Recruiters can function as powerful gatekeepers when it comes to staffing and hiring, and while employers depend on them to sift through resumes and present only the most talented candidates, candidates depend on them for the opportunity to be presented. While recruiters can’t officially hire you, they CAN bring both you and the employer together to facilitate a deal in which everyone wins. So, if a recruiter crosses your path during the job search, here are a few ways to grab their attention and make it easier for them to help you.
Be very clear about what you want
Don’t bend the truth in order to impress your recruiter. Doing this doesn’t impress them at all – it only confuses the issue and makes their job harder. If you can only work three days per week, say so up front. If you're only interested to work remotely, say so. If you’re looking for a salary above a certain figure, then say so. If you and the job aren’t a match, it’s best for all parties to know this sooner rather than later.
Don’t follow up incessantly
It’s good to be persistent and it’s important to show interest if you really want the job, but one phone call or email per week is plenty. Check-in with a short, polite message, and wait at least one week before checking in again, whether or not you receive a response.
Recognize that the recruiter works for the employer
Never work with a recruiter who expects you to pay out of pocket. Legitimate recruiters are paid by employers, not by job seekers. By the same token, recognize that since your recruiter isn’t working for you, they don’t have the time and resources to place your needs above those of their clients. Don’t be offended if you don’t receive prompt communication every time you reach out and don’t take it personally if the line of dialogue falls silent without explanation for a bit. At the same time, you’ll need to answer promptly if you’re asked for information or additional portfolio materials.
Treat the interview like a job interview…because it IS a job interview
When you meet with your recruiter for the first time in person, recognize that it is a job interview. It’s an initial screening, and perhaps the first of many rounds of meetings that will take place before this job is yours. Dress professionally, check your technology if meeting virtually, sit up straight, make eye contact, and polish your elevator pitch. A great impression will increase your chances of advancing through the search process.