How to work successfully with a recruiter

Written by
Changeboard Team

16 Mar 2012

16 Mar 2012 • by Changeboard Team

Establishing trust

Trust is extremely important in building a successful relationship with your consultant. Always remember that your recruitment consultant has your best interests in mind. They are there to help you and they need to understand your situation in order to find that perfect position for you.

Jenny Guo, manager, consumer sales and marketing, Robert Walters Talent Consulting Ltd Shanghai:

“We do not believe in working only for the clients (organisations). We consider both the clients and candidates as equally important. By trusting us and being honest with us, we can better understand what you want and where you best fit.”


Remember that recruitment consultants receive over 50 rèsumès each day so always follow-up with a phone call after sending out your rèsumè. This helps consultants remember you better and it also gives you the chance to sell your qualifications. If they like what they hear, they will schedule to meet up with you and this cuts out having sit by the phone wondering when they will call.

Be transparent

Every recruitment consultant loves an honest candidate. Being honest and transparent gives your recruitment consultant a better idea of how they can assist you with your job search. Tell them the real reasons why you are leaving your current job or why you left your previous job. Share what you are looking for and what you liked or did not like about your job. Remember that consultants do not judge. They are only there to help with the hiring process but are not the decision makers.

At the end of the day, it still boils down to how you perform at the interview. Describe your requirements and preferences with regards to your preferred salary, relocation, etc. For example, if you are not keen on relocating, make sure to mention it to your consultant so that they do not match you to a job that requires you to do so.

Violet Sha, manager, supply chain and quality, Robert Walters Talent Consulting Ltd Suzhou:

“I cannot emphasise enough how important it is for candidates to be honest with us. For example, whenever I interview candidates, I will always ask why they want to leave their current job. The aim is not to scrutinise their reasons but to better understand how we can help. If for instance, you are not happy about working for a certain kind of boss then tell us. We’ll be sure not to match you with organisations with bosses that have a similar personality.”

Be open-minded

A professional recruitment consultant will always provide you with feedback on your interviews or advise you on your current career path, moving beyond job matches. They also provide consultations and advice, which is why they are called consultants. Take this advice with an open mind. Never try to challenge your consultants or defend your actions. They are only trying to help you and are not scrutinising you without a reason.

Be realistic

You will be placed in better stead for a job match if you have realistic job expectations. Consultants will have an easier time matching you to a position based on your educational qualifications and experience. If you are currently a manager, do not seek a director level position unless you have accrued a sufficient amount of experience. Remember, if your consultants think you are worth more than you are asking, they will always help you seek a higher salary.

Be committed and cooperative

Your commitment to this process is extremely important in facilitating the chances of your success. When a consultant arranges an interview for you with a prospective employer, be prepared and try to arrive 10 minutes before your scheduled appointment. Read the company and job information they send you and make sure to turn up. If you really cannot make your appointment, try to call at least one day before and suggest an alternative date. Never call at the very last minute or worst yet, not turn up at all.

Rita Dong, head of Robert Walters Talent Consulting Ltd, Beijing Office:

“A good candidate is someone who says what they mean and do what they say. These are the best people to work with as they will always put in extra effort to get the job. They are also the ones who tend to impress the interviewers most and are often the ones who will most likely get the job.”

Be patient

Consultants understand how eager you are in finding a job. However, it won’t help if you keep calling them every two hours asking when you will get an interview. They need time to evaluate your CV and time to match you with a suitable position. Sit back, wait a little and if you still do not hear from them in three days, then call your recruitment consultant for updates.

Be professional

Your professional demeanour is a reflection of your work attitude. Whenever consultants conduct an initial face-to-face interview, they will always observe how you talk and behave. Never forget the fundamentals of making a good impression on your recruitment consultant.

Engaging the help of professional recruitment consultants definitely has its advantages because these professional consultants usually have the best jobs on hand; especially those that are not advertised. If you are not sure which recruitment agency you can approach, ask friends for referrals to do a search on the Internet. Look out for specialist consultants and the ones that specialise in your industry. This helps you differentiate your niche within job market and target only what is relevant to you.

Even if you are not looking for a job, it is always good to get to know a consultant in your industry. Recruitment consultants are able to store your resume in their database and they may very well have the perfect position for you in the future.