It’s not just the employers you need to impress. The relationship between a candidate and a recruiter can make or break your next career move.
Being a recruiter is like being the meat in the employment sandwich – trying to satisfy the needs of both the employers and the candidates and, with luck and skill, arriving at a mutually enticing fit. The advantages for candidates are that recruiters are filling vacancies that often never make it to the job boards.
The advantages for the employer are that the recruiters are doing their initial screenings for them.
So it’s in recruiters’ best interests to have a large network of possible candidates that they know well and can rely on when vacancies appear. That means they need to develop real and open relationships with candidates, because recruiters put their reputations on the line every time they recommend a candidate for a job.
Honesty is the best policy
Getting to the heart of a person is what’s most important. It’s not about personality, because different personalities fit different jobs. Even people who can come across as a bit arrogant are the right fit for some jobs. It’s about honesty, because you need to know that what you are telling the employer is the truth.
There are three areas of note that will torpedo your chances.
The first is dishonesty – about anything and everything. Good recruiters (and we want the good ones) will conduct what I call a 360-degree assessment – reference checking not only previous managers but also peers, subordinates and customers if possible.
If we find that you are lying about your experience, qualifications or skills, then you’re gone. Why would we put you in front of one of our valued clients?
The second item on my list is a lack of transparency. The recruiter’s job is to vet you, and the harder that is to do, the more suspicious we become.
Be up-front, even about the things you’d rather not discuss. It’s not uncommon to have had a personality conflict or problem in a previous job, but if you try to hide it, we start to think it might be a pattern. Just say what happened and what you learned from it.
My third no-no, unsurprisingly, is rudeness. Bad manners, lateness, dismissive behaviour and all forms of disrespect are sure ways to destroy your relationship with a recruiter. We are working hard to place you in the right position, and that requires mutual trust and mutual respect.
There’s no way I’m going to keep representing someone who will make me look bad. If they treat me poorly, how will they treat the employer?
On the job
Another reason I won’t work with someone again is if they do the wrong thing after they’ve been employed. Hiring someone is expensive, so employers expect a good return on their money when they invest in a new employee.
If you suddenly develop problem behaviours or were dishonest about something that affects your ability to work, you’ve made both of us look bad. Something that might have been a minor problem that could be dealt with, had you been honest, becomes the whole story – and a much bigger problem – if you haven’t.
Such issues can include rudeness, laziness, interpersonal conflicts, thinking you’re above your station, tardiness, refusal to take direction or just plain incompetence.
It all comes down to the golden rule: treat your recruiter and employer as you would like them to treat you.
A good relationship with a recruiter can be a big boost to your career going forward. There are people who I have placed three or four times, sometimes in different countries. They come back to me because they know I’ll find the right job for them, and I keep representing them because I know they’ll do the right thing by the employer.
Recruiters can indeed be the gatekeepers to your career, so it pays to treat them well and develop good relationships that will serve you both into the future. So start your next recruitment relationship right by preparing with the proper career planning.
Need additional career advice or assistance with your job search? Contact your local Robert Half office.