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What to Expect When Working with a Recruiter

  • Publish Date: Posted over 2 years ago
  • Author: Staff Writer

What to Expect When Working with a Recruiter

According to, work-related changes account for three of the top 20 most stressful life events that a person will have to deal with. Life is stressful enough with the other 17 listed, so it only makes sense to look for a recruiter that will help alleviate some of the headache of searching for a new job. Working with a recruiter does not guarantee a complete stress-free job search process. However, if you go in with the right knowledge and expectations, the reward certainly outweighs the risk.

What to Expect When Working with a Recruiter

So, what should you expect when working with a recruiter?  

A lot of questions! 

We need to get to know you in order to help you make the right move. Why? What? When? 

  • Why are you thinking about a move? 

  • What are you making? What are you looking to make? I know many of us were raised to not talk about money in polite company and you may think it’s none of my business, but it is. If you are underpaid, I need to help you get to where you should be. If you are overpaid, I need to tell you what the market trends are. But most importantly, I need to be your advocate to make sure that you are being compensated at a level that is satisfactory for you. 

  • What is your dream job? Don’t tell me that it’s being a beach bum in some tiny island off the coast (me too, buddy), but tell me what the culture, technology, size of company looks like. I may know the perfect place and you’ve never even heard of it. 

  • Are you already interviewing? Have you submitted your resume anywhere? This is CRUCIAL information. We don’t ask because we’re nosy. If you allow yourself to get submitted more than once to a company for the same job, chances are high that you will be knocked out of consideration all together. If you aren’t keeping track of where your resume is going, think about how that reflects on your attention to detail.

Fairly lengthy process

Finding the right job as opposed to the first one is a marathon, not a sprint. Here is a snapshot of what you can typically expect:

  • First step, phone screen with the recruiter. See invasive questions and request for firstborn child listed in bullets above.

  • Possible face-to-face meeting request. A lot of candidates don’t understand why they need to meet with a recruiter if the end goal is to get a job with a client, not with us. The answer is simple. Do you want to put the fate of your career search in the hands of someone that you’ve never met? Plus, most of the time, we are good for at least buying you a cup of coffee or lunch. Who doesn’t like free food?

  • After step 1 (and maybe step 2), if the stars align and you are interested in next steps, we send your resume with a short bio to our client. Here’s where the process can get sticky. We are now at the mercy of a hiring manager and potentially HR to get through the process of resume review and interview requests. In a perfect world, we hear back within 48 hours. In the reality that we all live in, feedback can take weeks. It doesn’t mean that they don’t like you or they aren’t interested. It means a production issue came up, someone was out sick, one role had to be hired before another, or any number of things. 

Communication during your search

How often we should be in touch?

  • A good rule of thumb would be to be in communication at least once a week. The chances are high that if there is active feedback from a client or new potential jobs, you will hear from us sooner rather than later.

  • Set the expectation up front. Do you prefer phone calls, emails or text? Ask your recruiter, what is the quickest way to reach you? More often than not, email will be your quickest avenue to response due to the embarrassing attachment that we have to Outlook. We also want to be mindful of the fact of not calling you too often at work to discuss how to get you out of there. 

Recruiters are human

  • We may miss the mark on jobs that we send you. Please do not hesitate to tell us that you don’t like something. It will help us better target your search.

  • We hate to give you bad news. When we have to call to tell you that you weren’t selected for an interview or a hire, we have a pit in our stomach dialing the phone. We were rooting for you. We don’t always have the answers for why you weren’t selected.

  • We can be slow to respond and it’s not because we don’t care. At any given time, most recruiters are speaking to at least 20 potential job seekers a day. We are also having to deliver bad news (see above), good news (better than the above!) and no news. It doesn’t mean you aren’t a priority. And if you call and a recruiter says “I was just about to call you,” chances are, it’s truer than you know.

In the interest of complete disclosure, working with a recruiter is not always perfect. (I know, I was shocked to find out as well). We are your advocate, your agent, and your cheerleader. But, we are at the ultimate mercy of a hiring manager and their organization. Budgets and positions get canceled every day. You may be perfect for the role, but so was John Smith’s internal referral. There are days that we get feedback stating nothing more than a candidate was not selected for hire. And trust me, that punches us in the gut like it does you. Like anything we do in life, there is always a piece that is out of our control. So, why bear that burden on your own? In my previous blog post, I talked about what there is to gain when working with a recruiter – job access, coaching, insider market info, etc. Let us know if you’re ready to take advantage of these benefits and start the process of connecting with a recruiter.

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