Keep Calm and Hug a Recruiter

Recruiters don’t always have the best reputation. In fact, I think we register somewhere between estate agents and car salesmen in the List of Most Trusted Professions. But what is that gives recruiters such a bad name? Some of the professionals I’ve worked with over the years (both as a candidate myself and learning the ropes from colleagues within a recruitment agency) work really hard to deliver great service, unparalleled advice and ongoing support to both candidates and clients long after having placed someone into a role. These relationships can last years.

Yet people are still reluctant to work with, and trust, recruiters. A quick Google search brought up a whole host of articles slating the industry and some of the less authentic people within in – but this leads me to suggest these sorts of articles need to be read with a pinch of salt….

Yes I’m sure we’ve all experienced that one hot-shot that whipped your CV off a job board and sent it over to their client only to call you with an interview offer for a role you’ve never heard of, much less wanted to apply for.

Or the times when you send of countless CV’s and cover letters to little or no response.

But the truth is, the people that write this scathing reports of the recruitment industry seem to have very little knowledge of what it’s like to actually BE a recruiter.

It’s hard work. Long days, continual negotiation, wanting to make everyone happy and meet targets (yes, it is sales, we do have targets) But that aside, for the right person, recruitment is an incredibly rewarding job.

That time when you get an email through from someone you’ve just helped get their dream role, having coached them in interview techniques and what the hiring manager is looking for, selling their skills and personality to your client (the hiring manager who went on to offer them a job) working with both client and candidate to make sure both sides are fully aware of the role, responsibilities, wage, earning potential, progression opportunity….the list goes on.

So it never ceases to surprise me how much negative press recruiters actually get.

In this job, it’s all about relationships and people. A skilled recruiter will take the time to get to know you (as a candidate, client or sometimes both) and will be able to advise if the role and company you’re applying for are a genuinely good match for not just your skill set but also your personality, culture, career ambitions, lifestyle…

It is so much more indepth than just matching a set of keywords in an online search, making a few phone calls and coordinating a meeting.

In fact, I’d urge everyone – client or candidate – to give a wide berth to those recruiters out there who don’t take the time to really get to know you, your needs, ambitions, drivers, thought-process, personality etc.

So what should a good recruiter do? This is not an exhaustive list and please do add in any suggestions and recommendations based on your experience in the comments section below – but as a start, here’s what you should be looking for to know you’re working with a recruitment star who genuinely has your best interests at heart:

They speak to you
Sounds basic I know, but you’d be surprised how many candidates tell me of a brief 10 minute call in a snatched lunch break before being put forward for roles. This isn’t enough!

Does your recruiter find out about your past and current skills, why you want to move roles, what you’re looking for long-term, what sectors most interest you, whether you work better in teams or solo, will you travel, what perks are important to you, would you consider freelance as well as permanent, would you take a pay-cut for career progression or is money you main motivator.

And as a client, has your recruiter spoken to you about why the role has come up, what sort of person you’re looking for (background, skills, personality, ambition, cultural fit etc), room for negotiation on salary, whether you can wait for the perfect person or if time is of the essence, hiring strategy for the next year, 2 years, 5 years, team structure, who the role will report to and what this person is like, progression opportunities, perks of the job – all these things can be major selling points when it comes to attracting new talent, and ensuring the person you take on is the right fit to keep them there!

They ‘sell’ to you
Yes, recruitment is sales. And as much as we might want to shy away from this, sales is a really important part of the job. A recruiter has to be passionate – they should genuinely believe that you’re a great fit for the job (or that a particular candidate would be an asset to your company). That’s what clients pay us for – to find someone that we genuinely believe is a perfect fit for a certain company and that said company would be missing out if they didn’t snap the person up, right now!

Recruiters spend years building relationships with people and really understanding what drives them and makes them tick. That’s how they know when client and candidate are a great combination. And, as it is a sales process, a good recruiter should WANT the introduction between both parties to last – we are successful by building trust, knowledge and providing valuable and reputable introductions.

Run away from any recruiters that seem to be in it for the quick win commission or to solely hit targets without considering your needs.

They’re there for you
Your recruiter should be your sounding board. Always be 100% honest with them. If you’re not, how can they do the best by you with only half the information?!

They should be an expert within their sector, be able to advise you on trends, market value and opportunities from both candidate and client perspectives.

And this doesn’t just cover the times when you’re looking for a new role. Good recruiters build long-lasting relationships (see above) with all their connections and want to stay in touch – it’s how we keep our industry knowledge up to date.

Give your recruiter a call once in a while to check-in and stay on their radar and of course ask any advice, it will help keep you up to date on industry insight too.