peak from your learning. In fact, you should do this even if the interview is not successful.
Here are a few notes on what you can share:
- Your take on the company. Does it match the expectations set by the recruiter? Or were you taken by surprise?
- Were you treated with respect? If not, this is something your recruiter should know, and can fix.
- Did you feel adequately “prepared” for the interview? If not, what helpful inputs would have helped?
This is an excellent way to help your recruiters enhance their service. BUT, do ensure that you share your inputs tactfully so it does not come across as a blame game. Your recruiter should feel like you’re out to help them, and not out to get them.
Invest in the relationship
You’re probably wondering what additional rule we can give you to apply now. If you’ve already won your dream job, your tryst with the recruiter is complete. Right?
Smart candidates realize that their career is a marathon and will include more such interviews in the future. Hence they build on the relationship they’ve already established with their recruiter so they stay updated on market trends and needs.
You can do this too with just a few positive gestures:
- Keep in touch with your key contact at the recruitment agency. It always helps to keep an eye on market trends, even if you’re not actively pursuing a job change.
- If your recruiter worked nicely for you, give them positive publicity among your friends. This also works for you as your friends will recognize you for the well-networked person you are.
- Recommend them within your company for internal hiring needs. If you are not able to drive this directly, then give your favorite recruiters a heads-up on positions available within your company, so they can get in touch with the right people to take this forward (like your company’s HR personnel).
As clever professionals realize, they key to continues long-term advancement is people: thriving relationships with the right people. Your favorite recruiters definitely fall in this category.
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