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For Recruiters

Five Ways to Build a Long-Term Relationship with Your Recruiter

Your relationship with recruiters is a two-way street. They're important to you - and you're important to them. Says Rebecca Meissner, a former finance recruiter and currently manager for a Facebook recruiting app: "It's the candidate who drives the ebbs and flows of a recruiter's business."

So how do you keep traffic moving both ways?

Approach your recruiter with a clear vision of what you want.

Be sure to let recruiters know what you want from the process and the jobs you're open to, says Paul Solomon, founder of recruitment firm Solo Management. "We love an applicant who positively knows what they are looking for," Solomon says. "It allows us to target the search and get right down to the business of finding them a job. No one likes what we call the 'shopper' - a candidate who uses the recruitment process as the environment to find out what they want to be when they grow up."

When sharing about yourself, keep it real.

You get a lot further if you tell the whole truth, says Cathleen Faerber of the Wellesley group. "I've had candidates try to embellish salary information, work history, education. I've also had them try to hide gaps in employment," she says. "Sooner or later the truth will come out."

"Recruiters know that work and life are complicated, and we're here to work with you so you can find the right job opportunities and simplify the overall deal," adds Katy Keogh, principal in the accounting and finance division at Winter, Wyman. "Eliminating surprises helps us help you."

Partner with recruiters YOU like.

Keogh urges candidates to sign on with headhunters who take the time to truly understand their background, goals and expectations. Recruiters should establish expectations for working together, check in regularly and keep you intimately informed of their work on your behalf. "I'm evaluating my candidates from the very first conversation," Keogh says. "You should do the same thing with your recruiter."

Don't cheat on your recruiter.

Meissner advises against working with more than two recruiters at a time. "The day a recruiter finds out you've already been presented to one of their clients is the day that they hesitate sending your resume to anyone else," she says.

Frances Moreno, founder of Los Angeles-based recruitment firm Vaco, notes the quickest way to burn a bridge is to selectively play free agent. "Don't ever go ... 'direct' when you find out about an opportunity before your recruiter," she says. "However, I love it when it's a two-way street and a candidate tells me about openings to chase on his or her behalf."

Treat the recruiter like you would treat the client.

Show up on time for all appointments - including phone meetings, respond to e-mails and voice messages promptly, dress to impress, and send thank-you notes. "Most recruiters will remind candidates to send a note post-interview, but doing it for the recruiter shows that you were responsible enough to do it on your own," says Meissner. Plus, it means they'll remember you. That's critical since many contingent recruiters meets with five candidates a day.

AUTHOREmma Johnson Insider Comment
  • Be
    13 December 2010

    i've always wondered why financial firms so widely use headhunters when they have gigantic HR departments at their disposal

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    Adrienne Graham
    10 December 2010

    Please don't think ALL recruiter are wicked or lazy. There are many good recruiters (myself included) out there who DO have the candidate's best interest at heart. Many lack training and through no fault of their own are thrown into jobs they are not prepared to handle. I get flack from the recruiting community because I keep it very real on my blog and hold recruiters (and companies) accountable by calling them to the carpet on policies, process and (lack of) communication. We are not all bad. The problem is sifting through the good and bad ones to find the true gems.

    Some of these points have merit. But you (and recruiters) have to remember it should be a partnership. Many only have the client's well being in mind. But a great recruiter knows how to build relationships and rapport with candidates too. Hang in there. Just do your homework.

  • Ch
    9 December 2010

    Wow that article is very helpful and will really help with my recruiting. I love the part about "Shopper Candidate" and "a candidate that knows exactly what they are looking for". Thanks for that.

  • Ci
    9 December 2010

    This is pathetic, whats the point of having a recruiter, if the candidate is going to find the opening and then tell the recruiter about it?
    So what, that they can make their commission out of selling the candidate. Surely it would be easier to apply directly then waste time with the recruiter who'll just end up sending 5 candidate CV's and making sure they get their commission whilst the honest candidate gets s***wed over.

    "Don't ever go ... 'direct' when you find out about an opportunity before your recruiter," she says. "However, I love it when it's a two-way street and a candidate tells me about openings to chase on his or her behalf."

  • ab
    9 December 2010

    Oh please, give me a break. This article has really wound me up and may as well have been written by a recruiter themselves on "how to suck up to a recruiter in times of economic desperation". Where is the balance in this article from the jobseeker's perspective. Let me tell you how it REALLY is.

    1. Spotty 23 year old "recruitment consultants" are only in this high turnover industry because they couldn't make it into the City themselves / because they couldn't get another job after they graduated in social studies or because there are too many double glazing salesmen already. Additionally if they had an army or military background they won't come across as some shy smuck in front of clients. And clients = companies not jobseekers, never forget that.

    2. In my job, I get endless calls from fake companies pretending to offer free S&P credit reports or research etc so they want not only your job title and personal details but also those in your department. This low level conniving tactics is part of their "social engineering" to research companies using lies to get info. They then sell this to recruiters or are part of the firm.

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