How can you make the most of your recruiter?

Written by
Changeboard Team

06 Sep 2011

06 Sep 2011 • by Changeboard Team

Be clear about your career objectives

Recruiters are not always given a good name. But find an expert recruitment consultancy that can offer real insight into the industry you are working in and a lot of stress can be taken out of your job search.

The important thing to remember is that recruiters cannot wave a magic wand - we work hard to understand exactly what skills and experience HR professionals have, what environment they excel in, what drives them as individuals and what their long-term objectives are. The clearer you are about these things and the more likely it is that a recruiter is able to help you.

“You only get out what you put in,” says Jennifer Berry, an experienced interim HR director. Jennifer has found recruitment agencies invaluable, since launching her interim career, they really helped her broaden her reach and secure work. She says, “It's important to remember that recruiters are really an extension of their clients. While good recruiters will offer valuable advice it's important to remain in the driving seat and be as clear as you can in terms of where you want to work and what you want to do.”

Developing the relationship

A successful job search involves investment and professionals really need to dedicate time to plan, research and then act. Expert recruitment agencies will be well connected but it is important to understand who these agencies are and whether they are well connected within your sector. Berry highlights the need to align yourself with agencies that have a client base you are interested in. She suggests asking around and speaking to other professionals in your field, both in-house recruiters and job seekers. It may also help to look at current jobs online and in key trade publications, to see whether there are specific recruitment agencies managing roles in the sectors that you are interested in. 

Berry says, “The recruitment agencies I deal with have a wide network of contacts which really help me with my job search. When I first started out as an interim they were also able to advise me about how I should go about my networking in order to be successful - this advice was invaluable.” 

It is essential to be honest in your self-assessment, according to Berry. The more accurate picture the recruiter has of your capabilities and interests the better it is for everyone – this will allow recruiters to ensure they put you forward for the right jobs and increase your chance of success. 

It's always worth meeting your recruiter face-face. Most recruiters will suggest this anyway but taking the time to do so will enable you to demonstrate you have what it takes at an interview and also allow you to start building a relationship with your recruiter.

It's also worth finding out whether your recruiter prefers a certain form of communication and whether there is a good time to contact them to discuss jobs - doing so will show you are serious about your career and help you cement a relationship. 

Good recruiters will keep lines of communication open. They will offer feedback and advice with regards to most things to do with your job search, from your expectations to your CV and interview style. But this needs to be a two-way thing, according to Berry. She says, “Honesty is essential. If it's not a genuine partnership it just will not work. Recruiters are busy people and therefore it is important to make their life as simple as possible.”

Maintain contact

Your dream role may come up when you're not looking, but if you have kept in touch with your recruiter and they know which roles you may be interested in they will contact you.

This means that you might well be approached about an exciting role before you start the process of applying or looking to leave an organisation. Building and maintaining relationships with recruiters is a worthwhile investment and may help your long-term career.