Tips for Working with a Recruiter

One of the values of a recruiter is demonstrated through his or her ability to understand your skill set, personality and goals and match them with the current or future needs of his or her clients. Here are some tips to make the matchmaking game a win-win for you and your recruiter.


Know Yourself. Before moving full-speed ahead on your job search, take a personal inventory. Some things may have changed since you were last in this position. Perhaps you have a family or a mortgage to worry about. Know what you need in terms of financial compensation and benefits, how far you are willing to commute, how often you can travel and how much overtime you can handle. Review your career goals and note how they’ve shifted or evolved. Know how much you are or are not willing to compromise in each area and be open and honest with your recruiter.

Don’t Limit Yourself. Work with more than one recruiter/firm. No one recruiter or firm has a comprehensive network that includes everyone in town. Find two or three recruiters you like and trust that specialize in your line of work and seem knowledgeable of the market and their clients.

Be organized with your search, write down the contacts you’ve spoken with and the positions that interest you. Keep a log of where and with whom you’ve interviewed. This will prevent being submitted by multiple recruiters for the same position, which typically ends in your candidacy being dropped. Staying organized will also allow you to refer to these notes in the future so you know who you’ve spoken with at different organizations (both the recruiting agency AND the end clients). Never agree to have your resume blindly submitted; you don’t want your resume thrown around just to “see what sticks.” Know who is presenting you and to whom at all times.

Use Good Etiquette. Don’t be afraid to be persistent and follow up if you haven’t received feedback from your recruiter, but be polite and concise. Calling or emailing every day may be too much, but sending a quick note every 2-3 days just to let the recruiter know you’re still interested works.

Be responsive when your recruiter calls and return their calls at your earliest convenience. This will help the recruiter keep the ball rolling for you. Always call your recruiter after an interview to let them know how it went and your thoughts, and never contact the end client directly without prior consent from your recruiter. The recruiter should remain the liaison between you and your possible new employer unless/until said otherwise OR if the client contacts you first.

The More You Know. If your recruiter has a strong relationship with the client, take advantage of it! Ask about the company culture and environment, the people you might be working with, if there is room for career growth, etc. If you get an interview, find out what your recruiter knows about the people who will be interviewing and the typical interview process. Knowledge is power – your recruiter probably won’t have all the answers but you’ll know more than you did previously, and you can use that to your advantage to help you win the job.