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Julian Smith, I Am Group, recruiter and career coachRecruitment is the most maligned professions in the country, right up there with tax inspectors, traffic wardens or estate agents. However, dealing in common stereotypes helps no one, so here’s a guide to getting the best out of a recruiter.

Understand what a recruiter does

A typical day might consist of market research (who’s hiring and who’s looking for work), writing marketing copy or emails (adverts and direct marketing), cold calling, translating the needs of a client onto paper, formatting CVs, proof-reading applications, arranging interviews, chasing feedback negotiating fees, and much, much more. In short, a recruiter is part administrator, part copy-writer, part proof-reader, part matchmaker, and a whole host of other roles you’d never in a million years associate with the world of recruitment.

Separate the good from the bad

One of the industry’s oldest truisms is that recruitment is an easy job to do, but a very difficult job to do well. This is because it is perfectly possible to make a profit in recruitment just by incessantly calling and pestering people until somebody gives you a job to fill and somebody else agrees to do it.

The pitfall of this approach, colloquially known as the phone monkey, is that it alienates and annoys 95% of the people the recruiter comes into contact with. Clients become frustrated with consultants who don’t understand their business and candidates become disillusioned with crass salespeople who promise the earth and then never call back.

You’ll know a good recruiter when you speak to them because:

  1. They will have read your CV or researched your business and will have some intelligent questions to ask about it;
  2. They will manage your expectations by presenting you with a selection of options for achieving your goals and advising you on which are most achievable and realistic;
  3. They won’t leave anything to chance (as far as this is within your control) and will go to great effort to confirm exactly how much money you are looking for, when you are available, and what type of company you do and don’t want to hear from – and they will stick to it!
  4. They will keep you in the loop whether and update you regularly, whether you are successful or not.

Treat them like a sales prospect not a sales assistant

Imagine for a second that your recruiter was your client or the employer you were trying to get a job with. How would that change the way you interact with them?

Few job seekers look at recruiters this way; yet if they did, their experience would be exponentially better. This is because recruiters are casino online not paid to find people jobs – they are paid to find people staff. Getting the attention of a recruiter, therefore, requires the same skills we use to get the attention of our clients – skills such as:

  • Research
    Take some time to look the sectors your choice of recruiter specialises in and the jobs they are advertising. What skills are their clients looking for and how do these correspond with what you have to offer?
  • Marketing
    Make it easier for a recruiter to find you in the first place. Use job adverts to identify all the important keywords you need to include in your profile. Place your CV on all the big job boards (Reed, Monster, Jobsite, Jobserve) and regularly update it. These two together will ensure your profile comes up first when recruiters are searching for eligible candidates.
  • Judgement
    Qualify each job that comes your way: how long has it been live; why was the role created; will you be competing with internal candidates; has the budget been signed off; when are they looking to hire? These are all standard questions a recruiter should be asking their clients and details that a good recruiter will happily share with you.
  • Sales
    Be clear, concise, transparent, and persistent. When you send a recruiter your CV, specify the job you are targeting, your availability, and your salary expectations. In one paragraph, highlight the key skills you have to offer that you know your recruiter’s clients will need. Be open about your motivation for moving on and the different options you are considering. If you don’t hear back for a while – call them up and keep calling until you get an answer.

I hope you have found this guide useful and if you have any questions or comments you would like to share, please send them to me at – I’d love to hear from you.

About Julian Smith:

With more than 13 years” experience, Julian Smith has recruited to a broad range of roles within the charity and non-profit sectors, from Chief Executives through to support staff. Offering expertise in outplacement and careers coaching, he also helps organisations to look after their staff in times of transition, and coach and mentor new employees to get the best out of their opportunities.

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