How to Deal With Recruiters in 7 Steps

Look, we get it. Recruiters aren’t exactly at the top of your list of people to invite to dinner. (Which is a shame, because we love dinner.) As a whole, we have a reputation for being money driven, dishonest, and half-arsed. We don’t care about what you want or what would make you happy, we just want that quick, easy paycheque. 

Except, that’s not always true. Sure, there are some bad apples in recruitment. There are definitely those who only want you to pad their wallet, and really don’t care if you have the experience or skills required for the role they place you in. But isn’t that true for every industry? 

You could name someone like that in your sector, if you really tried. 

Dealing with recruiters, though. That’s not always easy, even with the better ones. Why don’t we break down into 7 handy steps so you can to get the best out of your recruitment experience? 

1. Be upfront and honest. 

This is going first because we think it’s the most important. 

You’re probably thinking right now, “they aren’t honest with me, why should I be honest with them?” Well, remember those bad apples we talked about? Thrown out. Binned. Locked away in a dungeon never to be seen again. From now on, you’re only dealing with the shiny Gala’s or the crisp Granny Smiths - dealer’s choice. 

If you give a good recruiter the information they need to do their jobs properly - what you’re really looking for in a salary, what needs you have, any problems that might arise - then they’re going to find you your perfect job. 

2. Find a few select recruiters. Build a relationship with them. 

This starts by asking for recommendations. Look at people in your industry. Ask around. Look at their LinkedIn - testimonials exist for a reason. Once you’ve located people placed by a recruiter, you can find those yummy Pink Lady’s. 

Building a relationship with a recruiter is just as beneficial as building a relationship with your colleagues, your clients, your barber. Knowing someone means understanding them more, getting to grips with their process. 

Plus, we’ll be able to give you some inside tips. True, we’ll do this anyway (like we said, we want you to succeed), but building rapport means the whole process goes a lot more smoothly. 

3. Use us for our knowledge.

You’re in the inner circle now. You know us by name, maybe you’ve actually saved our numbers to your phone. It’s time to get what you really came for: info. 

For us to get clients, we have to meet them. Talk to them. Water their plants every third day while they’re away in their Tennerife villa, escaping the horrible Manchester weather. So we know what they’re looking for in a new hire, which means you’ll know what they’re looking for. 

And chances are, the job spec we were given? It was written by HR, not the actual hiring manager, so we’ll also know where the wiggle room is. Do they really need 5+ years experience, knowledge of 3 different languages, and the ability to make coffee while standing on one leg? Probably not. But you wouldn’t know that without us. (Well, you’d probably know some of that.)

Use this opportunity to see if you’re getting the best salary, too. We’re knee-deep in the market; we can tell you what the average is, and help you get to above it.

4. Chase us. 

You’re busy, we know. That’s part of why you need us, right? Finding a job is a full-time job. You just don’t have the time. However, we’re busy, too. Where you have 5 interviews to keep track of, we have 20. While every recruiter worth their salt will keep you in the loop as much as they can, sometimes (as unfortunate as it is) things slip through the cracks. 

We’ll always pick back up on it at a later date, probably a few days later when revisiting our calendars and lists and stack of post-it notes, but you don’t need to wait that long. (Shouldn’t wait that long.) Give us a call. 

And if you can’t get through to your recruiter because they’re back to back with meetings and phone calls, ask to speak to someone else on the team. By the nature of recruitment, there’s going to be someone else who knows something about where you’re at in the process, or will, at the very least, be able to chase up for you. 

5. Make us work for our money. 

You know that we know that you know that we know that you know that we make money from placing you in a role. That’s recruitment. Doesn’t mean it’s easy, though. 

Say we’re giving you your feedback, and the client has said, “sorry, but the candidate just wasn’t a good fit…” You don’t have to take just that. The point of feedback is to give you some constructive ideas about what might have gone wrong during the process, whether it’s not adequately demonstrating your abilities or just a general cultural mis-fit. 

Make us go back and get more. We’re happy to do it, because, ultimately, candidate is king. 

6. Know what you want. 

This could be salary, benefits, culture, flexibility, seniority… anything that’s a must-have, know it before you get on the call. This does two things:

  1. It allows the recruiter to advocate on your behalf. 
  2. It stops you from interviewing for a job that’s not right for you. 

You can save time, and make sure you’re not being swayed into a role that doesn’t feel right, even if you’re not sure why. 

7. Understand that we’re not the bad guys. 

Sure, we make money from putting you in a role, and there are some dirty, rotten apples out there who don’t care about the candidates that they’re placing. But we’re not trying to give you a bad experience, or sell you down the river.

Good recruiters give a damn about the people they’re helping, even if only because we know you’re people, with real feelings, and thoughts on what type of apple is best. (Granny Smiths, fight me.) 

If there’s a candidate we feel isn’t right for a role, for whatever reason, they’re not being sent to the client. It’s not worth the time wasted or the good faith that could be lost, on both sides. 

Bin the bad, get down with the good. And that's how you deal with recruiters.