7 Things You Need to Know to Work Well With Third-Party Recruiters

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By Angela Loëb

How do you work with third-party recruiters to get optimal consideration for positions with their clients?  Here are my seven best tips on working with recruiters:

1.  Using more than one recruiter at a time depends on the size of the market and if they do regional or national searches…
– Don’t sign up with everybody because you a) don’t want to work with so many it’s hard to maintenance relationships and b) don’t want to tie their hands and/or de-motivate them, which will happen if they feel you’ve already saturated the market.

– If you use too many recruiters, you run the risk of criss-crossing opportunities, and you want to be sure you’re not being presented multiple times for the same position.  Not only can this lead hiring managers to believe you’re desperate (which will undercut you in the salary negotiation stage), but it might also be perceived that you lack loyalty and will play the field for your own self-interest.  Even if these scenarios are unintentional, they’re simply not good messages to chance sending to potential employers.

2.  Telling a recruiter where you are interviewing and what stages you’re in with prospective opportunities can be helpful and is advisable, but be aware that this can backfire if you don’t trust each other.  If you’re working with a recruiter you know has your best interests at heart, you’ll want to have a lot of two-way disclosure.  A good recruiter will leverage such information to effectively nudge and encourage the hiring company through the process.  If you can’t trust the recruiter, then you should be moving on anyway.  Also, if they can’t trust you to keep quiet about a confidential job you’re working on together, then they will definitely move on down the road, too.  Bottom line… be sure you’re both on the same page.

3.  If you’re not hearing back from the recruiter it means that they don’t have anything for you at the moment.  However, they’re like anyone else in your network, and they can forget about you if you don’t stay in touch.  So many people complain about recruiters not calling them when, in my opinion, it goes both ways.  While your job search is probably not the only thing on their minds, remember, the squeaky wheel usually gets the grease.  Just don’t be pushy about it… just like you wouldn’t be pushy to anyone else in your network.

4.  Don’t only think about what your recruiter can do for you.  Also think about what you can do for your recruiter.  They’ll remember you, love you and will work on your behalf more enthusiastically.  Written and emailed thank you notes go a long way as well.  Referrals are even better!

5.  Be responsive.  Give immediate feedback to them and be open in your communication.  If they don’t know about it, they can’t help you.  Ask for feedback too.

6.  Help them to help you.  A written summary of your strengths or a job-duty analysis for a certain opportunity is very useful.  Be open to changing your resume as needed, or provide an addendum to reflect specific qualifications/accomplishments they think will be pertinent.  Another thing they’ll appreciate is if you alert your references to their possible call.

7.  Respect the boundaries with their client companies.  If you want to make a direct contact, e.g. a thank you note after an interview, be sure to ask about it and then copy them as well.  Better yet, ask them to help you proofread it – they’ll not only appreciate it, they’ll very likely provide some great advice since they know their clients best.


Angela Loëb is an author, speaker and co-owner of Great Occupations who leverages her past experience as a third-party recruiter to help people make successful career transitions. She and her partner, Jay Markunas, have developed “pajama learning” webclasses and provide free resource information through the Career Blog and through The Job Search Boot Camp Show. Find out more at www.greatoccupations.com.

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