How to Work with a Recruiter

There are many misconceptions about recruiters and head-hunters that can heighten job search frustration. Here are 7 common queries about recruiters, with insider tips on how best to work with them.

Recruitment Consultant, Search Consultants, Head Hunters… What is the difference?

While Head Hunters typically work to recruit senior-level job positions, recruitment consultants or recruitment agencies work on a range of job roles, typically blue-collared, entry-level, or managerial roles. At times, you might find that that the term “Search Consultants” is used interchangeably across the two spaces.

Can Recruiters help me to find a job?

Contrary to popular belief, recruiters do not seek out job openings for you. Instead, the recruiters’ real clients are employers. They are commissioned by employers to fill a position, and will contact you on their database/network and if you are a fit for the job opening.

That said, while recruiters primarily work for the company, they require jobseekers to fill job openings. Specifically, recruiters look out for jobseekers with an impressive history of work experience and have highly demanded skills.

Should I work with a Recruiter?

The answer depends on your situation. If you fall into one or more of these categories, you may want to consider working with a recruiter for your job search:

  • You work in an industry that is short on talent
  • You have specific or hard-to-find skills (i.e. specialist or expert)

How do I contact Recruiters?

Most recruitment agencies would have an online page for you to upload your resume into their database.  The recruiters will use their database when they conduct a search for their employer clients. 

To help search consultants to find you, make sure your resume is customised to the job role of your interest by including relevant keywords. Recruiters also comb LinkedIn to expand their reach, so having a strong Linkedin profile will help the recruiters find you too.

I got a call from a Recruiter, but I don’t hear from them ever again. Why?

Typically, a recruiter’s first call is to know you better to assess your fit. If you are close to what they are looking for, they will contact you again and refer you to the hiring employer.  If you don’t hear from them, it might mean that you may not be suitable for the job vacancies they currently have.

I’ve had quite a few chats with a recruiter who reached out.  As the calls progressed, I was asked more questions about my expectations.  Should I share?

My advice is that you be open to share with the recruiter. The recruiter has 2 objectives to fulfil, namely:

  • Find the most suitable candidate for the employer
  • Ensure the job opportunity meets your expectations

If either of the above objectives is not met on either side, there is no deal. And so, expressing your expectations accurately will help both you and the hiring manager to find the right-fit.

The recruiter has come back to me to negotiate for a lower pay.  Should I trust them? 

The recruiter makes a cut based on the size of your salary. The higher your salary, the bigger their pay out is. Thus, if you are asked to lower your pay expectations, it is likely a genuine reflection of the employer’s request and tight resources.