I’m not going to get on my soap box and bang the drum about how important recruiters are in the job search process. Most people know we don’t make the final decisions, and many lovely candidates that work with us, won’t chat with us again for a few years because of many reasons such as they found their ideal job opportunity, or their search revealed they needed to go back to school or many other valid reasons. As recruiters though, we are able to open doors for people but ONLY after they have walked through them. Meaning our role is as an advisor rather than a driver.
Why therefore is it even remotely important to get your recruiters on side? Surely, you have enough on your plate than worrying about what they think about you.
Well, whilst trying to retain a little humility, it is often the gentle nudges from recruiters that help sway a hiring decision one way or the other. We are retained to help our clients to make the best possible hiring decision, and we will give our honest and forthright opinion if asked.
Therefore, in the spirit of giving beleaguered candidates a few helpful hints, here are five simple suggestions about what matters to us recruiters:
Take every opportunity to show that you can be dependable. While many of a candidate’s qualities might only reside on their resumes, recruiters will pick up on their behavioral characteristics during their dealings. If a candidate doesn’t turn up to an interview and fails to notify the recruiter, what is to say that they will be any different on the job? If a recruiter has little confidence in a candidate, they will be less happy to present them to a client.
Be nice and use good manners. You definitely catch more flies with honey. Although a recruiter’s part in the recruitment process carries a transactional bias, the subtlest of opinions could make all the difference to a candidate in the final reckoning. If a candidate is rude with a recruiter, at a time when courtesy with a total stranger is of utmost importance, it is likely that they will not care about the feelings of their future colleagues. Hiring for personality is important, and no matter how stressed a candidate might be, they should make a real effort to be nice to everyone in the recruitment process along the way (even the receptionist).
Don’t be coy if you have an interest. There is nothing wrong with showing your passion if a job interests you. People won’t think you are desperate, and they won’t offer you less money (they might even offer you more as passion is a selling point). The best candidates share their energy of interest in the job with everyone they talk to. No employer wants to feel like one of many – they want to feel like they are THE one.
Try not to exaggerate on your resume or during interviews. This is a tricky one as candidates always want to show themselves off in the best possible light, but inconsistencies are remarkably easy to spot, and the moment your trustworthiness comes into question, all sorts of concerns can appear. When you are describing yourself, try to do it in such a way that current colleagues or friends would nod their heads rather than look at you quizzically. Quantifying your experience with facts rather than emotions is always a great way to keep yourself honest.
Be prepared. If you’re not prepared for our call, how can we have confidence you’ll be prepared when talking with companies we are considering you for? If you’re not prepared to answer our screening questions how can we ever gain any traction with you and learn the more deeper, interesting things you really want to talk about like your strengths and what you really want in your next position? If you don’t prepare for an interview and we’ve clearly given you some tools to help you prepare, you are risking making your job search far harder than it needs to be. Just 20 minutes of prep can make a good chat into a great chat.
These five suggestions provide the foundation of a mutually beneficial relationship. Recruiters are increasingly becoming coaches, and when there is an approach of partnership and respect, we are able to add value wherever we can along the way.