How to Work With a Recruiter to Land a Job

By Robert Half on March 5, 2020 at 11:00am

A staffing professional can give you sound career advice as well as job leads — including those not listed on public job boards. But if you want to take full advantage of working with a recruiter, you need to do your part, too.

Here are some suggestions:

1. Ask the right questions

Every relationship begins with a courtship phase as the two parties get to know each other. When choosing among recruiters, you want to be sure they're a good fit for you, and vice versa. After all, not every staffing agency is the same.

When it comes to your career, there's no point in beating around the bush. To get you started, here are some questions you can ask to help you assess whether a recruiter will represent you well:

  • “Do you specialize in the industry I work in?”
  • “How often do you staff roles with the skill sets in my background?"
  • “In what types of companies and industries have you placed people like me?”
  • “Do you proactively market your candidates? How does the process work?”
  • “How can I make myself for marketable to employers?”

2. Be honest when working with a recruiter

Honesty is always the best policy. Be up front about what you're looking for — and what you're not. Are you seeking temporary assignments or a full-time role? Being clear about your objectives is the only way a staffing professional can do the best possible job for you.

Likewise, be straightforward about your salary history, the responsibilities you held at previous positions, and why you left past roles. First impressions set the tone for your relationship, and being forthcoming demonstrates trustworthiness.

It’s fine to look for work on your own, but don’t leave your recruiter out of the loop. Promptly inform the staffing agency if you have a job lead in the pipeline. The same holds true for personal obligations that might impact your availability.

Want to start working with a recruiter? Get the ball rolling and submit your resume to Robert Half today!

3. Don’t expect recruiters to do your part

Recruiters are there to give you guidance, not execute for you. You can ask them for tips on polishing your resume, for example, but it's not their job to rewrite it for you.

Recruiters can provide an objective view of your chances of landing a job, which is critical to you as you move forward. Ask for a candid appraisal of your strengths as a candidate. If they're doing their job, they'll give you unvarnished feedback. But that means you need to listen without going on the defensive — and then be willing to take action based on their advice.

4. Don’t be shy about money

There's no reason to withhold information about your compensation expectations or what you've been paid by past employers. The recruiter's job is to suggest a rate or salary that's fair for both parties.

If you're unsure about your salary expectations, check out the Robert Half Salary Guides. These resources can help you determine what to expect based on your skills, experience and location. Armed with that information, you'll feel more confident when discussing money.

Don't be disappointed if your recruiter suggests some positions that don't perfectly match your desired location, rate of pay or exact position. They want to provide as many viable options as possible so you can start working sooner rather than later. Holding out for that perfect job could leave you waiting forever.

5. Stay in touch, even after you land an assignment

Many recruiters continue to provide guidance while you're on assignment — especially while you're new. That goes for you, too: Be sure to approach your recruiter first about any issues you might be experiencing with a company.

6. Spread the good news

When you find a staffing agency you love to work with, consider recommending it to friends and colleagues. Great referrals help raise your profile — and may inspire recruiters to think of you as new job opportunities arise.

No matter where you are in the job hunting process, honesty and responsiveness provide a great foundation for building a solid relationship with any recruiter.

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